the brutality of insomnia

You wouldn’t think so, but insomnia is fucked, absolutely brutal.

As a kid I vaguely envied Stephen King when I learned he was an insomniac ~ I thought cool, just stay up writing all night. By my early twenties I discovered Peter Carey, who said something like, “All good writers are necessarily mentally unwell, so be careful what you wish for.”

Insomnia is a mental illness. My mind feels like a V8 engine with only one spark plug and a leadfoot at the wheel ~ it would be revving its tits off if it wasn’t spluttering, farting and stalling with every attempt at cognition. I turn back to the fridge with a bottle of milk in hand and think, Shit, what was I doing?

This is profoundly painful for me, who so heavily identifies with having a powerful intellect at his disposal most of the time. When my mind begins to fail me like this, I get scared, knowing that belief in your correct perception of reality can fall away in an instant, given sufficient stressors, plunging you into the Chasm of Chaos … but,

I’m getting ahead of myself ~ it’s not that bad yet, at night four, but by night seven when it starts to feel like my body is falling apart, shit could get real. At night six during one bout, I told my friend I was scared, and she said (ever the ironically jovial supporter), “You know that by night eleven you will go insane and die?” I believed her then, and I believe her now.

Sleep is precious like water, my dear loved ones ~ don’t mess with it. Don’t ever take it for granted. I used to say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Real clever, Gung-ho Gonzo. If you’re reading this and the birds are chirping, go to bed, have a wank, and do some sleeping for me, okay? Do it for the children!

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