To Sleep…

I spent my entire life without any problems falling asleep. I always chalked this up to my vivid imagination. Anything that was stressing me out in my life, I’d erase in a pre-sleep world that I’d craft after I closed my eyes. The crafting of that perfect world would give me a solution to my problems, albeit a highly improbable solution, so that I could peacefully fall asleep.

When I was a kid being bullied in the summer for wearing the same outfit twice in one week at daycare, I would fall asleep building a world where I found a $100 bill on the ground and could buy new clothes. When I was in high school and in love with a boy I would fall asleep dreaming of him asking me to Homecoming. When I was post-divorce I would dream of that guy with the great biceps in my Remote Sensing class and imagine him actually being interested in a single Mom. (He was. He married me.) When I was that same poor, single Mom I would dream of a windfall of cash – maybe in the form of the lottery. Or even several years ago after a layoff I dreamt of finally getting that book deal.

Falling asleep was never a problem because I could re-write my life, almost realistically, without the anxieties of my days.

I noticed, however, that right after my Dad died…this was impossible. There was no dream world that I could craft where he would return. I couldn’t fool myself so I would just toss and turn unable to find a happy world to escape to. I wrote about that 4 months after he died here. I re-read that and I remember that turmoil so vividly, the tossing and the turning, unable to find a world in my mind where he would still be there.

That was my first introduction to the sleep problems normal people had, and it sucked.

I’ve noticed these last few months that I’m having a very similar problem. It peaked first in the weeks following the election when I just was in shock over the Trump win. I would be able to convince myself that he couldn’t do too much too fast, so I could maybe sleep for a few days, and then I’d hear about his Sessions nomination, or his DeVos pick. And then it would be sleepless all over again.

But since the inauguration when the Breaking News alerts startle me like I’ve stumbled upon a man with a knife in my home, sleep has been almost impossible. I still swear by the Insight Timer App and it’s various bedtime/anxiety guided meditations that I’ve found I like. BUT, it’s not perfect. Some nights I doze off, then I wake back up again in a POTUS-induced panic, so I list to another guided meditation to help me fall back to sleep. A few nights ago I listened to the same one FOUR TIMES between 9pm and midnight. That’s how often I kept waking up.

I think the hardest thing about this new trend is some days I feel like maybe I’m going crazy. I try to follow the guidelines and relegate my politics to certain times so I’m not hunting it down all day, but I still walk around my life looking everyone in the eye and thinking, “Is this person up at night too? Is this person joining the resistance? Is this person getting text alerts to remind me when organizations need me to call my representatives? Or…is this person 100% apathetic about politics right now. HOW CAN THAT BE?”

I’m looking for kindred spirits everywhere I got. I’ve been given a few phone numbers lately and I’ve thought about texting you guys and saying, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THE EPA?” I mean, SURELY that’s not going to move any further, right? RIGHT? I mean, part of me wants to disconnect a little bit to calm my political anxieties but the other part of me is all: “EASY FOR YOU TO DO, WHITE LADY IN HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE LIVING SO FAR ABOVE THE POVERTY LINE YOU CAN NOT EVEN SEE IT.”

I guess the point of this entry is to just say: I’m not sleeping well, will someone come sing me a lullaby?

4 thoughts on “To Sleep…”

  1. I don’t think you want me singing you a lullaby (my voice, UGH) but have you heard of ASMR? You can find lots of videos on YouTube. Sometimes it’s people roleplaying customer service stuff, or sometimes just background noise like typing with no talking. Even if you don’t “get” ASMR, a lot of people find it relaxing and a good temporary fix for anxiety.

    I swear, I owe what little sanity I have to ASMR. If I’m really, really, REALLY tired I can drift off with no problem, but when I’m lying there in the dark and my thoughts are terrifying me, ASMR is the only thing that helps. I watch or listen on my Kindle, but you can also convert the videos to audio files and listen on an mp3 player.

  2. I love ASMR stuff, but it’s not as “sleep-inducing” as these guided meditations. I also think the app helps, do you just use YouTube? It’s harder for me to set that on a timer on my phone. The app just shuts down after the guided meditation.

  3. Ah, technology! Yeah, I just watch on YouTube. I wait until I get reeeeeally sleepy, and then shut it off and go to sleep. I also download some so I can listen to them if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. (I don’t feel as bad about running down the battery on my mp3 player.)

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