Saturday, June 4, 2011

Endless Days

I guess I was fourteen or so when it started. Insomnia. I didn't know the word for what I was going through. I only knew I couldn't sleep. Hours lying in bed, masturbating and waiting for the world to shut down. It never did. The mornings were the worst, though. Waking up after just dozing off and then trying to make it through school and football and the after-school job. Rinse, repeat.

Then you get used to it, can't live life without it. The grogginess. Alternatives- suck down that Dimetapp. The world is so much easier in grape flavored slow motion.

I look back on those years and see the decline.

Over the past twenty-five years I've played a hard game of tag with insomnia and all which goes with it. Your mind plays tricks on you. Paranoia bumps you. Anxiety kicks you in the nuts.

The frustration shifts into overdrive.

For years I've done everything they tell you to do: eat right, become an exercise freak, cut down on the booze and coffee. Nothing helps. Melatonin is a joke. Dropping Ambien works one night and screws you the next.

Fast forward. The cycle continues. This morning I woke up from zero sleep- three nights in a row. Scratchy eyed. Sloppy food tastes soooo gooood. I don't want to do anything, but go to work early. Making it through the day...take two slugs of Nyquil and try to be productive- that's how it feels.

Adrenaline spikes. Every day I run a mile to the fitness course, scream through hairy obstacles twice and then hump it back- sweat out the bad juice. Pumped. Hard muscle- earned. The heat and humidity down here right now is suffocating and I look like I've been through a water boarding session. I get the high for a few hours and then the bottom falls out. I'm swimming in quick sand.

So what's it all about? Taking what one can get from the hell one is in. Along the way a sort of dreamy existence takes over. Little fucked up head trips. You glide through the daily grind because you just don't care. One goes from a drone to a fountain of pure, crystalline creativity. You fly.

Will night number four catch me in a naked choke?

I sit here banging the keyboard. Words assimilate. Phrases into sentences. Print that thing out, mark it with ink: Wrong. Wrong. Right! Life falls back into place, better than before.

And I understand.

Stay chill.


  1. "Hours lying in bed masturbating..."

    I've had insomnia since I was eleven but the doctor wouldn't listen to me!

    I manage on about 4 hours of "broken" sleep, usually caused by napping on the couch before bed, carpal tunnel (pins and needles/numb hands due to my job. RSI) and then the kids playing musical beds!

    I can't begin to understand what you go through, mate. All I can say is that you must have taken the condition by the throat and fought it as best you could, then poured it onto your keyboard and turned it into quality writing. Keep fighting it, Mike. You know where I am if you want to vent any frustrations into an email.

    Have a great day, my friend.

    Best to you and your family!

  2. "I've had insomnia since I was eleven but the doctor wouldn't listen to me!"

    Ha! You are one of the funniest bastards I know- made my day!

    With your tough job and family life, you definitely understand. So do many others; we've all got our little hangups. And as much as not getting sleep for nights in a row blows, I couldn't imagine trying to function on 4 hours every night, night after night.

    Carpal tunnel is some nasty stuff. I hope you're doing something for it?

    You're the best, man. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Mike,

    It gets worse gunny. The older you get the shorter the sleep...after that lighthearted news, been meaning to ask you...Semper Fi?


  4. Insomnia totally sucks. I'm convinced I had ADD as a kid, and have ADHD now. I average about 4 hours of sleep a night, and can get by on it, but there always comes a time when I crash big time. My brain always feels like it is on overdrive and sometimes I think that is why I like writing so much. I know it's time for a break when I'm staring at the cold and hot water knobs and can't remember which one is which. Hope you can get some rest Mike!

  5. Hi Jim- Never served, but feel it's one of the disappointments of my life. My dad was in Vietnam (Air Force) and he says I didn't miss much. And I'll be clear on this: anything I go through will never amount to what our boys went and go through. Highest respect. Sounds like you were in the Corps, though? And again, great work on Severence. Interested to hear your process on Patti's blog.

    Hi Sean- You guys who can get by on 4 hours a night are phenomenal. Especially those of you with families. My wife and I don't have kids (don't ask)and I always try to put things in perspective when I'm having a tough time of it. You guys with families...I'm in awe of how well you guys cope. And the water knobs...ouch!
    By the way, what kind of workouts do you usually do?

    Thanks for stopping by, guys.

  6. I play indoor and outdoor lacrosse year round and at the gym it's typical body building stuff: arms/chest, shoulders/back, legs/abs.