Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Sleep Doesn't Come Easy
Last week, I had a dream about my mother.
We were at the old house, the old house being the house my family lived in from the time that I was about 4 or 5 until I was about 17. It's the most common recurring location of my dreams, probably because it's where I grew up.
The house has an attached garage, connected by an adjoining door right after you enter the front door. We never parked the cars in the garage, but rather, it was a spare bedroom, storage space, utility area. For some reason, I'd gone in there to look for my mother but was surprised when I didn't find her.
After a little while, I noticed that she was laying in bed, facing away from me. That seemed odd because I never knew my mother to nap much, unless she wasn't feeling well. I remember wondering if she was sick and was about to ask if she was ok, and for her to tell me if anything was wrong so we could take her to be examined. And then I realized, I didn't need to tell her that anymore.
I heard my mother's voice in my head (in Cantonese), "I've been gone for a lifetime, and she still doesn't know it."
Well, it hasn't been a lifetime. My mother died just over a month ago. And my father died in October 2016. So, the last 12 months have left me with quite a bit to deal with.
There are moments when things feel ok, when I feel normal. The moments come and go, and they don't generally last very long unless I've got something to focus on and I'm actually able to focus. During the day, I have things to do, things to pay attention to, work, distractions.
The nights are difficult. There's less going on. Distractions fade away. Things are quiet. People are sleeping, resting. Except me. There's just me and a whirlwind of conflicted thoughts.
I've never really been very good at sleeping, even as a child. It never occurred to me that I could ever actually have MORE trouble sleeping. That's how it's been for the past month. I'm awake well into the early hours of the morning, pretty much until my body is exhausted and can be awake no more. I sleep for a little while, but then it's time to get up and go to work. And then I spend the day very tired. So you'd think I'd be able to sleep that next night, right? Nope. I'm tired and sleepy all day, but when I get home from work, even if I think I'm tired enough to go to bed early, as soon as I think about going to bed, the brain starts firing again and won't let me sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. On weekends, if I don't have to be up at a certain time, I still can't sleep in. As soon as my body is no longer exhausted, my brain wakes me up, even though I'm still tired and sleepy.
The irony of having even more difficulty sleeping now than I usually do is that when my mother would hear about my insomnia, she would tell me that I was thinking about too many things, and that was why I couldn't sleep. She'd tell me to stop thinking about so much.
I haven't yet figured out how to quiet my brain enough to let my body rest. I figured I'd try writing again, to see if that would help.
If you've been reading this entry, you probably got here from a link I posted. That will be the only time I link to these sorts of posts. I figure if you want to read more about this subject, if I manage to write any more about it, you now already know how to find your way here.