I haven’t had regular insomnia since I was a junior in college living in a weird boarding house and not seeing any friends because they had all turned 21 and gone into bars and never come out of them. As of 1 month ago, sleeplessness is back. Some observations:
Time Moves in Mysterious Ways: Hours pass during which you are not sure if you have slept, because while you feel certain you’ve been awake the whole time, you can’t remember the time passing. Somehow you pass 2 hours just laying there doing nothing, which you would never be able to do during daytime. Think this is like meditation, then think no, this like meditation’s devil twin.
Denial: Refuse to get up and spend sleepless time wisely because can’t believe can’t sleep. Look at phone, even though have been avoiding phone due to clock and also something you read about how looking at screens can keep you up, not yet realizing that you ARE up. Briefly consider seizing moment and watching sunrise from roof, then think who gives fuck about new day, and also still holding out hope for sleep.
False Promise: Moments when feel like going to fall asleep but then don’t. The usual signals of coming sleep — yawning, suddenly having a Musketeer walk into your thoughts — don’t mean anything.
Positioning: Move head to bottom of bed for change of scenery, convinced change of scenery will make body forget about sleep troubles and maybe finally sleep. Get up and go lay down in absent roommate’s bed, think briefly that this it, but this not it.
Dread/Fear: Not being able to sleep weirdly scary. Sure that everyone else in world is sleeping soundly. You alone are awake and will always be awake and also alone. You may never sleep again and may die from it like that guy you learned about in Psych 101. The real fear that sleeplessness will ruin the following day, and then also the useless fear that this fear will keep you up more.
The Reckoning: You finally gather the courage to look at the clock and your worst fears are confirmed when you see that it’s 3:30, but then you think, at least it’s not 4:30, but then suddenly it is 4:30 and your worst worst fears — that weren’t even really fears because they were too terrifying to consider — are confirmed.
Math: If I fall asleep now, and wake up at 7, I’ll still have 2.5 hours of sleep, which is 1.5 hours longer than my normal nap, which should be sufficient to at least feel okay tomorrow, but if I push my wakeup time back to 7:30, then I would have 3 whole hours of sleep, but that’s only if I fall asleep this instant, which there is a 0% likelihood of happening.
Drugs: Google “benadryl overdose” to make sure it’s okay to take 6 at once. Learn that while people do take benadryl to commit suicide, it must require more than 25 pills, because they took 25 and are still posting on this benadryl overdose message board.
Homeopathy: Take hot shower at 3am. Then take shot of whiskey. While this is not necessarily good idea, it is at least idea. Suddenly, remember how tired crying makes you. Get back into bed and try to make self cry. Find that not able to cry on cue. Dreams of becoming famous dramatic actress dashed along with dreams of being able to sleep. Feel like this is saddest moment of life. Then do actually cry. Drapes are starting to lighten as sun comes up. There is rooster in backyard? Never knew.