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The Evasion Of Sleep: A Journal Entry

Do you know how exhausting it is to not be able to sleep?

I do, and all vampire jokes aside, it’s not a fun ride.

It is being so damn tired all you want is for yourself to pass out the minute your head hits the pillow. Your body in full agreement prepares you to relax. You quickly perform your nightly before-bed routine and get into a comfortable position. The lights have been switched off, the air conditioning or fan – whichever you prefer or the weather permits – are set to the perfect speed and temperature, and you close your eyes.

But what’s this? 

Your brain has decided to not shut off. It won’t cooperate.

Why you ask it.

Because comes the answer.

That’s not really an answer, you say.

It goes on like this until you realize that you’re so terribly knackered, you’re conversing with your own perceived idea of your own brain. This is what the lack of sleep has driven you to.

You’ve been told to put down your phone for at least half an hour before you try to sleep and we all know how that one goes. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t used your phone the entire day – which is impossible – you cannot expect to be allowed to drift off into unconsciousness if your mind doesn’t stop with its shenanigans. However, you don’t let that stop you. You put down your phone and close your eyes. It takes only a minute until it beeps with a notification, and before you know it, you’re reaching towards it to check this notification. It’s something funny someone tagged you in, on Facebook, and you laugh at. When you’ve posted your reply, you realize you weren’t supposed to use the gadget. You put it on silent and close your eyes once again.

All of a sudden, your eyes pop open and you stare unblinkingly into the dark. Suffice to say, you’re not getting any shut-eye.

I have constructed a variety of methods to satisfy my head until I go to sleep.

One of them is replaying the day from the very beginning to the moment you started the replay. You go through every motion, conversation, interaction until you’ve come back to the present. Understatement of the year; it doesn’t work.

Then, you start analyzing everything you or someone else did. It takes longer this time, but rather than grogginess settling over you with an incessant urge to slip away, you become more alert, the exact opposite of what you’ve been wishing for all along. The heart speeds up as anxiety begins to settle in.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, you chide yourself.

Why would you do that? Why would you say that?

Your face must have looked funny.

You shouldn’t have told them that.

Assignments, deadlines, conversations, screw-ups, and that one second of eye contact with the person you like all come rushing back to you, overwhelming and vivid. Soon enough, you realize that you have played a monumental part in ensuring unconsciousness strays farther, and farther, and farther away…

I looked incredulously at the journal entry dated, 4th January, 2011. Every month, I performed a ritual of reading previous journals, diary entries that dated back to 2008. I had drawers filled with old journals, and couldn’t stop myself from writing in new ones, documenting feelings, and in the case of those old notebooks, history.

The difference in writing was astonishing, the writing styles, the thought process; the articulation had evolved in a way I was secretly proud of. Sometimes, I would find incidents and memories I hadn’t thought of in forever.

For now, I chuckled at the amateur writing, and put the journal back as I got ready to sleep.

Good thing I can sleep with ease now, I thought to myself as I lay awake for hundredth time.

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