I have to teach my weekly tutorial in five hours. I can’t sleep. Tutorials are routine, I’m not worried about them, but still I’m here, heart pounding and thoughts racing at 5:30 am. Granted, I did consume a prodigious amount of caffeine in an effort to alleviate stress and listlessness a few hours ago so I could finish up prepping my tutorial plans. Still, I feel cheated of sleep.
Beyond just putting words onscreen, I don’t have much of a goal in writing this other than one fear: I know that insomnia is a potent trigger for self-harm and other impulsive and harmful behaviours. Never, ever, do I feel more alone, more worthless, more isolated than when I’m deprived of sleep and dreading the next day’s coming responsibilities. My brain won’t let me sleep! How could I ever finish any assignments?
Tomorrow, in all likelihood, I’ll wake up too early, do a sleepy but competent job and attend my office hours with vigilance. Then I’ll once again fail to get to sleep until the sun rises, be too tired to do anything the next day, and so on. It’s a pattern that repeats itself over and over. Once in awhile I’ll have a week or two where laundry and cleaning get done, dishes are washed, clothes put away, efforts made to further long-term projects. But most of the time, to be honest, my brain doesn’t let me do those things.
I can’t even sleep. How am I supposed to achieve anything when the sun comes up and I’m on the hook for more lost hours, forced to go to caffeine sources again and again, the stress compounding and, throughout, a creeping sense of sickening worthlessness creeping in?
I just hope that next week will be better, and there’s no planning for that. There are ways of coping, ways of adjusting slightly, ways of attempting to improve my situation. And I keep all those in mind. But there’s nothing I can do right now––the sleep is already lost, and I’m once again facing down a sickening sunrise wondering if there’s anything, anything! I could do to make it better.