For the Birds

A month ago this would have been 7 am and I would have been waking in the hours before it anyway, so trying to sleep through it now is an exercise in futility. This stupid human construct called the time change wreaks havoc on my already toss and turny body. Insomnia is a constant companion. It will go away for awhile. Turning wifi off near my bed made a huge difference. But there is also the brain that tosses and turns too much. When I remember meditation, this helps a lot of the time, but I don’t always remember it and so…

I think if I suggested that the time change is a conspiracy to mess with our minds I would be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, the new fastest way to shut down inquiry. Yet I wouldn’t put it past the deviants running this shit show to sit rubbing their hands in glee as the population crashes its cars and goes even more crazy every time the clock shifts forward and back, forward and back. It’s just more evidence to me that these kinds of human constructs are for the birds.

What is that expression, for the birds? I went and looked it up. It’s an American expression from the army shortened from “shit for the birds” because birds ate horse poop, so something that was for the birds was considered drivel, nonsense, irrelevant matter. Hmmm. I doubt it was nonsense, drivel, or irrelevant matter for the birds who ate the shit. Even calling it shit belittles it, somehow. It actually is part of the cycle of life, and of many insects for birds or other animals to eat manure. All the way around, humans find a way to make what Earth comes up with meaningless.

How did I get here? This is what happens when I’m too tired and wake up before I’m ready. My subscapularis is in its own little personal hell, so when I woke and couldn’t sleep I used my little thumby tool to rub out the friction between the muscle fibers, then still couldn’t sleep so played cards on my phone (an activity I know is useless and also not helpful to sleep because of the blue LED light in the phone but I did it anyway). Then I started thinking about the time change and looked at the clock and discovered it was six and then wrote this. I am nothing if not a master of writing useless stuff when I’m tired. But hey, now I know where for the birds came from. They can come and peck through this post.

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Sleep Eludes Me

So tired, yet sleep eludes me. Dancing just out of reach like a flirtatious lover, rubbing fingers along my shoulders then tiptoeing away as I turn to reach for him. I laid here and tried to get underneath all the thoughts, yet it was as if a boulder were lying on my chest. I struggled to climb down behind its mass, turning. It didn’t work. Exhaustion sits on my shoulders, yet here I am, bleary eyes gazing at this screen. Maybe writing about the elusivity — is this even a word? — will help me to get even a half an hour of blissful sleep.

At some point in the near past I did reach over and look at my phone and discover I had not turned off the wifi. Bad. Bad. A guarantee I’ll awaken. But by then it was too late.

My good little plan

I can’t sleep so I’ll just pretend I’m on the east coast and I won’t be up too early. 3 or 4 in the morning is 6 or 7 there. Better yet, I’ll be on Europe time so it’s like I slept in. Now I’m hungry. I can have my brunch in bed in France or the Netherlands. Maybe if I Skype to my friend Anne in the Hague, she’ll actually be awake.

I thought I cured my insomnia, and mostly I have, but sometimes when my mind won’t quiet, it comes back. Thank goodness it doesn’t last for weeks on end like it used to before the cell phone turn off. Yet there are moments, like lately, where quieting the mind isn’t so easy. I stumble and trip through the items undone on the todo list, or mull over relationships, or wonder about the state of the planet. Worry, that pointless pastime rears its ugly head. I could write an Everywoman story where on the journey my hero wanders through thick, muddy fields of worry. Each time she thinks she has slayed that dragon, another rises to take its place, each more gargantuan, deeper, and more insidious than before. How will my Everywoman conquer her worries? When will she learn the dragons are not dragons at all, but hunks of mud, dirt, and water?

I don’t know the answer to that. I do have to say though that I’m tired again and ready to come back to my own time zone and perhaps grab a few more moments of sleep.

Adieu.

A Possible Cure for Insomnia

This piece was published on Huffington Post.

A Possible Cure for Insomnia

I have figured out one possible cure for insomnia.

I started having insomnia in the mid-1990s. Mine is the sort that wakes me up at night, my little brain buzzing like an electrical transmission tower, thoughts of work, thoughts of family, song worms, you name it.

To keep reading, click here.

Tired, Tired, Tired, Tired

My insomnia is chronic. I wanted to say my insomnia is more than chronic, but it isn’t. Chronic is chronic; something can’t be more than that. Chronic is just one of those overused words. Acute? Unabating? Ceaseless? Persistent? Severe? Okay. I’m sounding like a thesaurus. That’s me. The 2 a.m thesaurus. Come to me for all your thesaural needs. Thesaural. Now there’s a word. I made that one up. I like it. I like it a lot. I can put it in my wallet and take it with me. I’m soooo tired. It must be apparent from what I’m typing here. I have dabbled off and on with morning pages.I don’t keep up with them, for two main reasons. First, the chronic, acute, unabating, ceaseless, persistent, and severe insomnia. Once I actually fall back asleep, I want to assure as many precious minutes of the stuff as I can. This means that consistently rising 10 or 20 minutes earlier is not going to happen on any sort of regular basis. The other reason is that most of what I write is silly nonsense. Silly, silly, silly. Foolish, stupid, unintelligent, idiotic,brainless, mindless, witless, imbecilic, doltish; imprudent, scatterbrained, featherbrained; frivolous, giddy, vacuous,inane, immature, childish, dotty, scatty, loopy, wingy, ditzy, screwy, thick, thickheaded, birdbrained, pea-brained, dopey, dim, dimwitted, halfwitted, dippy, blockheaded, boneheaded,and lamebrained. That time I did consult a thesaurus, as I think is evident. Because my brain is all of these things without sleep, I would not be able to compile such a list on my own. I might not even be able to during my sharpest hours, which really are rather dull these days because of the interruptions in my sleep. It’s amazing I can type. Or spell. My fingers do have an automatic bent to them when it comes to typing. They even know when I type a typo before I do and go back and fix it hardly before I have had a chance to notice anything is awry. Oh, and back to morning pages… I guess there isn’t anything more to say about morning pages, except I rarely write them, blasted insomnia being a big reason why.

