Insidious Insomnia

I‘ve had insomnia ever since I can remember.  No matter how weary, how tired, how strung out, how exhausted I was, as soon as my head hit the pillow, my eyes would clap open and stare, as big as saucers and my “cogwheels” as my mother called them, would be fully awake and working, working out daily and/or metaphysical problems which no-one could solve but God. The size and importance of them is, I see now and saw then, a playing with time, a pastime which I’d never asked for and begged for years to be released from.  Insomnia is a waking nightmare; the darkness visible; eyes wide open in the dark–and it’s incurable.  It’s impossible to trick insomnia, to bypass it, or to coax it into an acceptance or obedience to the nocturnal need to close one’s eyes comfortably in the dark (the sun gone walkabout somewhere under the equator)…  I found a humble mediocre, but effective, solution thirty years ago:  Sominex/Unisom.  This past week, for the first time in years, I forgot to replenish my stock, and after searching frantically–and I do mean frantically and obsessively–around the house for an extra pill, I couldn’t find one, not one; the one thing that, once it kicked in, could put me to sleep in the way that others fall to sleep:  gently, completely, with a slight, not worrisome, sigh.  That night was a nightmare without the benefit of knowing that, like all dreams, it would have an end.  There is no end to insomnia because, as night follows the day, it is always there, always a repeated event in the 24-hour experience.  I’d meant to call this post “Incipient Insomnia” but that’s an oxymoron:  the onset (incipience) of anything cannot describe the onset of insomnia which, by definition, is the lack of something; the lack of sleep, of rest, of a REM-filled repose.  Insomnia is a lack, a gap, a lacuna where there should be SOME-thing…not nothing….so the onset of insomnia is the incipience of a void–and nature abhors a vacuum.

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