I used to struggle with terrible insomnia. And I would try a whole host of things to get over it. Things like cutting out caffeine from my diet entirely (even avoiding things like chocolate due to the small amounts in there) to taking melatonin pills, to running, to staying out partying all night. Nothing worked. Ultimately, my options at night would either be to toss and turn in bed for however long I laid there, or get up and do something outside of the bed…generally sitting in front of the TV watching something completely pointless.
As I got older and recognized that my father and his mother both suffered from similar tribulations, although my father had taken on more of a night owl persona than allowing himself to truly be an insomniac, I began to just roll with it, allowing myself to go for weeks on end without sleeping until finally my entire body would crash and I would have a day where I would just go completely comatose, for up to 20 hours.
It wasn’t healthy. I knew it then, I definitely know it now.
I’ve mentioned this once or twice on here that it wasn’t until I began writing on a regular basis that I found myself actually getting to sleep (and staying asleep) on a much more normal-person-styled schedule. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for me to pass out before midnight on a very very regular basis…
Something about the creative process actually allowed my brain to shut off during the times of day a brain should be shut off. Perhaps it’s just that I was using my brain to a much larger capacity than it would be used on a standard work day? I really have no clue, I just know that my insomnia was fixed by writing, by allowing all those wayward thoughts and ideas to be pinned down somewhere, instead of haunting me in the middle of the night.
But here’s the thing…as I had become more and more accustomed to insomnia, I had also become more and more accustomed to the longer length of my days. Instead of just sitting in front of a TV watching something I considered pointless, I had added in new routines, such as reading books, playing video games, hanging out with friends, cleaning the house, organizing computer items, fixing things, late night early Christmas shopping…the list honestly could go on for a while. I don’t really like being non-productive, so I had found ways to make my insomnia productive. Now that I sleep…those extra hours of productivity are lost, meaning that now that I sleep, I’m actually much more busy during the day, meaning that I actually find myself getting more stressed out, meaning that I’m actually, quite possibly, more tired now that I sleep more regularly than I was when I was spending most of the night awake.
Honestly, a large part of this has to do with the specific phase of my life I’m currently in, where I’m working quite dedicatedly toward crafting a new career for myself, while also attempting to be the best dad ever, while also doing the actual job that pays me, and attempting to still be a worthwhile husband (I’ll be the first to admit that my husbandly duties fail quite often). There’s a whole bunch of other items that go in there, but let’s just say that I’m at that awkward middle-aged portion of life where everything is trying to happen at once…and I’m just not entirely certain how to fit it all in. So…comparing today’s stress and exhaustion levels to those of the days where all I really had to do was go into work for a few hours at a job that had minimal things to do before I got home and played some video games before going out with some friends…well, that’s really not fair.
Of course…none of this is actually all that applicable today anyways. Because I have a newborn.
It’s amazing how much having a newborn effects your life. I remember awaiting the birth of our first child, and preparing for it. It felt, at times, almost like we were preparing for some crazy armageddon-type deal where we needed to make sure we had enough food and supplies to last for a month. The amount of people who would arrive to ensure we were prepared was overwhelming and crazy. We were probably a little over-prepared, but it was nice, and ensured that we had a relatively comfortable transition to becoming parents.
Onto our third, the amount of preparation was probably halved from that of the first (partially because we had a couple weeks less to plan than we had planned). The amount of help available has also been greatly decreased (which, to be honest, I think the amount of help needed is probably greatly increased with the additional two who need attention). But, we’re pros. It actually hasn’t been that bad.
But here’s the thing…having a new baby around the house…it kind of makes me miss my insomnia…
Alright, that’s enough nostalgia for today. Have fun out there!
Babies make me miss insomnia sometimes…