Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sleep Disorder

It’s getting to the point where I’m having a difficult time remembering my last good night’s sleep. Of late, getting to sleep has been a chore (as has been staying asleep, but I’ll get to that later). I lay there on the bed doing what I think is expected of me – head on pillow, body under the covers, eyes closed, yet I remain awake; my brain on overdrive.

I then attempt to fatigue my brain by making up wacky songs and performing complex calculations involving large numbers (no scientific notation), an occasional decimal point (or fraction), and the alphabet; yet sleep continues to elude me.

On occasion, I’ll get out of bed and wander into the office to noodle around on the ‘net for a while in hope that my tired body can convince my brain that it’s bed time. Of course, once I finally get back to the bed I must either repeat the craziness described above or repeat some twisted mantra while doing breathing exercises in hopes of relieving excess stress (did I just say excess stress?) and anxiety. Eventually, there comes a point where body and mind simply collapse from their conscious state – and the nightmares begin.

Somewhere within the boundaries of the unconscious state my body and mind have surrendered to, lives an evil director of dreams daring to destroy what semblance of sleep I’ve found. In one nefarious nightmare, I find myself running to the bathroom and upon arrival, discover the porcelain pond and pending stream of unconsciousness is actually a subconscious trigger to activate consciousness (at a most unreasonable hour) so that the river of dreams is correctly deposited in the appropriate receptacle in the conscious world (I knew having a bathroom in the bedroom would pay off). Can you guess what happens on my return to bed?

The physical body, barely able to function, far beyond exhaustion, begs the brain to simply shut itself off. Unfortunately, another round of nocturnal nonsense, delirious doggerel, and the ever popular mind math lead the way to the next wave of unconsciousness. The nightmares begin again; perhaps one of the worst nightmares of all.

I actually have this dream that the alarm clock is buzzing which forces a battle between my unconscious state and my looming conscious awareness of the symbolic nature of an active alarm. At this point, I need to sort out whether or not I awaken within my dream or from it. Not sure if this is even possible, I ultimately awaken from both – twice as confused, twice as distressed, twice as tired, and twice as frustrated as a gander at the actual alarm clock (which requires a series of eye rubs and fumbling for my glasses often resulting in a painful toe stubbing incident and/or the dropping of a poorly placed cup of water) indicates a ridiculous hour usually somewhere between four and five in the morning. With the actual alarm set to sound at six, the race is on to maximize what little time is left to rest this weary existence.

As I struggle to find the right body position, the last cool spot on the pillow, and the correct combination of collective bargaining between mind and body forcing a final collapse into yet another various version of a sleep state, a very conscious awareness of the pending unconsciousness occurs as my mind wrestles with the concept that now more than ever, time is of the essence.

I finally find myself falling into the deepest sleep of the long night when once again, the ringing of an alarm and the roar of the radio fill the room with unwelcome decibels signaling the start of a new day as I arise into my state of confused consciousness wondering how am I to make it through another day. It is in fact during one of these periods of confusion in which I found the clarity of mind to write this essay. I am left now with just enough time to ponder what lies ahead only a few hours from now as the vicious cycle inevitably will begin once more.


Joy said...

Oh, I know how this is! It's horrible. Like you, my best sleep happens when it's time to get up. Occasionally I take NyQuil or one of those PM's (Tylenol or Exedrin) early enough to get a night's sleep. It's great when I sleep well and stay asleep all night. Good luck!!

Michael said...

As you may have noticed from previous posts in my blog, I've a tendency towards this kind of early morning mental thrashing myself. You captured it really well here, I thought, hit a bunch of practical details I tend to miss (the glass of water, the stubbing of toes). I like this piece.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Italian in you? Middle of the night SEX man that's what you do! What's this water, walking about, writing. . . jump on that fine young lady of yours!!Ah, what dreams you'lll have . . .