sleeplessness - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The usefulness of my thoughts evaporated sometime ago yet my mind churns on in the darkness like a runaway motor. When I start trying to do math with curry in my head that I know things are bad. This sleeplessness is my torture. While the rest of the world embraces their dreams, their eight hours of rest, I toss and turn chasing the white rabbit. He has my dreams in his pocket and a letter from my boss. A train horn honks in the background and the bed shakes. A train. Something from the real world. Soon my mind is back on work, deadlines and office gossip. The rabbit is back, he says there is a tea party ahead but all the food is gone. A door slams down the corridor and a woman is shouting at a man. My eyes open and dart to the clock. It's two thirty in the morning. Outside someone falls over the dustbins, sending the metal-lid clattering to the sidewalk. My heart is thumping out of my chest. It must be that man leaving but in seconds I'm at the curtains, looking, wide eyed...
In the ten hours I've been in bed I must have woken up six times. Not for that long each time, but enough to break my sleep into un-refreshing chunks. With every disturbance there is a new nightmare. I've cheated on my husband and he leaves. My son is injured. I lost my job. The house is burning and I can't dowse it. I'm running for the bus but it's pulling away already. The car is sliding on black ice. Then my bedroom is light and my mind is moving faster than my three year old can speak, like it's stuck on fast forward and the volume is jammed right up. I want to wash my brain in cold water, chill the whole thing right out but I can't. I want a coffee but the caffeine will put me over the edge. I'm out the house in minutes, half way to the office before I remember breakfast, my cell phone and the Christmas cards I was supposed to send.
Sleeplessness was just part of the job. On Lucy's first night shift she had already been awake the entire day with her young children. On a good night she could snatch a few hours of shut-eye but often there were the new admissions to deal with: the interviews and the paperwork. Other times a patient would scream all night and wake the entire ward making it a see of zombified patients all still dosed on their night medications. After more than twenty-four hours awake her body demanded sleep but once she opened the front door her husband would kiss her and leave for his work in the city. There were breakfasts to be made, lunches too, the kids to dress and take to nursery. By nine am she would be back, putting in laundry, making beds and planning dinner. By ten am she was too tired to think and sank fully clothed into bed. Thirty minutes later a door slammed. Twenty minutes latter a man hollered on the street. Ten minutes later the phone rang - her mother - feeling lonely...
Every night is a futile tussle of conflicting thoughts. I don't want to sleep, not yet. I just spent fourteen hours working and I'm not ready to wake in the morning to rinse and repeat. My second voice chastises me, the longer I lie in that bed the more chance of sleep I have and the better tomorrow will be. But I know that between now and the return of daylight are my zombie hours- when I am mostly awake but dozing in fitful spurts. Six hours will feel like sixty yet I'll rise as if it was less than ten minutes of down time, just as exhausted as I am now. Then I'll put on the wrong clothes, leave the milk on the counter and realize my car keys are missing. I can't be the only one with this sleeplessness. I wonder if humans have always been this way or if it's part of the price we pay for our modern lifestyles. Either way it sucks; "tired until I retire," now there's a slogan to see me through the next two decades.
The only things that can save me from the demons of my tomorrow is sleep. A rested mind will have the sharpness to make the kind of decisions that could be the difference between promotion and being fired. In my youth I was the kind of person who slept all night and well into the morning, irking my mother no end. In my twenties I was up with the call of my alarm, reluctant and sleep-drunk. Now I cannot make it past three a.m. After a tumultuous few hours of vivid disaster-fuelled dreaming I am more awake than if a gunshot was fired by my ears. Commonly I remain in the inkiness, willing myself to return to sleep, unpleasant though it is. But I cannot. I can lie still, becoming more irate at my sleeplessness, or I can rise and start my day. I get a lot done before the sunrise: exercise, food preparation, cleaning. My personal organization is the envy of my friends; but I'd give it all away to slumber until breakfast.
In my sleeplessness I am drunk on silence. For hours it has seeped into my pores, dowsing my mind in its thick toxicity. The usefulness of my thoughts left long ago, leaving these fatigued neurones to fire almost randomly- flailing without direction. I want so much to not to think at all, I want to be absorbed into the darkness that the night promised me hours ago. I want to be waking refreshed to streaming white daylight, unaware of the hours between then and now. But as usual my wishes mean nought and behind these closed lids the idiocy continues.
There is a tenseness to my muscles that makes me more like a mannequin on this soft mattress than a woman of flesh and bone. I want so much to melt onto the soft foam, wrapped in eider-down, and drift into the world of dreams. Yet my brain is a violent whirl of stupidity, trying to organize the chaos in my life. It seeks to discover a way to control the capriciousness of people, to acquiesce and please them so that our encounters are softer, less draining. Of course the task is pointless, life is far too random for a human brain to take the billions of factors that come together to form just one day for one person. Though my conscious brain knows all this by subconscious remains stubborn in its attempts to protect me, to ensure my survival. Ironic really, what I really need to survive tomorrow is sleep, at lease six hours would be nice. But for that to happen I will have to be out in less than five minutes and not even the double of vodka I just downed can do that.
Even when I drift off the trauma to my brain is worse than being awake. I see him all over, coming to my bed, hands around my throat to prevent screaming. Often times I can change it to something new, a confusing carousel of people with no good intention, invading my house. Then I'm awake again, breathing hard. How can I drift off to some peaceful slumber when all it does is unlock the doors my demons hide behind? I envy those who sleep with the peace of never harmed children, pure and innocent as they should be. Every night for me is a battle of sleeplessness, a torment that must be endured rather than a rest to be savoured.