I often find myself awake, day and night it’s a familiar state to find myself in. I’m used to lying in bed in the early hours of the morning, looking up at the artex ceiling of my childhood bedroom.
I’ve lived in this house all my life, long gone are are the stuffed toys, the blue walls covered in glow in the dark stars and the football posters taken from magazines. That’s all gone, it went with my youthful exuberance, all that remains from those days is this fucking ceiling, taunting me.
It hangs above me with huge white swirls, to my sleep stricken mind and illuminated by the Autumn moon it’s like a Van Gogh painting, but more striking in its mundanity than anything truly profound. Its irregularity is playing on my mind, this is what I have to live with, i’m being kept awake by the roof now?
Drowning in thought
Pretty much every night is spent the same, I’ll go on my phone for a bit, scroll through social media or talk to friends, I’ll do this until everybody is too busy sleeping to tweet or reply to me, there’s no one left to talk to but myself, and in truth, i’m not great company all things considered.
There are two voices in my head on nights like this and they’re constantly at odds with one another, slugging it out night after night like Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier in their primes.
The first voice fills my head with worry, thoughts about the direction my life is going in, the road that i’m heading down, while the other is just begging for the first voice to stop.
The second voice very very rarely wins, it pleads and pleads, bangs its head against the wall but its all in vain.
I usually sit in the front row supporting the second voice, praying it wins out, or at least praying I can sneak a couple of hours sleep while my brain self-implodes over trivial titter-tatter.
‘If I fall asleep now i’ll get five hours sleep’
‘I can deal with three hours’
‘Two hours sleep isn’t ideal but I’ll live’
‘I can still get an hour I guess’
‘Oh god I need to get up already?’
This is the part of the night that drives me insane. I can’t help myself but watch as the clock ticks down, as time seep away until another day trapped within myself, hiding behind a still-image of the person people expect me to be while the actual me no longer has the energy to do anything other than continue the charade.
Sleep issues have plagued me for years, all throughout high school, sixth form and University. When I was younger I didn’t think much of it, nobody sleeps as much as they’d like, ‘everybody in school is probably just as tired as me’ I would think while resting my eyes in double Science on a Tuesday morning.
University opened my eyes, this isn’t normal. Not everybody sleeps as badly as I do, my delusion of normality in the night-time hours was shattered. As my time at uni went on the issues only got worse. Gradually the sleep issues would reveal themselves in other walks of life.
I struggled with sociability, my mental health took a huge hit, my personal health was struggling, my writing (as you may be able to tell) became frantic, I became disillusioned from everybody, spending my days locked away from friends. I was slowly falling apart at the seams.
I received a lot of support from lecturers who were all great with me, they offered me loads of support and help to get me out of my own head and over the line, without them I don’t think I would ever have finished my final year. However, that chapter of my life is over now and I need to decide what i’m going to do next.
I’m awake for nearly double the time of your average person but I lead half the life. The lights are on, somebody is home but he can never make it to the door.
I’d like to say i’ve come up with some miracle way to live with it but in truth I’m still a work in progress, looking for a miracle cure hasn’t worked out for me so far but i’ll keep looking.
It’s easy to say life is hard and give up, because that allows you to disguise the notion that you’ve already given up, on life and on yourself.
I’m not complaining, life is hard, everybody knows that and everybody finds the strength to keep going but I’m most certainly not saying I have given up on anything just yet.
The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone overHell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, Hunter S. Thompson