It’s 4am and I’m still awake. Under normal circumstances this would be the time when I finally doze off after tossing and turning for many hours. But I have to go to the head office of Generika (the pharmacy) to apply for my internship so I’m cutting out sleep altogether. Bill and I planned to meet around 8 so that means I have to be up by 6 to enjoy my breakfast, bath, and the selection of today’s outfit. Stripes, maybe?
I suffer terrible bouts of insomnia. I’m not sure if you could classify it the way the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) classify sleep disorders but it has come to affect my life in a major way. I wake up late, come late to morning classes, and remain sleepy for the rest of the day. I feel lethargic and my back hurts constantly (I don’t know how this fits, but let’s throw it in). However, what’s odd about my case is that I feel sleepy like a regular person. When I get home, there’s nothing I would like to do more than undress and hit the sack. But when I do, trouble begins. I lie in bed and wait for sleep. It doesn’t come.
Also, what’s weird is when I do sleep early (say 11pm), I wake up after a few hours and stay awake the whole morning. Tonight, I slept around that time and woke up an hour later. The only explanation: my body clock is not functioning properly.
Usually, I can’t sleep because my mind is still racing. My mind wanders from the totally mundane (like what the world would be like if unicorns were real), to the more urgent thoughts (like how I would attack my assignment on bipolar disoder). These are the times when having an active imagination can be a liability. There are also nights when my back pain or joint aches are too much to bear. There are also those instances, albeit very rare, when I’m just not sleepy.
To combat this, I read. After a few pages, my eyes start to close on their own and I just drop the book (I’m afraid that if I move, I’ll wake up) and fall asleep. If that fails, I change positions. Sometimes it helps if I sleep a certain way. If THAT fails, I switch on the TV and watch a documentary. The soothing voice of the narrator can sometimes lull me to Dreamland. Drinking warm milk helps but I think that’s more of a mind over matter kind of thing.
I’ve taken the medical route as well. I’ve tried Valiums, Mogadons, Acetaminophens, Sleepwell, and Sleepasil. Sleepwell and Sleepasil are over-the-counter drugs so I don’t take it seriously. Acetaminophens are from the States but they’re good because they cure body pain that accompany sleeplessness. The problem with it is you have to take two to three at a time before it actually works. I’ve tried Mogadons twice but they’re really good. Once, I didn’t have trouble sleeping for an entire month. But it’s hard to find and the effects are quite scary. I’ve taken a lot of Valiums because it’s dirt-cheap. Whenever I try to score, I always have to explain that it’s for my insomnia and not because I want to experience a high. Dealers give me this knowing look but I’m sorry, I’m a Whitney when it comes to that, if you know what I mean.
In hindsight, I don’t remember insomnia plaguing me when I was in high school or when I was in UST. I remember it starting in Perpetual when I started to take in more responsibilities. It’s probably the stress and the generalized anxiety that’s keeping me from sleeping properly.
I hate my inability to snooze. Honestly, I find it easier acing a major exam than attempting to sleep. But that’s the way life goes for me, it’s either responsibilities or sleep. And if I have to pick, I have to pick responsibilities.