Even before the arrival of my illness, sleep was a difficult thing for me. Insomnia and I are old friends, but having to cope with it while dealing with high levels of pain is not an easy thing. When I was working, I used to take advantage of the times I couldn’t sleep by catching up on or completing work tasks early. In some ways it seemed like a blessing to be so productive, but of course there were the drawbacks of struggling to get out of bed many mornings and having to caffeinate myself to get my brain started and to stay alert sometimes later in the day.
When I can’t sleep now, I don’t feel productive, I feel restless, which makes my mind bounce all over the place during the longest stretches of the night. Sometimes I watch TV shows or movies to make the time pass more quickly. Other times I spend hours online poring over pages of articles, news, videos, and interesting writing others post here. Thankfully, many of the things people post here positively occupy my thoughts and lead to me being creative, which feels so much better than being productive.
In the dark, early hours of Thursday morning, a poem I found on Dave Kavanagh’s site, which he titled ‘Dark Eyed Woman’ sparked some creativity to help me pass the time. I was fortunate to engage with him through the comment section of his site and part of our exchange calmed the restlessness of my thoughts enough for me to write some poetry. In this respect – my creativity being sparked so I can write – I still see insomnia as a blessing sometimes. However, I know that sleep is the bigger blessing I need so I can better manage my illness.