Friday, 20 April 2018

I might've made a tactical error

I've got into bed fully dressed. Alright, shoes and socks are off, so not quite fully dressed I guess. I predict this will be a race against time; will I stay wake long enough to get out of bed again, wash my face and brush my teeth, and importantly, deal with my bladder?? I have gone to bed in my clothes before, I know that sounds bad, but honestly, there isn't a lot of difference between my clothes and pyjamas and usually when I go to sleep fully dressed I somehow get out of my clothes during the night. Last weekend I woke up and I still had some things on but they were inside out. Something interesting apparently happened but I have no way of discovering what it might have been. Well, don't look back.

I am very tired. This is a difficult time of year in my job. Today was a huge day, seven thousand schoolchildren, and next week I shall be servicing the Dawn and trying not to be bowled over by the tsunami of humanity flooding over the grounds and into the building once the sun finally struggles over the horizon. When I got home this evening, just a little bit drunk, I lay down on my bed in the manner of a person who is just having a lie-down and not really expressing an interest in sleeping, i.e. I put my feet on the pillow and my head near the other end. And then I felt a deep sense of rest and peace washing through my body from the inside out. I breathed deeply and I felt the air opening a passage down through my centre; I breathed out and I was asleep, and when I woke up Vinnie was lying right in front of my face, purring with his smelly breath and ecstatically kneading a tangled lock of my hair that was lying on the rug between us. So to get away from him I got under the covers and here I am.

Sleep has become a very big part of my life over the last few months. I don't know if I've said so on here, but after many months of trying to deal with chronic insomnia in other ways, I've been taking sleeping pills since January. What this means is that I now sleep between six and a half and eight hours at night, as opposed to four or five, and the change has had an extraordinary effect on my health. No shit: I feel incredibly well most of the time, I can think clearly for most of the day, I'm not tempted to eat things that I know will disagree with me, and I don't lose my rag at people even when they really deserve it. One negative side to this feeling great is that I really notice, now, how rotten I feel the morning after drinking at night, and so because I know that's going to happen I just don't drink much at all any more, even though I very much enjoy being drunk. I can see I will have to schedule in some of that kind of activity at times when I can cope with the consequences, because now that sleep seems to be more or less sorted, getting more fun into my life is the next priority.

So these pills: I just have a tiny piece of the lowest dose pill available and then I have an hour, maybe two, before I can't fight off sleep. And I will usually stay asleep until between four and five. It is so incredible to me to be able to sleep again that I am willing to accept the consequences, for now at least. These are that I don't have much of a life outside of work and looking after Leonard. Lately I haven't even been able to read more than a few pages of a book in the evenings before I have to close my eyes. And also I wonder if I am able to go to sleep without them. The few times I've forgotten to take one, or I've got home too late to take one, I have slept not at all, or hardly anything. This suggests to me that I've gotten dependent on them. Well that's something I can live with, if it's the case; again it comes back to how extraordinary it feels to not be exhausted and sleep-deprived all the time.

Insomnia makes you tired in the day and also the lying awake at night fulminating is a pretty unfortunate thing. (That's a garbage sentence, but already my eyelids are getting heavy and I know I won't last much longer.) But something is shifting there too. I guess it's the weakening of the habit of lying awake and doing full-tilt thinking in the dark. A few nights ago I realised I had been awake and thinking for an indefinitely long period of time, and no doubt I'd been thinking uselessly about the problem I have which will be sorted out eventually but that moment will not be hastened by obsessive rehashing of the circumstances or of the plan for getting the better of them. Now usually at that point of realising I'm awake, I just carry on thinking even more elaborately and therefore unhelpfully, while also feeling very worried about how I'll get through the next day on inadequate sleep. But this night, without planning or trying to, I thought to myself, just relax and go to sleep and let my dreams sort it all out. And I don't remember what happened after that, so perhaps I did indeed return to sleep and allow my unconscious to stage whatever scenes it wanted with my little worry dolls. But I do remember that at the moment that I had that notion, I felt a sense of warmth and expansiveness and peace bleeding through my body. And now I had really better get up and go and wash the grime of the breaths of seven thousand children off of my face. Enjoy your weekend.


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