The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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the usual, i'm very tired and the universe hates me, at least a little
john behind bars
seperis
I'm thinking about insomnia, mostly because, welcome to my life, I get it a lot. It's rarely physical, either, which is the part that sucks. I can be so tired I can't see straight, but my mind doesn't--quite--turn off. Which I suppose is what insomnia is. And it's rarely useful thinking, though it's loud. Well, except for a few times when I was writing And All the World Beneath and I jerked myself up and wrote out what I'd finally worked out. I mean, at least that's useful and makes it worth it to want to die all day at work.



What bothers me is there's always a window, probably fifteen minutes, where I can feel the drift downward start and I fight it; I don't mean to, but I don't like the loss of control of my body. I'm picky with everything, even with how I sleep; I want it fast and I want the amnesia that doesn't let me remember how it happened. It makes me wonder if I always fight it and just don't remember it, or if sometimes I'm tired even after I've slept for hours, if I was fighting it the entire time.

It's kind of terrifying, come to think of it, especially when I read about it and discovered sleep-paralysis (now that was a moment I won't forget); lucid dreaming (what if I don't like what I'm dreaming? What if I want out?); seriously, I create my own issues when it comes to sleep. But--but years ago, while I was in X-Men (and I notice these days I chart my life in my fandoms; it's the most accurate measure of time I've ever used), I had a jaw infection that kept me up two days straight and also, wow, I can honestly state that was worse than labor, and labor I do not remember fondly). I took a hydrocodone when I got home and in fifteen minutes hit the couch like a rock; now that, I didn't fight. I remember the utter, unbreathing gratitude of it when I could shut down my body and my head and just rest. I don't even know if I dreamed. It was good. That was good.

I'm irritable when I don't get enough sleep, but I'm worse when I get too much. That's purely psychological; I associate sleep with depression, because I was doing eighteen hours a day sleep then and the conditioning sticks.

The thinking is narrative--the stuff that keeps me awake, that is. Like I said, not useful but weirdly entertaining, and insomnia aside, that can keep me in bed, following the story wherever it might lead. Pretty sure I drift in and out some during that, when I lose a train of thought and feel blank space behind it and know something was there that's not anymore. I wrote about John and Ronon for hours in my head before I poured it into the words that shaped it come daylight, and there's so much that never met the page and never will. There's a history I can feel sometimes that I've forgotten; I know there are reasons for some of what I wrote, but I don't remember them because they were the seconds before I fought my body and lost. It's fascinating to wonder how often it happens. I wonder how much I write before I ever touch a keyboard, how much is clinging to the back of my mind and spills out so suddenly in a flow I wouldn't stop even if I could. I suppose that could be where it comes from, the sudden starts of need, now, do it now and I usually do, because I'm a creature of pleasure and writing gets me higher than anything I've ever done and can keep me there for days; reading does it too, but I'm read/write and if I'm writing I get them both at once. The story was finished and was taking needed space, and my mind was ready for something new, now, thanks.

I'm almost sure there's an argument regarding creativity in this, but damned if I know. I'm too tired to write. But not too tired to think and remember when night was the only time the words came together. Maybe I conditioned myself to that as well. Who the hell knows.

It's not just now though; it's always, like a crowd murmuring in the background of my mind, often with a soundtrack to accompany it, and everything is a story I store away to tell; myself, other people, the occasional strangely realistic dream where that so called supply closet at work is lined with green light and spills over the floor like water toward my feet. Luckily, even when I'm dreaming I know better than to stay around and find out what it is. I run.

And I can tell this day is going to go swimmingly. Probable sad lj posts in the future about my misery. Possibly accompanied with whining.

*sends chocolate*

And if it's any comfort at all - at 3am- and I was going to say that those are a thing of the past for me but I have done it twice in the last week and found myself staring at the walls *awake* and seriously wondering about cleaning my oven!!

Er rambling
Tries again:

If it's any comfort at all - at 3am when I can't sleep I'm more than likely to be reading you - and anything you've recced in the last three years - like a lifeline.

Edited at 2008-02-19 12:43 pm (UTC)

Pretty sure I drift in and out some during that, when I lose a train of thought and feel blank space behind it and know something was there that's not anymore.

Nods.

It's not just now though; it's always, like a crowd murmuring in the background of my mind, often with a soundtrack to accompany it, and everything is a story I store away to tell; myself, other people, the occasional strangely realistic dream where that so called supply closet at work is lined with green light and spills over the floor like water toward my feet.

More nods. But I bet your soundtrack is cooler than mine. I don't even recognize the song playing in my brain right now - I think the kids learned it in Sunday School, but I can't quite make out the words.


Oooooooooooh, I get the control thing completely. I'm glad it's never shown up in my sleep patterns, just, you know, everywhere else. :(

Hi, I hope you don't mind a response to a non-fanfic post.

My insomnia has been a friend/foe since adolescence. While I hate trying to function in the 9-5 world on no sleep, sleep deprivation is the best high I've ever felt.

I love the feeling after 24 - 36 hours without sleeping. It's exhilarating. After that, the pleasure drops dramatically, especially if I have to interact with anyone else.

My experience with depression was different to yours. The insomnia intensified, and the hours between midnight and five AM became the best hours of the day. I could write, and people told me they liked what I'd written. More importantly, I would talk online with people who shared my interests, and could understand my inability to chat idly about the latest happenings on Big Brother.

The lure of a sleepless night actually scares me these days. I want to feel the exhilaration again, and I want the prolific writing that I had then. It's almost like every night I force myself to go to bed, and choose the 9-5 world over any creativity I may have.

