To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I’ve been experiencing a wicked bout of insomnia the last few weeks, and it’s making me a little nutty. Okay, fine, nuttier. I know it’s a combination of stress and anticipation, combined with pretty intense pain from a knee problem. Even when I manage to fall asleep, I awaken repeatedly through the night, unable to find a comfortable place to keep my knee, or a way to turn off my brain. And because of the knee problem, I was advised to stop exercising for a bit, which can’t be helping either. All things considered, I can’t remember the last time I slept through the evening and woke up feeling fresh and renewed.

I’ve never been an easy sleeper. As a child I resisted going to bed, and I confess to discovering No-Doze as a teen and thinking I had found my cure. I hadn’t, and it wasn’t a good thing. As an adult, I have a prescription for Ambien, but try to use it only for travel, and dire emergencies. I haven’t bought a car or a house while under its influence, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to become reliant on it.

Ironically, I come from a hearty line of sleepers. My mom would fall asleep on the couch every night while we watched TV. My sister could literally drop to sleep on a paper towel. My best friend has to fight to stay awake past 8:00 p.m. And therefore, she also wakes at 4:00 a.m. like the good pilgrim she is. This is one of the reasons we no longer share a room when we travel. But even on my best nights, my night time routine involves shutting off any stimulating entertainment at least 60 minutes prior to my goal bedtime. Then reading something gentle, like a children’s novel or a cookbook, until I intentionally shut off the lights and try to meditate myself to sleep. I have never in my life fallen asleep on a plane, train or even come home after a late and exhausting night to simply fall into bed and meet Mr. Sandman. I am not a casual sleeper.

I am, however, a fantastic dreamer. I have great, Technicolor dreams that are like movies. In my dreams, I soar and swoop through buildings, and take swashbuckling adventures. I have frequent visits with my mom, and have even been able to continue the conversation with my lost friend. Not lost through death, but through dishonor, in a terrible way that brought no closure and grieves me 5 years later. In my dreams, I can laugh with him again, and see him as the friend I loved, not the man who shattered my heart.

Unfortunately, during this recent bout of sleeplessness, even my dreams have turned on me. Last week, I dreamed that I was visiting my sister, but she made me clean her garage. There were rats involved. Yuck! Then, the same night, I dreamt I was homeless, sleeping on the sidewalk in front of a seedy motel, with Daisy and Louie tucked up with me. I awoke as a marauding gang came towards me, and Daisy burst out of our sleeping bag to engage in a pit bull fight. If only, if only, I could understand where that one came from.

It’s going to turn around. The thing I am anticipating will either happen soon, or it won’t. My knee has not improved with the lack of exercise, so this morning, I got back up on that bike. The stress, well, hell, life is stress, I’ll get over it. Soon, I will tuck into bed, read a little Little House, lay down my curly head, and say hi to my Momma. Sweet dreams.

The end, for now

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One response

  1. I am really enjoying your writing. I dream like you do too. Very vivid and extremely active. Maybe try some meditation to clear your mind before you go to sleep. I use a guided one and it puts me right to sleep. Best of luck with everything, and I hope the aches and pains go away.

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