I have a dark secret I want to get off my chest. I’ve been a chronic insomniac since middle school. There, I’ve said it. The following is a non-fiction piece I wrote in response to a writing group prompt exercise last July.
“The Sounds of Insomnia” by Teresa Edmond
I’ve had trouble sleeping at night since middle school. As a matter of fact, it’s quite rare for me to have a full night’s sleep. How do I know when I accomplished a good, full night’s sleep? When I wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and relaxed – that doesn’t happen very often.
When I can’t sleep, I lie in bed watching TV, listen to the radio, read Wikipedia articles online, or write. Sometimes I hear outside noises like the sirens of emergency vehicles or the arguing and stomping of our upstairs neighbor in the apartment building. Mostly, the sounds of insomnia I hear are those in my head. No, I’m not talking about voices as though I’m schizophrenic. I’m talking about the noises of life – stressful times, happy times, the scolding screams inside my head that I’m somewhat bored and don’t know what to do to amuse myself. The sounds of anger, regret, fear and worry. The sounds of financial stress, concerns over my daughter, and whether I can cope through another day without dealing with some loudmouth ass who feels like giving me a hard time.
It has become a well-known verity among my family that I’m an insomniac. Growing up, and in later years when my daughter and I were living with her, my mother often asked if I got a good night’s sleep. (Well, considering she’s my mother, worrying is her job.) My daughter, my other relatives and even boyfriends ask me the same thing. As a matter of fact, my current boyfriend teases me about being a vampire. We both know I’m not a vampire, but to him, I’m certainly a vamp. However, that’s a different topic all together.
I’ve talked to doctors about my insomnia. I’m told it’s because I drink a copious amount of caffeinated coffee. But even when I drink a little coffee before noon, I still fall asleep in the middle of the day and make up for it by staying up at nights. Maybe it’s because I find sleep to be too boring, and it’s more exciting to flip out over life events I have no control over – I don’t know.
To this day, I’m an insomniac, yet I don’t consciously care to really do anything about it other than meditate and sometimes fall asleep at the most unexpected times. My friends know this to be true. I’d watch a movie at a friend’s house during a gang get-together, and by the time the movie is over, they’d look my way and find me asleep on the couch.
In the end, when I really want the sounds of insomnia to lull me to sleep, all I do is endure the chaos in my head and heart by watching DVDs and TV, surfing the Internet, and allow boredom to occasionally haunt me. From all this, I get knocked right out.