Flashback: what an insomniac doesn’t tell you…

Yesterday, I told you that I’d spend this week talking a little bit about my struggle with insomnia:

Its darkness…  

And its light. 

The post below is the first I ever wrote about my disordered sleeping patterns … And as far as I can tell, it’s the *only* post in which I ever talked about it overtly.

Somehow, that seemed like a good place to begin.


I like the world best by morning light…


The way it pushes into the room through every opening.

The way it fills up every space with an invitation to begin, now, while the canvas is blank and the page uncluttered.

I am an insomniac.  I have been for all my life, starting from the moment I was born.  I screamed through every night as a child, terrorized by my own thoughts — the regrettable dark underside of a vivid imagination.

As an adult, I’ve learned to wear my sleeplessness with quiet tolerance.  To rub concealer over the dark circles and go smiling into the day.  Still, I often say that Insomnia is the loneliest small town in the world – Population 1 – and in that loneliness and silence comes a cacophony of thought, words, wonderings, memories, shadows, dark stains in the gray matter, neurons like flashbulbs, firing and firing into the dark.

And then the morning comes.

And the thoughts sort themselves back into boxes.

The lids of the boxes are closed.

The light spills in again.

Those first moments when I open my eyes and drink in the clear white sundazzle — those are the ones I treasure most.

I take a deep breath, and I begin. ❤



    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Derrick. 🙂

      At this point I’m mostly just used to it. It’s not fun when it’s at its worst, but I am functional and happy during the day, and I’m grateful for that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Truly.

      I’m glad it conveyed a little of the feeling of it. I obviously don’t write about things like this often, but I figure understanding is always a good thing. 🙂

      Hope you’re having a lovely morning. Thank you for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As frustrating as it can sometimes be, it’s par for the course for me, which I suppose makes it easier.

      I do, thigh, have tremendous jealousy over my husband’s apparent ability to fall asleep anywhere, whenever he wants to, and to enjoy sleep and feel refreshed by it. Lucky guy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really interesting to read, as I’ve always been very intrigued by the sleep stages and the process of dreaming. Last year, I downloaded an app that measure your sleep cycles – then in the morning you can look at a graph and see at what time you were in the deep sleep stage and when your were in the light one. However, since we’re two in bed I don’t think it was very accurate! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sleep *is* fascinating, isn’t it? So much going on just below the surface in our heads! 🙂

          Your app sounds fascinating. So this is going to sound like a silly question, but does the app know about the stages? (So interesting.) Does it measure breathing or heartbeat or …?

          Fitbit or phone?


          1. So fascinating! 🙂 The app is on the phone, you’re supposed to sleep with it on the mattress next to you (under the sheet). It’s not silly at all to ask, when I came across this I was curious to know how it worked too! So they explain the app uses the accelerometer in the phone to monitor your movement during the night, to determine which state you’re in. They know a typical adult will enter REM sleep (the stage when our muscles become inhibited) roughly every 90 minutes and that this repeats 4-5 times per night. So that’s how the app calculates the stages.
            Actually the whole point of the app is that it is an intelligent alarm that will only wake you up when you’re in the lightest sleep state (as opposed to a normal alarm clock that can go off when you’re in deep sleep and barely conscious.) The way you set the alarm is that you enter a time frame, so the app knows you need to be up between 6:15 AM – 7:00 AM and it will choose the best moment to wake you up. It’s called ‘Sleep Cycle’ if you want to check it out 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. So interesting!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

              There are so many fascinating tools out now … Have you seen the alarm clock that’s actually a lamp, which slowly fills the room with brighter and brighter light that simulates daylight? I’m not sure it would work for me, but it’s definitely a fun concept … 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yes, I read about that a while ago. It seems that people in countries like Norway & Sweden really like to use that lamp. It would be fun to try, but at first I guess I would be to scared that I wouldn’t wake up on time 😀

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chloe’s mom! 🙂

      It’s not a stupid question at all. I definitely sleep… Just maybe not the same way other people do. (Actually, not sleeping at all *is* a thing, but it’s an exceptionally rare condition, and it’s unfortunately fatal. We need sleep to live!).

      My insomnia typically comes in cycles. I don’t ever sleep fabulously the way my husband does (jealous!), but there are plenty of weeks when I sleep fairly normally, and feel okay on waking up. During those periods of time, I think I’m mostly just a light sleeper who has some very trippy, semi-lucid dreams… Kind of like being on Percoset at night.

      Every few months, though, I’ll have a particularly bad bout with sleeplessness, and it usually lasts around three or four weeks at a go. It can be an unfortunate cycle, since the frustration of not being able to get to sleep & the awfulness of the accompanying night terrors and hallucinations just makes me want to avoid going to bed until I am so exhausted I can barely walk … During those periods of time, I have a hard time functioning during the day, and I consume a *lot* of caffeine to compensate … And those bad habits obviously compound the problem.

      Over the years I’ve learned a lot of coping mechanisms… Some good, some not-so-good. The best medicine for me, though, is to be honest with myself about what’s causing me anxiety (usually the trigger for a cycle), and to work hard at removing the cause.

      Which is something we should all be doing anyway, whether we’re insomniacs or not. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t it, though? I enjoy the early-evening variety, too, but morning light is just so fierce and relentlessly hopeful, and I love that. 🙂

      Thank you for reading and sharing your own sunshine, Cathe… Grateful! 🙂


  1. Those first few moments of clear, white sundazzle are my favorites, too. I can’t imagine what it is like to wrestle with lifelong insomnia. It sounds like an exhausting, misunderstood demon that you tolerate with grace and dignity. But, I also love those first precious moments of morning the best. Everything is new again, and everything is possible! Maybe my love of the morning arose from my perfectionism, depression, and eating disorder. In the morning, I could forget the disaster and desperation of yesterday and still pretend that *this* day would (magically) be different. My ED and depression are in remission, and I don’t think that way anymore, but I still love the quiet, hopeful promise of those first morning rays best of all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! The light is aesthetically beautiful then, but you’re so right: the morning reminds us in a thousand little ways that we can begin again.

      I’m so glad you can take that part of your life and find a little goodness in the morning even now, in recovery.

      Thank you for sharing. I’m always encouraged and spurred on by your voice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! My name is Emily and I was wondering if I could have your permission to use your photograph of the chair in front of the blinds as a reference picture for an art project of mine that will be done in class. It would be super awesome to reference your picture while I tackle this project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Emily. I love collaboration and love seeing other artists do their thing. If you wouldn’t mind referencing the blog if you ever show/sell the piece, that’s all I’d ask. And of course, come back here and share! I’d love to see the finished product – so exciting. Happy creating! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s