Monday, July 21, 2008

Sleeplessness is next to crazy

So this is what an afternoon with no coffee feels like. My latest attempt to counter my sometimes-overwhelming insomnia has been to cut back on coffee, effectively eliminating the best coffee of the day: afternoon coffee.

I have also forced myself to stay awake all day. No naps when one has slept as terribly as I have over the past several months are a sure shortcut to anger management issues.

Perhaps the best thing I’ve done for myself is to stop taking the sleeping pills prescribed by my neurologist during my last appointment. Fairly often, I have a fear of things randomly falling from the sky and crushing me. With these new pills, however, that sensation was taken to a whole other level.

I was practically frozen with fear during my quasi-wakeful states during the night, sensing the silhouette behind the blinds or the bullet that would, any second now, come bursting through the window straight between my eyes. The only thing more paralyzing was the constant barrage of nightmarish scenarios playing in my head as I actually slept.

The only thing worse than not sleeping is sleeping badly.

Not surprisingly, the best thing for me has been the over-the-counter sleep aids à la Tylenol PM or its generic equivalencies. Usually one tablet is able to trick me into falling asleep. Staying asleep throughout the night is yet another trick that I hope to learn someday.

I looked up my symptoms—insomnia + paranoia—on one of those online medical advice sites. It seems I am suffering either from epilepsy or marijuana withdrawal. Funny, but I don’t remember stopping....

When I suffered through my horrible sleep study a couple of years ago—which involved the racist technician marking my scalp with a red pencil and me wearing about 20 pounds of sensory equipment that had to be unplugged when I got up to pee around 3:00 AM while trying to sleep with that damned green light shining in my eyes the entire night as I lay on the stiffest bed in the world—the skewed results were somewhere between insomnia and narcolepsy.

And people still believe everything the doctor says despite the fact that medical science—except for the white coats—is no different from Haitian voodoo. Perhaps I should just walk down the street and visit the shopkeeper at the Chango Botanica. Hell, even the hoodoo princess has her own web site these days! Now who’s the medical professional!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my dear. I had horrible insomnia off/on in my 20's, but was accompanied more with depression, not paranoia. These days I rarely have difficulty going to sleep--but I can rarely sleep more than 5-6 hours at a time and even this is usually interrupted. I wake up with my thoughts racing, or following a bad dream. You are right that this is somehow worse than not sleeping at all.

    Have you ever tried guided imagery or hypnosis?

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