Sleeplessness

Based on true events. Fucking sucks, dude.

I don’t know if I’ve posted it here before or not, but the Durarara!! soundtrack is fantastic.

~

The pattern was the same. 800 milligrams of magnesium (both citrate and malate) earlier in the evening, then Formula 303, some other anxiety supplement, and 600 milligrams of ibuprofen. Half an hour later, chug about three cups of kava sludge – only in its non-strained state because I couldn’t afford to use any extra – and play some of a game, then finish off the last cup, with a little more Formula 303 and a cup of Fidnemed tea.

Debate about getting ready to go to bed, then mix up one last little dose of kava.

Head to the bathroom, take a shit, jack off, vape for approximately twenty-three drags, something around ten milligrams of nicotine, then take a shower while listening to a podcast. Now, in the summer, the temperature dial was rotated around 225 degrees counter-clockwise from the top, warm but not hot. Regardless of the temperature, though, it would still sting my dry, cracked skin, stretching to its maximum with every movement.

One and a half squirts of soap to wash my torso and crotch, two squirts to wash my armpits and arms. Wet the facecloth and wash my face and arms with it, wincing because any contact with the skin around my eyes is unbearably painful, then wash my hair, dry my face with the squeezed-out washcloth, then turn off the shower with my right hand while letting my left hand dry off slightly, since that was what carried my iPhone – still playing the podcast – out of the shower.

Dry off, put on underwear – this is when I would get dressed, but it was hot enough that I wasn’t going to put on the clothes I had brought into the bathroom – shuffle around the bath mat to soak up any water that made its way out of the shower and hang it up, clean my ears, connect my headphones to my iPhone, then take a piss. Two pisses, technically. Well, if you really wanted to get into it, three.

Lip balm on my cracked lips, oil around my eyes, cream on my face (dear god, that sounds bad, doesn’t it), slip my iPhone into the waistband of my underwear and open the door, put dirty laundry in my laundry bin, get some lotion for my hands, which looked about sixty years older than I am, and carry the unused clothes into my room.

Lay in bed, listening to the podcast, get up a bit later and take two pisses, then return to bed and remove my headphones – disconnecting them from my iPhone to stop the podcast playing – and go to sleep. That was the pattern, specifically designed by myself to aid in sleep, or rather, aid in avoiding insomnia. This was around 1:45 AM. I think a lot of people thought I was a night owl that enjoyed sleeping in, but that was far from the truth. I just needed sleep – needed it, to function at all – and often couldn’t get to sleep, or couldn’t dose kava, until later. A container next to my bed held around ten Ambien. I didn’t want that number to decrease.

I tried not to think. But my mind goes, continually, no matter how fucking intoxicated I may be. I’ve megadosed phenibut and taken about seventeen drinks of alcohol, on no tolerance, as a lightweight, and I’ve never blacked out. There’s something about me that can keep me awake and aware through anything. One of the factions of my mind, fighting against all the others that are crying out for sleep, that forces me to stay up, to keep thinking about something, nothing in particular but just things in general.

Around 2:15 AM I turned on the light and took another small dose of kava and read a few pages of Durarara!! Vol. 3. I returned to the podcast and laid back down, in the dark, then got up to take another piss – two, really – a little later. I could feel my face drying out again already, becoming a mask.

The fear crept in, the fear that this would be another Bad Night, one of those nights I can’t get to sleep and can’t get to sleep late enough that I can’t really take an Ambien.

I dozed for half an hour, then that rogue faction woke me up and whispered to me. It whispered that maybe I needed to piss. Maybe if I didn’t piss, I’d need to wake up a bit later to actually piss. I tried to push it back, but caved and headed to the bathroom, and that little bit of physical activity woke me up.

I laid back down, tossed and turned, tried to find a suitable combination of arms and blanket to cover my ears and eyes, maybe dozed for a little bit or just went through a time warp, and found myself awake around 3:45. I tried to fall asleep, to keep myself physically and mentally still, but couldn’t.

My vision twisted and blurred around me, my headache continued getting worse and worse, my face had fully dried and hardened into a living leather. I called over someone who lived nearby. She knew about my trouble sleeping, and was often willing to help out with it.

The thing is, it was fully psychological, and I knew it. There was no real reason I should be awake, other than my mind keeping my mind awake. So having someone there, just for a moment, to remind me that the real world did truly still exist. The night was warped for me, it was a twisted version of reality that hated my very existence. Dreams were so deeply important to me, but if I was able, I would completely get rid of nights and sleep just to avoid this torture every time, the torture that had been slowly draining me and gradually impairing me. Even my hairline was showing the effects of this. It had been creeping further and further up over the past year. I was thinking about just shaving it at some point here so as to not look forty years older than I was.

I wanted to tell her how close to the edge I was, but I didn’t want to worry her or the friends she would doubtless relay that information to. They cared about me far more than I did. I had always had trouble with sleep, since childhood, but for some reason it had been so much worse for the past month or two, and it was showing no signs of relenting, other than one graceful night in which I was able to get to sleep around 1:30. The pattern had been the same for a long time, because it had been reliable and I needed reliability, but this recent inexplicable change was destroying me.

She was having trouble with her back, so she had to return to her bed before too long. I was less panicked by insomnia, but still very awake, so around 4:30 AM I put my headphones back on and turned on a playlist of Northernlion playing The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I never went to sleep at night listening to something, but I had noticed that listening to things settled my mind a bit, let that faction focus on something else, and sometimes fell asleep during the day while listening to something like that. His voice was pretty level, unless he started singing something, but I turned the volume low regardless. I plugged my iPhone in, so it didn’t just randomly die during the night, or rather the morning, and turned off my alarm.

It helped, but my headphones didn’t. They were bulky and weren’t designed for wearing during sleep, particularly the strange position in which I slept, so finding a comfortable position was difficult, if not impossible, particularly now that the sun was coming up and I needed to cover my eyes more reliably than before.

From what I can tell, I fell asleep around 5:00 AM. I didn’t sleep very deeply, often waking up and trying to find a semi-comfortable position again, but the worst was around 6:15 AM. I was up for about forty-five minutes then. Not fully awake, but awake and partially aware all the same.

I woke up around 10:00 AM and thought it was 12:00. When I realized I was wrong, I shifted my position and struggled back to sleep again. I woke up around 1:00. During that time I had only gone through about ten episodes, which I had been vaguely aware of even during my sleep, Northernlion’s weird rambling having some minor effect on my sleep cycles.

My eyes were partially sealed shut with goop. My entire body felt like jerky, my headache persisted, my entire body shook and my head swam and I knew, despite that, I needed to work on my capstone project.

I took a dose of my wake-up powder, made a cup of double-strength green tea, had a bowl and a half of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, tried to recover, and tried to not think about doing the same thing the next night.

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