I hate something about most of you, or, at the very least, I'm jealous of something you have that most of you take for granted. You sleep. Every night. It's a given. Most of you will never know four or five consecutive nights of sleeplessness as a constant in your life. Most of you are pretty secure in the knowledge that you will most likely have a decent night's sleep tonight.
I'm not. I don't have that certainty. I never have, and, unless something miraculously alters my neurological state, I most likely never will.
KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.Yes, it's a big yawn, considering sleeplessness, and more lies below the Itzl.
To never have the certainty of a good night's sleep is a perpetually uncomfortable state. One night's good sleep will leave me rested and refreshed about once every month or so. The rest of the time passes as though I'm a member of the Night of the Living Dead. I move zombie-like through most of my days, the hangover of perpetual exhaustion constantly dogging my steps.
Education? Couldn't sleep, couldn't attend classes, couldn't maintain a consistent social life because of ongoing tiredness. Jobs? Eventually the insomnia monster made me late one time over my employer's tolerance level, no matter how stellar my job performance. Online? You might have noted my sporadic attention in diaries, posts and commentaries. Sometimes I'm here and alert, sometimes I'm not.
I live a sort of half-life. Life is always filled with the uncertainty of whether or not I will feel adequately rested from day to day to accomplish much of anything within a given time span. Appointments at specific times are a particular hell because I'm almost a different person on days when I'm rested than days when I'm not.
A few years ago one of the endless physicians who have evaluated my neurological state mercifully granted me a prescription for temazepam, a Valium relative that slows my hyperactive, PTSD-laden consciousness to a point where I can usually sleep. The temazepam is accompanied by a hefty dose of the herb valerian, and the hormone melatonin. Without them, even the temazepam won't give me a decent night's rest.
The side effects of my nightly cocktail are a perpetual state of semi-disorientation. Since using the drug, I have noted a certain level of cognitive decline. My attention is less sharp and focused than before I started taking a benzodiazepam. The positive result is that I do sleep enough most nights to be relatively functional during the day. But I miss those few days, prior to taking the drug, when I was truly rested and had full access to my own un-drugged brain. Post-drug, I feel the drug effect throughout the day, and know I have given over part of my intellect in order to be able to sleep.
An abusive childhood lends a psychological component to my insomnia. Coupled with EEG/brainwave irregularities, this causes me to live with a perfect storm of conditions for chronic sleeplessness. Many days I simply yawn my way throughout the day, I'm so tired.
Insomnia, like fibromyalgia and other 'invisible' disorders, is something that can't be seen. For those of you who have a sleep disorder, or who have undergone extended periods of sleep interruption, or who have one of the invisible disorders, I have lots of sympathy. Like pain, there are few visible signs. But the suffering can be extensive and ongoing.
Hopefully, by sharing our experiences with our disabilities in a forum like this, we can create more acceptance and understanding of the conditions we live with. If I have ever made an unusually over-the-top or misinformed comment in a response to you, it most likely is because I'm tired and not thinking too clearly. It is never my intention to offend or put anyone down, but sometimes the wrong words slip out.
I was probably yawning as I typed.