Eyes Pried Open

I can’t sleep.

I can’t sleep, and I can’t even blame my babies, who are no longer babies and are sleeping in their own beds in their own room for a good 11 hours each night.
It’s all me, and I can’t sleep. I do everything one is supposed to in order to facilitate and maintain a good night’s sleep, but come 11, 12, 1 o’clock, I can’t sleep.

My body rebels by midnight, becoming restless and heavy and uncoordinated, but still, I can’t sleep.

I try playing solitaire, in bed, on my Blackberry, the beam of light from the screen just narrow enough that I won’t wake my husband, slumbering peacefully out cold beside me. I do this until I literally cannot keep my eyes open, but as soon as I lie down, I am wide awake again.

I can lie in my bed, wishing to be asleep, and my body literally tingles with anxiety. Anxious because I cannot sleep leads to anxious because we lost our nanny; anxious because I miss my children during the day; anxious because my anxiety leads me to scratch at itchy patches on my hands until they bleed. And as the hours tick past, so does coherent thought, and it’s not unusual for me to wake Chris at 3 am because I am no longer anxious about rational or real, but am now convinced that the crack I saw in the kitchen wall means that the floor under my children is about to give way or that the cat is scratching her hind leg because we have bedbugs and I will fly out of bed and turn on the light in order to catch them, but all I catch is a groggy, panicked husband wondering why I had to fly out of bed and turn on the light in the middle of the night.

And he’s good; he’s so good. He tells me to wake him if I can’t sleep or if my legs feel shaky, and he’ll talk me down or massage out the tension until his touch lightens and falls and I realize that he is asleep again but I am not.'

I have seen my naturopath and my doctor about this. I have tinctures and regiments and mantras and exercises that I see through but don’t sleep through. I have little blue pills that I don’t like to take but sometimes I will, and half the time they don’t work either, but make me groggy enough that when I pad down the hall to the bathroom I ricochet off the walls and doorframes and end up with funny bruises on my hips and shins.

Last weekend, I went away with some friends to a beautiful, peaceful lakeside home. We ate too much, drank too much, smoked too much, and I slept. I slept dreamless, until 9:30 each morning. But life is not lived in limitless repose, and I was unable to transfer the momentum of those nights home.

I’m not particularly stressed out during the day. I don’t fight off catastrophic thoughts at 2pm or cry over the upcoming anniversary of my father’s death at 11am. Those thoughts are the company I keep at 3am, no matter how hard I try to head them off with sleep.

I’m hoping that the cooler weather that surely must, has to be on its way will help. I’m hoping that my return to running, although I hate every single bleedin’ second of it, will help. I’m hoping that sorting out our childcare and some other short and long term decisions will help.

Because sleep deprivation sucks, ask any new mother. But sleep deprivation when you don’t even have a baby to make it all worthwhile? Well that’s just downright cruel. I’m just too tired to be angry about it.



  1. I wish there was some advice I could give you but I often play bejeweled blitz on my iPhone while my husband snores next to me. Is there any time during the day you can catch a snooze?

    Thinking about you. xo.

  2. Ooh, I'm sorry to hear that - fingers crossed that the sleep fairies will be kind to you!

  3. I too suffer from insomnia - it's a b****! Especially when you are exhausted. My ideal sleep pattern seems to be 10pm-3am, then 5am-8am. That last bit is what is not really possible with a preschooler.

    I have realised that I am MUCH more of a fretter/worrier than I knew.

  4. I think we should revisit our weekly walking club. Maybe some more me-time will make you sleep better. Just a good vent in some fresh air.

  5. Oh that must be awful- poor you.
    Though I have to say that I've been there as well.
    I think the running exercising thing might help- it has for me big time.

    Fingers crossed that you can get a good solid 8 hours soon.

  6. I have issues with insomnia too. It sucks.

    I have prescription sleeping pills (btw what kind do you have?) and it scares me to take them so I 'save' them for when I know I must get sleep and go without when I think I can manage on less, but they aren't working like they used to.

  7. This is why I do sudoku before bed - it settles me brain. It usually works, though some nights I get downright homicidal because Misterpie snores beside me. Those nights are brutal, and I'm glad you had at least a short respite from them, but wish a had a good solution for you. Sudoku, maybe?

  8. I read this last night then passed out with the kids at 9 pm. I woke up at three. perhaps I should bbm you?

    Not sleeping makes ya crazy. I just wish I had some tips.

  9. Insomnia during the worst of my anxiety and depression was atrocious. I'd dread the nighttime, precisely because I knew I wouldn't be sleeping.

    I was prescribed a great medication that requires only a minimal dose. It's not even marketed for sleep. It's an anti-depressant. And it's cheap. Please send me an email if you'd like the name, as I don't want to send the bots here with any mention of a prescription. It helped me tremendously, and I was able to wean myself off of it eventually.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. It blows.

  10. Ugh. That used to happen to me when I had a real job to go to in the morning. Now I'm usually writing to deadline until 2 or 3am and am practically sleep walking to my bed. Maybe just don't fight it? If you're not sleeping, then get up and write. Don't blog; work on something you otherwise wouldn't find the time for. Maybe?

  11. Oh this is awful. Just awful. I've had short-lived bouts with insomnia, and I can't imagine living like that longterm. I wish I had some great advice, but all I can offer is sympathy.


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