Alistair woke us up at just before six this morning puking on the bedspread. (It's worth clarifying here that Allie is our cat, not some friend or neighbor with appalling manners and a key to our home.) Playing embarrassingly to type, he apparently got curious as to how much food he could fit in his belly. The answer? A startling amount, judging by the aftermath. No matter how much I tossed and turned, I couldn't get back to sleep, which is not a good thing for me. It doesn't mean I'm awake in anything more than the strictest physiological sense of the word. That is, my eyes are open, I'm alert enough to notice if someone tried to run me over with their car (probably), but my brain is mush and my limbs feel like they're suspended in jello. There's nothing worse than feeling sleepy and not being able to sleep.
Sleep doesn't come easily for me. There are few things I envy more than the ability to fall asleep quickly and stay that way. I don't know if I've ever had that ability -Â probably as a child - but I can't remember a time when sleep wasn't a problem. Fatigue coupled with insomnia is one of the cruel hallmarks of fibromyalgia. It's very chicken and the egg -- do I have trouble sleeping because of the pain in my neck or is the pain in my neck worse because I have trouble sleeping?
I require a whole bag of tricks to fall asleep at night - a prescription sleep aid, an ice pack for my neck, ear plugs to drown out the sounds that will jolt me awake. And even then, it'll take me a good hour to actually fall asleep. I see people who can close their eyes and drop off into La La Land and I'm absolutely baffled as to how they do it. I know people who can nap for twenty minutes and wake refreshed.
When I close my eyes, every thought in my head comes rushing forward. As I toss and turn to try to get more comfortable, I think about everything - from mistakes I made at my old job to what I'm going to do the next day. My mind stampedes, to borrow a phrase from writer Amy Hempel.
What do normal people do when they go to sleep? What happens when they close their eyes? How on earth do you make yourself achieve that state of relaxation? When I try to do that, I'm just really aware of the act of trying to relax and fall asleep. It's like I can't fool myself.
Sleep, it baffles me.