En garde – sort of: My Battle with Insomnia


Here’s yet another case of me – not doing something I’m supposed to do.

You might think I have a preoccupation with sleeping, given the fact that sleep is the subject of several of my essays.  Well, it’s probably a case of “the grass is greener,” or wanting what you don’t have, can’t have, or wish you had.

Sleep at night – every night.

Trying to force sleep.

Consciously letting this day recede into the past, and enter a tranquil present.

Trying to force breath through my nose when my nostrils are solidly clamped down in an allergy-suppressed sit-in of sorts. I try another approach, as if there is another way to breathe. That, having failed, I breathe a little through my mouth, at risk of self-labeling – “mouth-breather.”

What was that “twitch” in my right forearm? Spasm? Always alert to signs of Parkinson’s.

Restless legs – unsettled.

The atmosphere isn’t right. It’s too cold with the fan on but too still with it off – stifling. Covers up to my chin one minute and thrown off as enemies; or thrown over like a discarded beau, the next. Tank top feels just right one minute and peel it up and fan myself with it the next. Night sweats compete for attention with the humidifier – allergy-reliever, at my head.

Which position? Fetal cuddle is my favorite to get started but never for the long haul. On my back is the keeper but not the starting point.   Sometimes – like this time, neither works.

Mantra: sleep, sleep, sleep . . . nothing.

Right fetal cuddle again, covers to chin. Too warm. Throw off the covers. Repeat.   Stop it and decide, Ms. Goldilocks.

Eyes tear up and spill over, burning a little. Open mouth breathing – drool a little. I hate a wet pillow.

Adjust legs so that they aren’t right on top of each other.   Why are my knees so bony?   Overlapping, slightly ajar. Twist ankles into a pretzel, pastry knot.

Read a while. Too tired to read. Very sleepy.   Try again.

Why don’t I drink? From the looks of social media, everyone else drinks, especially wine, especially women.

Tried raiding my baking liqueur stash, mixing a little Kahlua with half a slim-fast chocolate shake; tasty, but didn’t induce sleep.

Random thoughts leaping across genres.

Wiggling feet, ankles-wrapped. Legs moving at the knee, as if on hinges.

Mantra again: sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. Did this ever work?

Nope. Word-find puzzles. Too tired to continue for long.

My heart thumps in my back, then in my arm pit. Very body conscious. My heart flutters in my chest, thumps in my throat and in my arm – under the floor boards of my body, a la Edgar Allan Poe.

Insomnia feels like a big waste of time. Spending time frivolously. Misusing time, somehow.

Insomnia is a reminder that I should be sleeping but I’m not.   Is it defiance? Or rebellion?

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