From a selfish level, I appreciate the stories that your brain sends you in the pre-sleep hours. You were the author that ushered me into fandom, even if I was too much of a newbie to understand the importance of feedback. That said, I wish you a good night's sleep, and pleasant dreams, unfettered by glowing supply closets. I always find a warm shower and a mug of milk and honey to be helpful!

The lure of a sleepless night actually scares me these days. I want to feel the exhilaration again, and I want the prolific writing that I had then. It's almost like every night I force myself to go to bed, and choose the 9-5 world over any creativity I may have.

Currently, I'm in a faintly giddy place as well. I cannot tell whether to be pleased or wondering if this is one of those times my giddy is going to be equal to my distressing lack of filters.

I write--cleaner at night. It's easier to focus and narrow and let everything flow. Now I am contemplating milk and honey. As it sounds delicious for any rason.

i have terrible issues with this too. one of the things that i find helps me - though i couldn't begin to tell you why - is remembering the last dream i had that was just confusing. you know, before any real emotion kicks in, when your brain is just buzzing out electrons? somewhere in between trying to pin down the specifics of how this looked or that felt like, i'm dead to the world and i never knew it happened.

luck! sleep issues are not the good.

I love sleep. Without it, I can't function well and get increasingly cranky and susceptable to ill health. Once I'm asleep, I'm gone for the night. I don't wake up in the middle of the night. But I have such a hard time reaching sleep, and I understand so much of what you write here. My brain goes all the time, a cascade of words and thoughts and images, free association and stream of concsiousness to the nth degree. Getting that to stop is incredibly difficult, and without pharmacetical aids, I suspect I'd be in bed, vibrating and growling with irritation, into the wee morning hours most nights.

where I can feel the drift downward start and I fight it

I do that most days--nights! (Unless I'm totally exhausted.) I get around it by doing visualisation exercises about how I'm going to get up at 6 am to do everything that needs doing. That helps me to let it go. Took years of practice.

I hardly dream (or don't remember them) but at least I get sleep.



Let me know if I can drop by this week with Emergency Chocolate. :-)

I've always had it. I got into writing by telling myself stories to put myself to sleep. Lately, when I was downsized by my writing partner, I went through a 2 week period when I had NOTHING to think about en route to sleep. I took a LOT of pills to sleep.

I was up until 3 last night and had to call in sick because I can't deal with 90 teenagers on 3 hours of sleep. Teaching is not one of those jobs where you can phone it in. If you turn your back, bad things will ensue.

Now I feel all guilty and will spend the day working on school stuff. But at least I'll get ahead somewhat. If I nap between now and six tonight I'm fucked. I have to get my ass good and tired so I can sleep.

Yes, I sleep when I'm depressed and I've put in more 'couch time' than I want to think about since the beginning of the year.

I can feel the drift downward start and I fight it

Oh, I know that one well. Also, the one where I am drifting down and just as I am almost off to dreamland, my body goes "*boomph!* just hit the ground!" and I jerk back to total alertness. Gah. I've been told that feeling is from missing a heartbeat - whatever it is, it is damn annoying.

If I knew a cure, I'd give you it because insomnia sucks so hard. But I'm guessing none of the advice I know would be new to you.

This is how I fucked my sleep schedule so much-- when I'm writing I don't want to stop-- but now that I'm more regular-- I've barely written anything. I-- don't know. It's probably not just that I'm not staying up 19 hours at a time.

It's not unusual to have insomnia because of mental, rather than physical, reasons. I've had terrible insomnia off and on, and my neurologist told me it's because I just don't let my brain shut down. I'm not really able to help it, and have only found limited things that help. Physically exhausting myself during the day generally is useful. Creating a sleeping schedule is also useful. I got some of my best rest in Japan when I was in a couple phys ed classes and walked several miles every day, as well as had a set time I went to bed and got out of bed that I usually did not deviate from, no matter how tired I was or wasn't.

Still, different things work for different people, and even then can change from time period to time period; I haven't managed to make it stick this year. All I can say is good luck and to hang in there. <3

the usual, i'm very tired and the universe hates me, at least a little

maxinemayer

2008-02-19 05:52 pm (UTC)

It scares me when I think about insomnia. I got a scared feeling reading your post and the comments. I definitely have issues about it - I worry about turning night into day, and then sleeping all day, which I could do, being retired. That would mean depression, in me, and I don't even want to think about that. If I can't sleep at night I force myself to stay up during the day; usually then I can sleep the next night....

Hoping you're able to get some rest.
Love, max

I have terrible insomnia, so I hear you.

The thinking is narrative--the stuff that keeps me awake, that is. Like I said, not useful but weirdly entertaining, and insomnia aside, that can keep me in bed, following the story wherever it might lead.

I do that too. I mean, I know that I go to bed at 9.30pm (yeah, I do, because 7-9 hours of sleep makes me a much nicer person in the mornings) to be well-rested, and yet I'll frequently lie there for an hour or so plotting stories. Or... not plotting so much as playing with them, telling them to myself.

It used to be how I'd plan out what I was doing in a wip. These days, I find I'm telling myself complete stories and then losing all urge to write them.

but, huh, nice to know somebody else does it.

Acupuncture can help with insomnia.

ditto about insomnia issues. Even though I get really tired, I fight sleep every night. *every* night. My daddy tells me stories about rocking my infant self to sleep only to have my eyes POP! right open the moment he laid me in my crib....