Never one for the melodrama (Oh, OK, sometimes one for the melodrama) I decided not to write about this particular thing that has been a part of my life for the last two months. But now, it has become so incessant, so present, so all-consuming that I can no longer ignore it. It is there and it is real. It is insomnia.
I simply cannot sleep.
It’s not that I am not being allowed to sleep, and honestly, it’s not that I don’t want to sleep. I just can’t. I struggle to fall to sleep, and once I do I manage a couple of hours, and then, bam! Sleep is forcibly ejected with the popping open of my eyelids. I lie in the dark thinking about whatever transcendental images had been floating, sometimes whizzing, through my head. This is inevitably disrupted when I cannot recall the beginning / end, and my thoughts begin to trail. At this point, my head is buzzing with all kinds of things, from trying to recall who, if anyone, I have spoken to that day, to humming the tune of the song I heard on the radio when I first woke up but struggling to remember any words, to whether I actually did put that load of washing on or did I just imagine it (or was that the dream I was having that I couldn’t actually recall?), to how many dirty nappies The Baby produced that day and whether or not I should be worried. I always am worried, whether I should be or otherwise, as this is what I do. I worry. I think, and I worry; I worry and I think. I worry about what I think. I think I worry too much.
And something that I think about more than anything else, as I lie in bed, unable to get comfortable, with the nightly soundtrack of teeth-grinding supplied on-loop by The Boyfriend, is the irony of this situation. The painful, comedic irony that my inability to sleep (something that has never been an issue before; pre-motherhood I was a never-less-than-ten-hours kinda gal when it came to sleep) started when The Baby learned to sleep through the night.
The excruciating, soul-destroying, anguish-inducing time that was The Sleep-Training Incident, enabled The Baby to realise that she could not only go for twelve hours without needing to be fed, cuddled or bounced around the room, but that she could do those twelve hours in her own cot in her own room. Should she wake, she could either have a chat with Winnie the Pooh or Bunny (which she often does), or she could realise it is still sleep-time and do just that. Which she always does. Eventually.
This same excruciating, soul-destroying, anguish-inducing time not only caused all of the above, but also induced an absolutely absurd need in me to check the baby monitor every five minutes. OK, maybe every hour. But a ridiculous and impractical amount of times throughout the night, borne of a fear that The Baby had stopped breathing / had silently vomited and choked to death / had been fatally consumed by hypothermia (our house is really very cold) / had slid through the cot bars, got trapped and had been garrotted, etc etc. You get the (gory and nonsensical) idea.
After several nights of visualising scenes that would put even Guillermo del Torro to shame, only to be greeted by a healthy, breathing, smiling Baby at dawn, my imagination soon settled down.
I remember, very vividly and with mounting envy, waking up on two occasions feeling groggy in an almost hungover-like state, through having too much sleep. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be presented with that opportunity again; to awaken to an inability to open my sleep-glued eyelids, an inability to speak in a voice dissimilar to Phyllis from Coronation Street (youngsters, Google her), and a guilty recognition that I did, indeed, crawl into bed twelve hours earlier. This did only occur twice, however, before the sleep-dodging constitution of my nights began to take shape.
And so here I am, yet again sleep-deprived, but newly with no-one to blame. I would dearly love to castigate The Boyfriend for the aforementioned teeth-grinding that plays over my inability to sleep like an ill-orchestrated, toe-curling theme tune. It is not his fault I am awake; it is very unfortunate that this vile noise is all I can focus on for several minutes while I wait for him to realise himself that he needs to stop it, before poking him in his back when it is blatantly clear he is oblivious to the fact that he is grinding his molars into a teeny-tiny replica of the Pyrenees, but once this is done he is silent again. And I am still awake. And aware of the fact that it was me and my thoughts that woke me, not The Boyfriend. Not The Baby, sleeping soundly, peacefully in her little nursery. Just me and my hectic brain. Maybe this is connected to depression. Maybe it’s connected to motherhood. Maybe it’s connected to blogging (I often think about what I can next write about / worry that I am not writing enough / wondering who would really care if I stopped writing / panic that I have not Tweeted or Facebooked or commented enough). Maybe it’s connected to age; I have heard tell that you need less sleep as you get older, and the fact that I still feel seventeen does not, to my dismay, make it so. Or maybe it’s just that I simply can’t sleep. And maybe (hopefully) it is just another phase that will soon pass.
And maybe, just maybe, the next phase will see me waking sleepy-eyed, Phyllis-esque and guilty from too much sleep.