Monday, December 6, 2010

Tales From A Sleepless Night: Day 1

It's late. I should be asleep and every muscle in my body is telling me that I should, but my mind is not allowing it. The melatonin I took was as useful as three rain drops to a raging forest fire. I know this feeling as I used to have this almost every night several years ago. It's been a while though, 12 months to be exact.

If there's one thing that seems to be consistent about my bouts of not sleeping it is the month of December. I have so many memories in this month and with each coming of December I begin to think about them, and I continue to think upon them and it just continues on without any hesitation.

There may have been a trigger to this, but before I say that story let me tell you that these bouts are common with me. In fact, in 2005 there were two different occasions that I was up for 48 hours. Trust me when I say that I wanted to sleep, but my mind, once it starts racing, can't be slowed down. Thoughts fly around so fast that even though I am truly exhausted and my body yearns for sleep my mind won't shut off.

I used to have this a lot when I was in school because I would be thinking about all the stuff I needed to do on the next day. I would think of things such as, "Will there be a fire drill?" or, "Will I be able to do my school work at school to avoid home work?" These questions, of course, couldn't be answered until the actual day, but that did not stop my mind from trying. Also, if my mind is fixated on a topic it will dwell deeply on that topic. When states and capitols were my thing I would just name a state in my mind and then state the capitol. When I was scared of storms I would play out ways to get to safety. When I was excited about a race that was coming up on the weekend I would envision how it might play out. Oh, and don't get me started on if my mind would get an advertising jingle stuck in my mind!

So I did say that I think tonight's edition of insomnia had a trigger. While December itself is one (I will try and write examples of this as the month goes on) I had an unique experience on Saturday. Two days ago I gave a presentation at Saint Louis Community College at Meramac. What's special about that? Eight years ago I went to that school. It was my only semester of college, but I still remember everything as if it were today.

Eight years ago my life was rather dull compared to today's standards, but I had Emily as a girlfriend and I was still eager about my future life as a race car driver. Routines were aplenty and each day between my morning and afternoon classes I would go to the place Emily worked and eat lunch.

On Saturday I had to keep this routine and went to the place that she used to work. I was fairly confident that she no longer works there so I figured that I was safe going there without having extra drama.

Sure enough I didn't see her, I don't think (I say this because I don't remember what she looked like at all), but the emotions and experiences came flooding back when I ate the food I ordered eight years ago. The taste was exactly how I remembered it and I had so many flashbacks of what was and what used to be. I usually experience this in December, but this kicked it up into hyper-drive.

Why did I go to eat there? To put simply it was all part of the routine. Just because eight years has gone by doesn't mean the routines went by the wayside. You may say that, "Wouldn't the routine be busted because you aren't with Emily anymore?" and I will tell you that routines live past relationships. However painful it is to continue it is irrelevant because routine is routine.

Once lunch was done I headed over to the campus and was amazed at how fresh my memories seemed to be. Memories I forgot about came to the forefront. I remembered my music class, and the mass com class, but most of all I remembered the afternoons in college comp 101. It was in Mrs. Wilcox's class that I discovered that I could write. Sure, my grammar was not all that great, and I threw around commas as if they biggest fad ever, but the core of writing was there. I felt as if my return to that campus was a return to the place my writing career was born.

During my presentation all those rushing thoughts were gone and I told the room my stories and experiences with being on the spectrum. Afterwards though I started to feel all the emotions tied to the memories. Typically in December I just struggle with the emotions of Christmas past as well as the fact that 2011 is looming at the end of the month (I struggle with New Years greatly!).

December is a month that I see as a month of great change. I remember crying for hours at a time in 1989 because I knew it would never be 198X again. Even at the age of six I struggled with time. I still struggle with year changes, but each December brings about all the emotions I have felt over the years during the month.

If you have followed my blog, or have seen me give a presentation, you will know that I broke up with Emily on Christmas via text message. I still play out all the possibilities of that night. Not all my thoughts regarding this month are bad though. I think back to those Christmas mornings and the feeling of warmth I experienced. This too brings about a fury of emotions that can't be controlled.

Wow, I think I have written a lot. I tend to ramble when I am tired and, quick fact, the majority of "Finding Kansas" was written due to insomnia. That was then though and I have a life now. I don't want this and I assure you that I can't wait until December ends. But... that will mean 2011 will be here and 2010 will never be again. See, it simply never ends.


  1. I just thought about my title, would it be "Day 1" or "Night 1"?

  2. It's exactly 2:22 am (I know, funny time) now... Does that say enough in how much I can identify?