29 January 2013

Dear My Body: Y U NO SLEEP?

In addition to depression and anxiety, I've fought insomnia since my youth. At times, it's been helpful. I think of the all-nighters I pulled in college, for instance. Mostly, though, it's just irritating. I managed four consecutive nights last week where I was able to turn in around 10 at night and actually sleep through the night until at least 6:00 in the morning.

My insomnia issue hasn't been helped over the last several years by the frequent Prednisone tapers I've had to take to treat Crohn's flares. Again, I try not to badmouth Prednisone too much because it's the only thing that's consistently helped me with my guts but every now and again even I get frustrated with its side effects. I've not had Prednisone in a couple of weeks now so it should be out of my system at present but I've taken so much of it over the years that I'm certain it's done irreversible damage to my already precarious ability to sleep.

I watched the season premiere of Dallas last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd forgotten how much fun a soap opera can be and there's never been a finer one than Dallas. It was bittersweet watching Larry Hagman in one of his final performances as J.R. Ewing. It was a reminder how terrific he was in that role, and how much I've always enjoyed rooting for that conniving s.o.b. We've seen so many J.R.-like characters over the years, but rarely have any of the actors playing them been as willing as Hagman to appear to be having fun. J.R. isn't a guy who schemes all the time because he's greedy. He does it because it's his nature and he enjoys it. There's something Taoist about the guy, really.

I debated going to bed then, but then I decided to finally re-watch A.I. Artificial Intelligence. I've not seen it since it opened in theaters in 2001, and I've been meaning to revisit it for a while now. That wrapped up around 1:30 and I went to bed. There, I promptly tossed and turned for another hour or so before finally deciding to get back up. We've had another change in weather here; it's been warming up the last few days but also it's been raining and all that's played havoc with the barometric pressure...which, in turn, has made me physically miserable. I got out of bed and took a pain pill and a sleeping pill, hoping to get to sleep. Instead, I wound up writing a very lengthy review in my Letterboxd diary of A.I. I can't even say how coherent it is, but you're welcome to read it for yourself and tell me.

I'm finally starting to feel that drowsy, warm buzz from the pills so I'm gonna try again to get some sleep. I just looked around and all four cats are snoozing. More and more these days, I find myself envying them.


  1. I hate insomnia. I have had it off and on my whole life. I get middle insomnia so I fall off to sleep fine but then wake up in the middle of the night and lay awake. For hours. I'm not even productive like you are writing blogs, movie reviews and watching Dallas. I mostly just dick around with my iPhone until either I fall back asleep 15 minutes before the alarm goes off or the baby cries. Bah.

    You know I've never seen Dallas. Ever. It's only been in the last couple of years that I saw Twin Peaks and even then I didn't watch it all. Also we used to have a floor to ceiling sized Ai poster on our lounge room wall. It was one of the ones they used at the cinema so it was really heavy duty.

    1. I've had all stages of insomnia. I've been unable to fall asleep at all, I've been unable to stay asleep and I've only been able to get a little sleep before bouncing out of bed entirely awake. Not sure I consider myself "productive", but I take your point. It's hard to do a lot of things in the middle of the night unless you live alone. You can't really just get up and start cleaning, for instance, because it's too noisy. Reading requires light.

      There's also the matter of having a sleeping partner in bed who expects you to be in bed, too. Even if all you're doing is flaking out on the couch channel surfing, there's something about leaving the bed in the middle of the night that feels sneaky and suspicious.

      You could listen to music as long as you've got earphones but somehow that's even more frustrating because it feels like you're trying to mollify suspicions that shouldn't even be cast on you for simply failing to be asleep.

      I've never seen Twin Peaks, either. I grew up watching Dallas, though. Last summer when the continuation series began, I wrote a piece about the impact the original series had on me as a youth. There are some series spoilers in there, but if you don't mind that, I think you may find it a curious bit of insight into my childhood.

    2. I forgot that the color settings for comments are different. If you're interested in reading the Dallas piece, click here.