I guess I should try to go back to sleep. It’s not yet 3, but heading there. For the longest time I thought I woke up at 4 or 5, but lately, I’ve decided to look at the clock and have determined that it is much earlier than I suspected. I also think I must lie awake longer, because light is usually creeping around my light-blocking shades and I’m still lying there awake. No wonder I’m so freaking tired all the time.

Being an insomniac and writing this in the middle of the night will probably not stop the immediate liker from a blog that isn’t really a blog. I swear, these sites must set up some computer to like stuff automatically. I’m not sure the benefit to it. Maybe they think I’ll click back to buyabigscreentv.wordpress.com. The likers and followers have gotten increasingly more commercial of late. I don’t like the whole like and follow thing anyway. I prefer the way it used to be when people mostly actually commented. But everyone is facebooking everything. Gag. Anyway, there is no way some of these sites could have had a human read what I say and like it as fast as they show up. I hit publish, and simultaneously I get an email telling me some advertising site liked me. Oh, boy! They liked me, they really liked me!! Whatever. I won’t click on a blog with a name that is obviously selling some crap and isn’t a person. Also there seems to be a proliferation lately of sites claiming one can make a million sitting at home typing stupid crap on their computer. Sure, right. Tell me some more whoppers. I’m gullible. I don’t sleep. Bring it on. Just wait until I nap.

Insomnia is Evil

Insomnia, you are an evil bastard. I’m working on some alternative techniques to deal with you and finding some success, but alas, not yet enough. I’m still mostly thoroughly exhausted.

Some tricks:  Put an extra earplug or two under your pillow so when one of the two you wear nightly invariably falls out, it is not necessary to wake enough to reach over and open the drawer to the bedside table and find another, thus waking further and making sleep impossible. One other thing to note about earplugs, find the kind that work best for you and buy 1000 of the damn things. Manufacturers seem hell bent on reinventing wheels that work just fine every few years and you may discover that your best earplug choice disappears from the drugstore shelf, never to be found again. Buying the entire supply ensures you’ll have enough of your favorite for years.

Keep your eye pillow within arm’s reach for the same reason listed with earplugs. Anything that can be done before really waking will increase the likelihood of falling back to sleep.

The light-blocking shades available at hardware stores are the best thing since sliced bread. Nothing beats them for keeping out the dark. They’re worth every penny.

All the usual insomnia advice about not drinking caffeine later in the day, not drinking later in the day, keeping your room temperature at a point that doesn’t cause too much warmth or too much cold, and eating before bed so you don’t wake up hungry are  all useful too. Considering I have the smallest bladder on the planet, I really have to follow the advice about not drinking anything. Actually having to rise out of bed is a sure sleep killer for me.

I’m trying this Buddhist meditation thing. I have to become really mindful of my body, then focus on my breath, then move through my body and find tension and note that it is there, and move my mind back to this if it slips away. I find that focusing on my body and my breath forces my mind away from the usual suspects that cause it to spin, work and money. I’m getting better, but my brain seems hardwired to know if I’m going to have to get up in an hour or less anyway and will not go back to sleep, no matter how exhausted I am.

Insomnia is a bitch. Over twenty years of this. The only thing that really makes it better is feeling completely secure, and that hasn’t happened for years now. I can’t imagine that this will be a part of my life until I die, but I’m beginning to think that it will. Maybe it will even cause my death since sleeplessness is blamed for so many causes of death.

My Ear Plug Problem

I have an ear plug problem. They fall out of my ears in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping, (Well, at least one does. Usually it is only one) and then I wake up. A side note warning here — do not start with the ear plugs. Once you start, you will be forced to continue for the rest of your life. I started in my early twenties because of a loud neighbor. I learned only to sleep in silence. It’s a problem. I’ve never been able to overcome it. It’s the same with babies. They say don’t be silent when they nap or you have to be silent. I’ve always continued with life as usual while my children napped and they both sleep through noise. I can only hope this continues for them into adulthood.

Anyway, digression aside. My earplugs fall out. Then I wake up. Then I have to reach over and if I remembered to leave the drawer open, just grab one from the bowl. If I forgot to leave the drawer open, then open the drawer and retrieve one from the bowl. In both instances, I wake up too much to fall right back to sleep. This is a problem considering the ear plugs are one of the many insomnia prevention tools at my disposal.

Well, I’m trying a small, albeit rather silly, experiment. I have tried it twice, but haven’t really gotten to used to it yet. My earplugs do not fall out every night, but a lot of nights. However, they have not fallen out the two nights I’ve tried my experiment, so I don’t know if it will work. The experiment is to put an earplug under my pillow. My pillow does not move a lot at night. If I wake up and need an earplug, it is there under my pillow. I wakened too early last night and ran my hand under the pillow just to adjust the fluff in it (I use down pillows). I felt the earplug and remembered it was there.

I think it might work. I’m not sure. It can’t hurt. I won’t wake up any more if I try and find it if it isn’t there than I would reaching over and trying to get in the bowl in the drawer next to my bed. Good luck to me.