Not everyone knows this about me, but I have insomnia. It first started right about the time we arrived in PNG and began our language study in 2015, and it has been going strong ever since.
Now, I know that correlation does not equal causation, but I am a Millennial, and have an inherent need to blame my troubles on some outer, unchangeable, aspect of life. So, I think my condition is probably due to “stress in the workplace.” My workplace, of course, being a remote jungle village.
I’ve tried essential oils (again, because I’m a Millennial). I’ve tried melatonin & a few other over-the-counter supplements. I’m even on a prescription medication for it now. And yet, here I am, at 3:40 AM on a Saturday night, writing a blog post that has almost no consequential significance to anything.
Since my alternative option is to lay in bed staring at the ceiling, having an internal conversation with myself like a crazy person (like I have the last three nights), I thought I’d go with this route instead. Even mentally unstable people crave variety.
Before I was cursed with this little affliction, I didn’t really get how insomnia worked. “What do you mean you can’t sleep?” I used to think. “Just close your eyes and…you know…sleep.” How naïve I was. Oh, how I long for those ignorantly blissful days when I actually had control over my basic cognitive faculties. Those were the good ol’ days (or, rather, good ol’ nights).
Now, however, my nightly routine is more-or-less a toss-up. Some nights, I take my meds, and am able to have something at least a little bit similar to a “good night’s sleep.” Other nights, like this one, I take my meds, zonk out, and then open my eyes again at some god-forsaken hour of the night and discover that my sleep cycle has been hijacked by a manic little gnome in my brain (I imagine him to have wild “Einstein” hair and to be wearing an uncinched straight-jacket.). Somehow, he has gotten his hands on the controls and will not give them up.
It is a very bizarre experience to argue with my own consciousness in the middle of the night. And it is only made more so by the fact that I consistently LOSE THE ARGUMENT. Here is a short sample of tonight’s exchange:
Seth: “Oh, stink. It’s still dark out. Why do I feel so awake suddenly?”
Crazy Gnome: “Because, buddy-boy, we’ve got THINGS TO THINK ABOUT! Lots and lots of THINGS!”
Seth: “No. Not tonight. I already dealt with you LAST night. There is nothing that needs my attention right now. I need sleep.”
Crazy Gnome: “Sleep? SLEEP?! Are you KIDDING? Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!! No, we’re not going to SLEEP! We’re going to watch mental replays of that Scott Sterling video, where the guy gets hit in the face with the soccer ball over and over!”
Seth: “But that’s stupid. That has no relevance to anything, and I have a busy day tomorrow. Stop it.”
Crazy Gnome: “Ha-Ha-Ha!! Whamo! Right in the kisser! Now THAT’S entertainment! What if they did a parody of this with other sports? Like golf! What if they had him get hit in the head with golf balls?!”
Seth: “This is ludicrous. It’s late. Go away. Besides, that’s a dumb idea. Golf wouldn’t provide enough opportunities for head shots.”
Crazy Gnome: “No, No, I think we could make this work! OK, first he could get hit in the head by the initial tee-off, then, let’s see…then…Oh! I’ve got it! A putt goes severely wrong and…”
Seth: “BE QUIET!! IT IS 3:30 AM!!”
Crazy Gnome: “OK, OK, forget golf. You’re right, that was a lame idea. What about…Curling!”
Seth: “You mean the Canadian thing? That’s not a sport.”
Crazy Gnome: “I know, right?! They’re like, ‘Oh, you know what would be fun, eh? Let’s go bowling, eh? But let’s not knock anything down, eh? Instead, we’ll just slide a big rock on the ice and see if we can make it stop before it gets to the end of the track!’”
Seth: “Alright. I’m ignoring you now.”
Crazy Gnome: “Oh no you’re not! Ha-Ha-Ha! We’ve got WAY MORE STUFF TO TALK ABOUT!!”
Seth: “But I’m going to be so tired tomorrow…”
Crazy Gnome: “Who cares?! Not me!! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha! Now, have I told you about which super powers I would pick if I were ever given the option?”
Seth: “That’s it. I’m getting up. I hate you, by the way.”
Crazy Gnome: “See you tomorrow night!”
So, there you have it. You are now caught up to the present. If this night follows the normal pattern of events, then the little crazy gnome lingers around for a few hours, hoping I’ll try to go back to sleep, and then wanders off about an hour before it is time to wake up. It is not what we would call “an ideal situation.”
For those readers who are in the States, I usually go to bed around the same time you are having your breakfast in the morning (time-zones, and all that). If you were to happen to say a little prayer for me around that time, that I wouldn’t be visited by my little “friend,” I would really appreciate it. He is, quite literally, an exhausting personality..