“Asleep ” by The Smiths
(don’t watch the video, man. one day i’ll learn to post music on here without having to post videos.)
What do I hate more than insomnia? Not much, to be honest. Like I just texted Cynthia, I feel like a rational approach to dealing with insomnia would be my last step toward mental stability. This is the universe’s last great test that I must pass in order to finally be a grown-up. Well, I failed. I’m eighteen years old and I’m still crying for my mommy in the middle of the night.
An excerpt from my journal last night at approximately 1:00 am. I couldn’t sleep last night. I’ve alluded before to my childish sleeping habits: I go to sleep and wake up ridiculously early for someone my age. That’s just how I am. But for some reason when I can’t fall asleep immediately, I panic. Several years ago, this became a real, troubling problem for me. I dreaded the nighttime, not because I couldn’t sleep, but because of the way that I felt as I kicked the blankets off of my feet for the third time, the sound of each inhale and exhale unnaturally loud and invasive inside my head. The most frightening thing about this restlessness is the realization that I am completely alone. I want to depart this world for a few hours and join everyone else in the house in their peaceful unawareness, but I must have missed the train. And I’ve been left behind again and there’s nothing I can do. I want to be unconscious but my body (or my mind) betrays me. Again. This continues night after night for weeks on end and at some point I realize that this is probably a self-fulfilling prophecy and a positive feedback loop: the more I stress about being able to sleep, the more the inability to sleep will plague me.
It’s an irrational fear. I realize this. I actually went into therapy about four years ago after a summer of fearful insomnia. When I say insomnia, I suppose I am self-diagnosing unnecessarily. It’s not like I would stay up for days on end. It’s more that I would panic when I couldn’t fall asleep right away. In retrospect I realize that there was really nothing wrong with me; I was just very scared of past events repeating themselves.
Since that summer I rarely get anxious at nights; when I do, a simple relocation can usually solve my problems. Sleeping in my younger sister’s room is often all I need to calm down enough to drift off.
Last night, after watching some of the Oscar’s, I went into my room and began reading as I usually do. I dozed off before I finished the page, but jerked back awake when my arm uncontrollably moved. I rolled over and turned my bedside lamp off, thinking that I already had one foot in the door. That was at about 11:15.
By 12:00 I sat up straight, feeling that familiar dread creeping up behind my ears. Not this again. I rationalized with myself (above). I want so badly to be able to handle this on my own. I’m eighteen years old. I switched rooms a few times, trying to get comfortable. I thought: Maybe tonight will be the night. Maybe. Maybe not.
Around 2:00 I crawled into my mother’s room and slid into her bed. And I’ll say that immediately, I felt safer. I’d like to say that since I am legally an adult now, I don’t need my mother as much as I used to. In many aspects that is true. But at times like this, when I feel most vulnerable, I just want to hear someone breathing close to me. And my mommy is the best. The bed was soft and familiar, and with each inhale her scent filled me up with goodness; exhales expelling fear and anxiety. I feel like such a child telling this story about how I needed my mom. But I was talking to a friend about it and she told me that we all need our mothers sometimes. We all get like this. Thirty year olds regress when they feel the most vulnerable. I just feel lucky that I still have my mom to return to.
I’ve recently concluded that the things that have happened in my recent past occurred for a reason. I had thought that going through high school had been way too easy for me. My life up to this point had been pretty easy. But senior year I have loaded on the AP classes and kicked up my extracurriculars to overload my schedule. And I’m okay now. I never would have thought that I could manage it, but it’s fine. This is (God’s?) way of providing a challenge for me to grow up, to become strong on my own. And I must say that I have done a pretty great job thus far. I’m almost over what happened. I’m very very close. Last night I wrote about it a lot, and this quote came into my mind as I was rambling to myself:
McKenzie: Hey, maybe you should write a book.
McKenzie: Well, you know, Henry Miller said the best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature.
Are we really going there? Why yes, I think we are. Maybe not a book. Definitely not a book. But it’s all going to be written down. It’ll be the ultimate catharsis. I have about twenty pages left in my notebook which I will use to record every moment (at least the significant ones) from the beginning to the end. I will not hide from any memory regardless of how painful it is to write it down, to revisit it in full detail. If I don’t use all of the pages, that’s it. I’m done. I’ll get a new notebook and it’ll be a new me. A new record of my future.
Whatever happened last night was not a failed test. I think it might have just been a reminder that I really am not as independent as I like to think I am. I need my connections to people, especially my family. Especially my mom. So I’m drinking a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea that my mom bought for me today, listening to Billie Holiday, and feeling completely at peace. I’m almost there. It’s weird what four hours of sleep can do to a baby like me. I’ll be typing along and the whole world will shift to the right a little bit for a second, go out of focus, and come back into focus. Trippy. I’m going to sleep very soon. I want to watch the new episode of Greek tonight but I don’t know that I can make it to 11:00. I’ll just watch it on Hulu tomorrow night.