Monday, March 4, 2013

Dark Circles and Noisy Neighbors

“I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it.” 
 Shirley Conran

I like to sleep.  No, I love to sleep.  Sleep is my favorite.  I have always heard my mother say that I required more sleep than the average kid.  And if I didn't get enough sleep, illness always crept in.  It was that way when I was five.  It is the same for me at thirty-five.  I can sleep in a car.  I can sleep on a train.  I can sleep on a plane.  I can sleep in class (unless I am the teacher... haven't mastered that one yet).  I can sleep in church.  In a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse... you get the point.  I have never understood people that couldn't sleep.  Insomnia was always something other people had.  Sleepless nights have seemed so foreign to me.  I have the innate ability to put my head on a pillow, fall asleep in under five minutes, and stay asleep until it is time to wake up.  Longer, if I am honest.  Much longer.  I hate to wake up.  

Several months ago, when I first found out I was pregnant, I had my first encounters with insomnia.  I searched online, scoured books, and finally asked the doctor if it was normal.  Totally normal, he said.  Between anxiety and hormones and multiple trips to the bathroom (I had no idea that was something experienced in early pregnancy), I was a sleepless mess.  I was so tired, but could not sleep.  I would wake up each night, praying that I would be able to revert back to my old self, the sleeper.  I did not.  I would be hot.  Then cold.  Then thirsty.  Then back to the bathroom.  Then to the couch for hours of Frasier reruns.  It was exhausting.  Rest escaped me, until daylight, of course, when real things needed to be done.    

Thankfully, the doctor said I could safely take Unisom for the insomnia, and before long, I was back to myself.  Resting comfortably.  

Fast forward to our big apartment move.  Then to the loss of our tiny baby five days later.  And then the discovery that our upstairs neighbors are so, so loud.  I cannot sleep.  I have stopped taking the Unisom because it makes me nervous when I think that I could become dependent on a pill to do something for my body that it should do all by itself.  I don't want my body to forget how to sleep all by itself.  And so I suffer. 

I have tried to go to bed early.  I have tried to get a full eight hours of sleep, knowing that my mind and body will be better for it.  But inevitably, the noisy boys that live above me start to really live right about midnight.  And so I awaken to the sound of the vacuum cleaner and furniture being moved across the room and their dog (which they deny having) scampering across the floor and pounding footsteps that make me hear "fee-fi-fo-fum" in my head.  And I want to cry.  And scream.  And say bad words.  And call their mothers and tell them that the boys need a spanking.  And a lesson in manners.

I have tried to outlast them.  After all, I love staying up late if I can sleep in a lot little.  But on school nights, it just doesn't make sense.  Staying up until 1 or 2 a.m. is just not an option.  So I give up.  I go to bed, knowing that I will be woken up multiple times.  Knowing that no amount of complaining or calling the police will help.  I have tried everything I can think of.  I am doomed to a life of sleeplessness.  At least as long as I live here.  So if you see me sometime in the next four and a half months, I will probably look tired.  And you won't have to wonder.  You'll know why.  Jake is not snoring.  I am not staying up late watching reruns of Friends.  I am simply the victim of the noisiest neighbors this side of the Mississippi.  

In the meantime, I will nap.   I will drink coffee.  I will hit the snooze button.  I will sleep late any time I can.  And if you catch me sleeping in church, please just pretend I'm praying.  

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