FRESH GIGGLES Insomnia, right?! Bridey Elliott

It’s 4.30am and I have been awake since about 2.30am. “Doing what?”, I suppose you are internally questioning. The answer is just some good old fashioned, homegrown tossing and turning. Now onto your next burning query: “Why are you tossing and turning?” To be blunt, my fine fellow or handsome lady, I don’t know. Ya ever get that way?

As a teen, insomnia was just as much apart of my life as MTV and taking cry baths. (“Cry baths” is a term I use to describe baths in which I cry a lot.) I accepted going to high school on little to no sleep, even preferred the dazed and aloof consciousness to the alert and able to function one. Everyone has their “things” in high school and for me I was all about the “can’t sleep” trend. I was also really into this goth kid with a lip ring. (Figure THAT one out, Therapist!) I’d be in bed for nine hours straight just lying, thinking and feeling anxious as all hell. I tried everything – lavender incense, reading, sugar-free Jell-O, taking pictures of myself on my computer, anorexia – NOTHING WORKED! After my attempts proved futile, I finally got on medication that conked me out like a vegetable at nine pm. I arose from this deep death-sleep even more of a zombie than I had been without sleep. However, after awhile the medication balanced out and all was right in my dark, hormonal, teenage world.

At that point in my life, I chalked up insomnia to some kind of huge dramatic void I was facing in my life. A void that could not be fixed by  talking on the phone to my high school boyfriend, dozing off to light music or being lulled to sleep by porn on HBO. I felt what I was experiencing was in huge part due to a foreboding future. A lot of my time in high school was spent telling myself that I could not succeed and that my failure was one tangible fate I could hold on to. It was comfortable to depend on this neurosis that kept me anti-social and depressed. I felt as though my “big dreams” were just that: “big dreams” that I could never really expect to achieve.

Being young is hard. It’s a scary world for kids and there is so much emphasis placed on “doing it while you’re young” but we’re all such vulnerable puppies that put way too much pressure on ourselves. I am so constipated from all the pressure, you know? My response to this innate fear in high school was, “I am failure and I shouldn’t even try.” You’re probably thinking, “Very defeatist attitude, little lady. Here, have some ham.” Thank you for the ham, but I do think it’s important for us to remember all the pressures placed on kids (teens, young adults, what have you) to figure out their lives FAST and SUCCEED at it. What about screwing up, failing and learning from it? Can’t we hear more stories about that?  Isn’t that what being young is? Oh, so now you’re “actually saving the ham for later”? What happened? I want ham now! Come on, you made me hungry!

I am only now understanding that it is okay to fail at whatever the hell you want! I don’t care if it’s crochet or strip poker! It’s all about taking the risk. I am still awake and it’s 5am now. I think I wrote this to remind myself of that. I shouldn’t crunch my goals out of fear or pressure. It’s all in my bloated, itchy skull! There’s nothing for us to worry about! Also, this wasn’t meant to be inspirational or enjoyable. No, it was. Yes, no. Yes, no! Okay, come on, sleep. I’ll race ya!

Image via therapistschools.com

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  1. I can totally relate to this! I just graduated from High School, and after four years of AP class homework until 1 or 2 in the morning, I can’t sleep at night! There was so much pressure to do all of this stuff, and be this happy peppy A plus person, but how are you supposed to do that without sleep? It’s a Catch-22. Thanks for a wonderful story!

  2. I enjoyed reading this post very much! It was inspirational and I can definitely relate! Thank you! <3

  3. This hit the nail right on the head for me. Thank you for this!

  4. Aside from actually getting drugs to knock me out (unless you count tylenol PM, which i still use occasionally), this could have been word for word written by me. Except the ham… Not much of a pork eater.

    Anyway. Thanks!

  5. Thank you for this. I’ve had insomnia and I’m a (fluorescent) adolescent, so I know what you mean by everyone pressuring teens and young adults to figure things out quickly and it seems like there’s no room for failure.

  6. Great post. I used to have insomnia as well. I didn’t really sleep in 2009 or in 2010.. I’ll be 22 next month and things are looking brighter now. I actually sleep at night, most nights anyway. Thank you for sharing!

  7. LoL, awesome read!

  8. I too suffered from severe insomnia in my early teens, and then last week it started again. Thanks for posting this.

  9. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!! (sorry,I could really relate and I was excited to say thank you)…I suffer from insomnia as well and I do think a lot of times that I’ll never be able to achieve my dreams,but I always find encouraging pieces here at HG. My mother is putting a lot of pressure on me too to figure out my life and do it FAST (I’m sorry mom but I wasted 6 years of my life in a career I didn’t like all because you and dad wanted me to study a career -any career- asap)…I’m so glad to find reassuring pieces like this and to know I’m not alone in this. I will chase my dreams and make them true.
    Again,THANK YOU! :)