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