Saturday, December 13, 2008

Middle of the Night Delirium

Yes, 1:00 AM and I am awake. Exhausted, yawning, bags under my eyes for the fourth night in a row, but awake.

When I was four and we lived in a split-level, my bedroom was right at the top of the stairs--about five steps above the living room. Whenever we had company, I would open my door a little and peek out. (Invariably, I'd get caught and get in trouble for it, but hey, I was four.) When we didn't have company and my parents were all the way down in the den (five steps below the living room), I would sneak down and sit on the top step and watch TV from there. It was a treat for me, but it was also the beginning of the late-night, sleep deprived pattern that I still tend to live by.

What do I do at night, awake so late? And why don't I just go to bed? (Two questions Mr. Brown has just stopped asking.) The answer to both: I don't know. I'm not addicted to chat rooms or even Facebook (though I do tend to keep an eye on it to see what my friends/family/colleagues are doing). I don't have any particular websites that I simply can't get enough of, and I'm usually not doing anything important. I'm not even always online.

But I am always awake. (When I am stressed, as I am now, I am awake later, later, and later.) Last night, I made a vain attempt at going to bed a bit earlier than usual. I read, which I almost always do, and I finished the book. (James and the Giant Peach, which was funnier when I was a kid.) Then I laid there in bed, tossing, turning, staring at the ceiling, and thinking. I shoo'ed the kitten off me a couple dozen times, and I watched the clock tick. And I thought, and thought, and thought.

If it were constructive thinking, like, oh, about what I should write in my next blog, or how I can resolve some of my story issues, I wouldn't mind it so much. But I tend to think really ridiculous thoughts while I'm waiting for sleep. Like, what if I can't fall asleep all night but can't stay awake at my meeting in the morning? Will I get fired? How long would it take them to fire me? How would they fire me, on the phone or in person? What would I wear to that meeting, knowing that I could be getting fired? Should I wear something that would be comfortable to sleep in? Or should I wear something uncomfortable so I won't fall asleep and therefore won't get fired? What's the best way to wear my hair when I'm getting fired? Up, or down?

I tend to worry and make lists in my head that I can't remember the next day. Oh, that can drive a person insane... 'I know there was something else on my list last night, but darn it! I fell asleep and forgot it. I should have just stayed awake so I wouldn't forget it.' I used to work nights, so I live under the delusion that I can stay awake as long as I please. I can stay awake forever, if I want to. (The longest I've stayed awake was about 40 hours in a row.)

I think I'm an awake-aholic. I just like to be awake. I have always adapted poorly to change, so this is probably an extension of that personality disorder (of which I have many). I hate going from being awake to being asleep. Yet, since we're talking about sleep, I love it. I love to sleep... sleep for hours and hours and hours. Nine hours of sleep... ah, I love those morning dreams that I have (the only dreams that I remember). Sleep is wonderful. I could also be a sleep-aholic. I hate to wake up.

Maybe I'm not addicted to either sleep or awakeness.
Maybe I'm just change-aphobic.


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