On Not Sleeping

I have not been able to get out of bed since August.

I’ve had insomnia for years, and fatigue forever, but it was August when I stopped working full time and consequently fell into this hazy, open space. Freelancing allows for my situation; for that I am grateful.

But I am still searching for the reason I have been so tired lately, so needy for my bed that when I am out and away from it, living, I fantasize about the sleep I so rarely get.

I suppose it started with the medicines I take, how awful the prednisone is. It certainly has to do with my illness, how so much of my time in bed is spent rocking back and forth in silent pain. It has to do with how much water I drink and how that lends itself to waking from a dream to pee and then padding, barefoot, back to my bed, where the dim light of my computer on the bed stand appeals to me, if only just to check the time.

But once the glow has captured me, my brain repsonds to the light and I have checked Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, nymag.com, the Times and looked at an entire photo album of a long-forgotten friend’s baby. I am tempted to leave comments here, at this time, 4 in the morning. I ‘like’ things instead, my brain fully jolted awake but my fingers unwilling to type, to write, to make use of this time.

So many of my nights lay in this vast wasteland of time that does not really seem to matter or count because I am not doing much. I read sometimes, articles and beautifully rendered essays recommended by the writers and friends on Twitter. I have at least ten open tabs with stories willing to be read, but most of the time I am too tired to do that.

It is easier to click like than it is to comment and it’s easier to watch three hours of 30 Rock than it is to read something I should read, because it is right and plus, everyone else has.

My days are lost too, now. I sleep but not until the morning sun has invaded my room, lighting up my bed, its tangled sheets proof of my kicking and flailing in my sleep. The pain is easier in my sleep, but it all leads to here, this consciousness that does not fade until seven or eight am. And so I sleep until mid-afternoon.

I’ve been called lazy but this is not just laziness, not all of the time. I wish it was just that, because that, perhaps, is easier to fix.

But I am sick, and I have proof of that to show you, if you wish. I don’t want to show anyone, or explain blood tests and what having lupus and missing a thyroid will do to you. I’m tired of explaining this to people who should know better, and I’m tired of not being the person I want to be, the person who reads more and drinks in moderation. The person who somehow says less and in doing that, says more. I want to be her, the best version of me, the me I am sure is possible, with some coffee and some self-awareness...

But first, I’d really like some sleep.


  1. Oh dear, I do hope you get some rest soon.

    Such lovely writing, though.

  2. were we separated at birth because you've just scooped out my thoughts and splattered them to page...i was far too tired to do so..thanks.

  3. Do you take your prednisone first thing in the morning? I was taking mine in the evening for the longest time and had the worst insomnia. My pharmacist told me I should be taking it first thing in the morning to allow the drugs enough time to work through your system. Apparently they're an "upper" and can give you lots of energy(they only gave me energy to eat more). If that doesn't work my doctor suggested gravol because it's a non-addictive sleep aid. I hope you get some sleep soon!

  4. I stumbled upon this thru Girls Guide. I write for the 'sister' site STLfamilylife.com. It caught my attn because I have insomnia, and have for all of my 45 yrs. I don't suffer in pain, and my insomnia is that I wake up frequently (up to 200 times per night apparently, according to sleep tests). Even though I am always tired, I cannot imagine how much more difficult your situation is with pain involved. Maybe I need to complain less. Thanks for that reminder. And I am sorry...even tho strangers, I can relate. You are not alone.