Primary Insomnia

Primary insomnia is defined as a difficulty in getting to sleep, and it’s a new feature of my life. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, what time it is, what I’ve done that day. It only matters that I’m trying to go to sleep, and thus far I’m not managing it. Night after night. Hour upon hour. Racing thoughts, a blazing carousel of cognition that doesn’t shut off, considering, evaluating, rehashing; remorselessly flaring in the dark and keeping oblivion at bay.

Dramatic prose aside, I’ve thought like that all my life. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, from eating breakfast to having sex, there’s always a detached and logical monolouge muttering away in the background. Whilst thinking demanding tasks is distracting enough to not blot it out (such as playing intense sport, or learning interesting things), anything that doesn’t completely demand my full attention allows that background thread to the fore. Needless to say, lying in the dark with my head on a pillow does not exactly demand my full attention.

This is why I prefer action films to chick flicks. In an action film, you get what you see – shit! they’re falling from a building on to a huge piece of netting! Whoa! Now everything is exploding! Awesome! There is very rarely anything else to consider about these scenes – they are predictable and slightly mind-numbing and that’s rather nice, once in a while (read: often). You can focus completely on the outrageous intensity of the scene and life is good.* Chick flicks, on the other hand, are just as predictable but lack that obviousness that numbs the action films – you’re thinking about the characters and the next sentence and the anticipating the next semi-humourous line and blam! film finished and you never got that moments quiet. Worse still, you then analyze the damn thing afterwards and you’ve got double the trouble for your money. I digress.

I want to sleep when my head hits the pillow. I want to slow down, shut down, blank out, but I can’t.

It's pretty unprofessional to go in looking like someone just dragged you out of an opium den and yawning like a sloth as well.**

Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse for the next two months.

*Also, ever noticed that some of the best films are action films with a good plot? Inception, the Matrix, V for Vendetta, Fight Club, Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sure, there are plenty of awesome films from all walks of genre out there, but many of my favourites contain no small pieces of action (actually, there are so many good films from other genres out there this paragraph is basically invalid, but whatever).

**Do sloths yawn?

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4 responses to “Primary Insomnia

  1. I know you’re likely to be sceptical… but have you tried basic meditation techniques? They do work for me. Either that, or mentally ‘putting my thoughts into a bag, tying it up, and then chucking it out of the window’.

    • I have tried many things. Sadly, all of those things like the relaxing muscles from your toes up or trying to blank my mind or any similar exercise is outright flattened by the tide.

      Best practice at the moment is having something playing quietly but loud enough that I listen to it enough to distract myself. Trying to tire myself out works too but find it tough to motivate myself to run far enough to do so.

  2. It was very nice to read the woes of a similar like minded inner monologue suffer. I have that too but never thought to put it quite that way. I have also tried meditation, books, etc. But as I have aged I have found my insomnia will come and go for months at a time.

  3. S listens to audiobooks in bed sometimes. Or we drift off to the strains of a film we never really planned on watching to the end. Might work?

    To be honest though I’ve certainly had several weeks at a time where I sleep apallingly and can’t drift off in the first place. There comes a point where all I can say to myself is, on the upside I’m relaxing, in the dark, in bed. That has to be doing me some good, even if I’m not getting the sleep. And if that’s all you can get out of the situation, you make the best out of it.

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