Insomnia. My Achilles heel. It comes and goes. It wreaks havoc on my life.
I’ve been in a bout of insomnia for about three weeks now. Generally when it happens, it’s over either a very short time span, a week, or a very long time span, a few months. The longest bout so far was a little over a year. I have analyzed on my own and with a therapist what the cause could be. Stress? Anxiety? Depression? PTSD?
Honestly, the reasons vary. This time around, I truly feel it has everything to do with my creative self going through growing pains. My mind does not rest. I am in a constant state of project ideas, words rushing through my brain like broken glass, questions about the one project I really want to work on, but am too afraid to tackle.
So, yes, there’s a creative war going on in my head. My Poet self is feeling threatened by the newly emerging want to write non-fiction self, who is battling with the want to perform on stage self, and they are all a part of who and what I am as a writer. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time keeping all of this creative energy in check and taking things on one at at time. In light of all of this, something has to give. So, sleep it is. My mind is most active at night, when my body is at rest. I don’t have to focus on walking, talking, eating, functioning, I’m just in a quiet place, comfy, relaxed, and oh so tired. But sleep eludes me night after night as I ponder how to silence the questions, the activity, and the pressure to accomplish things.
Last night I did something different, because I’ve reached critical mass in the tired department. I turned off the lights with the exception of my reading light, turned on my wave sound machine and my salt rock lamp, settled into my reading chair, and dove into a book. It was like coming home. I got to escape my own world for a while and enter one that did not require me to engage. When I got tired, I crawled into bed, turned off the light and went to sleep. Though I woke up twice during the night, I was able to fall asleep within minutes. After eight hours of sleep (as opposed to my usual 3-4) I feel rested and invigorated.
Today, I mentally catalogue my projects and the order in which I want to tackle them. I also made a decision after a good night’s sleep that I have put the one project I hesitated to work on at the top of the list. As I’ve been told so many times by my fellow writers: If it’s in you and it wants to get out, free it. Don’t be concerned with what anyone else thinks or feels. It has a purpose. Fulfill it.