Sunday, February 25, 2007

In Between Winks

In so many ways.
Beatles - I'm So Tired

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink

I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink

My insomnia feels like it's getting worse. If I wake up, that's it for me. I'm up. I think it's stress related, though it could also be medical. Part of it, I will admit, is my own pride. So many people, like Tom, tell me to take prescription drugs to sleep, but if I do that then I am admitting I cannot control my own body. Yes, Virginia, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to myself. Funny story. When I had my wisdom teeth out, I just got local. I stayed awake the whole time, talked to the doctor occasionally, and watched the procedure in his safety glasses. I didn't want to be so loopy I'd lose the day. Hell, I went to work on Friday with a temperature of 101.
Is my mind on the blink? It feels like it at times. My brain has been slipping in classes and such. Have you ever been able to think so fast that your mouth can't keep up? That's where I'm at lately. It makes me sound drunk as I say things like, "Odyfeus," as I am trying to talk about Odysseus and Polyphemus (read The Odyssey, book 9, boys and girls).
I've been told that the best thing to do if you wake up is just try to make yourself go back to sleep, but that just makes me miserable. I'm in bed, but my mind is going so fast that I might as well do something (hence the writing...because if I grade like this, my kids will be destroyed). As for a thanks.

I'm so tired I don't know what to do
I'm so tired my mind is set on you

I wonder should I call you but I know what you'd do

Unlike The Beatles, my mind is not set on someone, but people. There's a hierarchy, but it's not hard to share some of them:
My wife, who I worry is unhappy (I know she doesn't like it here), and is getting stressed. I try so hard to keep her going, but is that damaging me? Is it bad if I think that?
My son, who I worry about because he's just starting. He is unaware of the evils of the world, and I feel this fight in me to both protect him from them but to also expose him to them so he isn't ignorant. What is the world going to be like for him? The world has burned and hurt many of my family members. I don't want him to have that happen to him.
My family, who I worry about for so many reasons. My parents' health and sanity. I see how they are now that they are orphans and I'm not sure I'm ready to be one. My sisters' different lives with different troubles. I want to protect them, but should I? Can I?
Some of my students, who have insane lives. I feel guilty for thinking of myself when they have such troubles to overcome.
Me. If I lose my mind, how will I know? At what point do I stop myself and say, "I can't help you anymore...I need to help myself first," instead of ignoring?

You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke, it's doing me harm
You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind

It's longer than three weeks, but the message is clear. My father doesn't sleep. That's not true, let me rephrase. He doesn't sleep like a normal person. If he misses a problem, he moves on. He goes to bed around 4 or 5 AM and gets up at 9. He doesn't show the effects of this with other people. We see it in the family because we recognize what to look for, but he keeps going. I sleep around four hours a night, and I'm starting, almost two years later, to hurt. I can't catch up on sleep, and I hate that term. You cannot catch up on sleep. The sleep lost? It's gone.
It's starting to affect me at work. My patience is growing thin with the ignorance of some of my students. I have not yelled at my son or my wife because of this. Should I feel guilty that work is where I'm working it out?

I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
Although I'm so tired I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid git.

Ok, I don't smoke anymore. I did in college. It was actually what I did when I couldn't sleep. Recall that I lived alone in a house. Next door, however were apartments. There was a girl (there always is) who I had a crush on at the time. Alissa. We actually went on a few dates, but it didn't work out (I freaked her out...but that's another story). I used to go out in my back yard and hit the hammock with a cigarette. Alissa's fire escape overlooked my yard, so she would come out and join me. Usually I'd go up to the third floor (where her apartment was) and we'd talk about the randomest things. It was calming.
Now one thing she also liked was that I brought free cigarettes. Yup, I never paid for them. You see the local tobaccoist owed me for helping him woo and marry his wife. He was so grateful, he gave me free cartons. Made me popular until I quit. I brought her cigs as an exchange for the good discussion. Not many people enjoy debating with me, so it was nice.
In all honesty, I hated smoking, but it allowed me to meet and talk with some people, so I didn't quit until long after I wanted to. There are still some times when I want one, but other than a cigarello in Germany in 2004, I haven't had a cigarette since 2000. (Yes, Virginia, I'm no fun. No drinking and no cigarettes.)
Incidentally, the mention of Sir Walter Raleigh is that he introduced Tobacco to England thus helping the Brits to smoke. Of course, I also think of Raleigh in that he was wrongfully imprisoned. That's how I feel with this insomnia.
At least I know that if I go to Hell, I already know my punishment.
That is...if there is a Hell. The Greeks may have been right: Perhaps living here on Earth and having the ability to contemplate the evil ways of everything and everyone around us is hell enough.
This is what happens when a mind starts to get too tired. Rambling.
Then again, what do I know? I'm a stupid git. I'm probably wrong.


cat said...

Hi Leab!
I am quit concerned about your lack of sleep. I also had this, and MUST take sleeping pills everynight. It was EXTREMELY hard for me to start them also, I did not want to admit the lose of control either. But, it has made life easier and in control, and me a much better person now that I sleep at night. Maybe give up that little bit of control to have better control of the rest of your life! Just a thought from someone who has been there. I know I felt out of control all the time when I was SO sleep deprived, and now I am back in control of my life again. So, that is what I know! Take Care!

Marlys said...

Hey, Leab -- I struggle with insomnia/anxiety, too, and am also really leery about taking sleep meds. I have had very good luck with acupuncture. What worked for me was a few weeks of twice-a-week sessions and then a few weeks of once-a-week sessions, plus maintenance visits when I need 'em. I was skeptical at first, but damned if it didn't work. Your insurance may even cover it.

Arthur Willoughby said...

I love Blogger. Wrote a huge response, it disappeared.

Sleep meds for insomnia are no different than antibiotics for infections. Insomnia is a disease. It should be treated.

Sleep meds served me wonderfully for several years. Now it's rare I take a sleeping pill; I finally enjoy fairly restful sleep.

Diet and exercise helps as well, Leab, but they didn't solve it entirely for me.

Bill R said...

I mentioned this before to you and I'll mention it again. Talk to your doctor and ask him to recommend you to a sleep specialist and get a sleep study done. That will determine if you have a physical reason (sleep apnea) or not for your insominia. After those results are in, the sleep specialist will go over the best options for you. These people are really good at this, you should give them a try. If the result is you need a sleeping pill to help for a while, then so be it. But if it's a physical reason, then there are other treatment options. I have sleep apnea and since I've been treated for it, my insomnia is gone and I feel much better physically and mentally.

Anonymous said...

diet and exercise, Leab. Look in the mirror and try it - I really think it would help you.