Sleep is a gift. A time when your body rejuvenates itself. It repairs and fills itself with energy and all sorts of good things. Lack of sleep causes cognitive issues, memory problems, mood disorders. As things progressed in the wrong direction, I also began a journey of no sleep. I knew my body was tired, but it refused to shut down. My mind raced like there was a prize at the finish line. Interesting side note here, when I closed my eyes an amazing thing happened. I’m pretty sure because of the drugs, I saw beautiful colors. Sometimes also flashes of light, but mostly colors. They were beautiful. They were like cracks with waterfalls dropping in a rainbow of color. At the time, I am not sure I found them entertaining, more concerning. Still I have to say when I finally weaned off the last of my meds, I missed them. But I digress.
When you don’t sleep, among these other issues, your nerve endings get pretty frayed. So I was super sensitive to noise. With a house full of kids, noise is constant. After not sleeping all night I would make my way out to the couch. Our kitchen opens up to a beamed dining room and a couple steps down, to a living room. That couch was often my home. But as I lay there, any sound such as a drawer closing, grated on my nerves. Silence was almost as painful. Because with silence came thoughts. And those thoughts were filled with fear.
It was clear that the lack of sleep wasn’t working so we made this a top priority. Did whatever we had to do to sleep. I wish someone had told me that sooner. We were working so many different angles, but sleep needed to be addressed before anything else would work. There are a lot of options out there. Some good viable ones, some not so helpful. Eventually we found a cocktail of sorts (non-alcoholic, mind you) that worked. Kind of. I am not opposed to medications, but you have to be careful. What we found is what worked for some people didn’t for others. And what worked one day, may not the next week. There was some experimenting. Sleepless nights are like a prison. Ask anyone who struggles with insomnia of any sort. As the evening approaches it can trigger anxiety in and of itself with the anticipation of another sleepless night. Bedtime becomes a place of isolation and dread. The night is lonely. As you wait like the prodigal’s father for the child that doesn’t appear.
One recommendation which was really hard was having my husband sleep in another room. Any time he would move or get up (should I have, by the grace of God, drifted off) it would wake me. Early mornings when he would shower, the sound brought me back to reality. And reality wasn’t a place I wanted to be. When sleep did come it was a gift, an escape. So we tried this alternative for several weeks. It was lonely, but honestly we felt necessary. It’s kind of crazy what you are willing to do when you are desperate. I would use ear plugs, face masks, white noise.
Many nights I just would lie there. I didn’t have enough to gather of myself to have meaningful thoughts. Mostly disjointed and worthless thoughts. Now when I don’t sleep its because I’m thinking about something of significance. Something in the future, sometimes even exciting and good things. Then, it was just sleep. Wondering when it might come. Why it had abandon me. What would happen if I never slept again. How long? How long would it be like this? And where or where is God in it all? He was silent.