A Tale From a True Insomniac

When my alarm sounded at seven am I quickly turned it off before the second annoying beep because as usual I was already awake I had been all night. After getting my daily fix of coffee pumping through my veins to boost the low power in my brain to high I headed to the studio.

I read through the list of stories I'd be taping, needed to know headlines, from the tragic, ridiculous, to the humorous tales of others that give viewers a quick update or escape from their day. I performed flawless always a one-take wonder during broadcasts. I've worked very hard over the years to gain that reputation. However inside I felt physically sick but my co-workers couldn't tell. I kept a smile on all day grateful to have a job. My stomach turned, my body exhausted as if I ran a marathon that morning with my head still trapped in a cloud.

After my shows I left and new what had to be done. I went against my own promises and purchased Nyquil at the nearby CVS store. It was only noon on a beautiful sunny 75 degree day in Los Angeles and I only had one goal, to shut my blinds drink the sleepy time medicated juice to help me catch up on 3 days that have painfully past without a wink of sleep. I had to once again shut down my life to refuel my zombie like body and mind because I could feel another cold coming on from my constant worn down state, the state that is the life of a hard core insomniac.

I'm only in my 30's but I sure look aged far beyond my years. I often stare into a mirror dazed wondering how much prettier I'd be if only I slept like a normal person. That wasn't me. I was far from normal.

I remember when my insomnia first appeared I was in college and had recurring thoughts of death from nightmares to day dreams turning morbid with constant scenarios that replayed in my head; how would I die, my brother, my parents, my friends. Anxiety over whether these scenarios would actually happen seemed a real possibility because I attended two funerals by the age of nineteen. My two friends were murdered a year apart and each laid stiff in their caskets their faces altered as though they'd been stuffed with something turning their once life like bodies into wax or wood fixture replicas. It was haunting. My career choice didn't make it easier. I've been a crime reporter for more than a decade. I've seen countless bodies in every shape and disfigurement possible, and those images race through my mind.

As the years pass my mind seems to race at times beyond control. Thoughts both practical, irrational, made up or annoying questions chase as if each were trying to exhaust the other. Would one dominate the other? It was a reminder of who's always in charge; the mind. Its force can physically exhaust, accelerate or heal us and it's a strong competitor when it goes against you.

Despite my grievances I'm pretty lucky. I've always been able to endure sleepless nights while accomplishing productive days. It's a thrill for me to thrive under pressure. The most important rule for insomniacs, never get upset. If you don't sleep don't obsess over it, don't stare at the clock just relax and know when it's time the moment will come eventually.

Countless nights I was too exhausted to leave the house or go on a date struggling to focus on a conversation. My social freedom became chained to the demands of a weary body crashing when it wanted too. Socially I became the girl who cancels, the flake who ditched last minute. But I learned to strengthen my mind, which in turn would help surge my body.

My insomnia is part hereditary, racing thoughts is a symptom of anxiety disorders that run in my family, but the other half is environmental. I live in Hollywood, I'm single and work in Television. Women are often so full of fear we obsess over our looks, careers or lack thereof, to insecurities and self-doubt smeared onto us by others.

Yet we can endure more than we give ourselves credit for. I will never have a regular sleeping schedule but I noticed the more I laugh, and feel genuine content with my life the safer I feel which in turn relaxes me and makes the racings thoughts easier to tune out.

Medication isn't the enemy, I don't knock it because for many it's a part of their daily survival. I've learned to function without it, I realized it's a mind-set that has to go with your mind challenges.
Like everything in life it's how you react to it, how you learn from it. Am I embarrassed when I'm caught yawning a few dozen times on a date? Absolutely, but it's also a conversational bridge to reveal something about myself, a strength, maybe even some humor about him dating a real life zombie girl.

Flaws are my favorite attributes in people, lay them out so we can share, compare and laugh over it. I have learned to love my zombie like life, my racing thoughts that also keep me creating, beautifully strange and interesting in conversations. The desire to sleep more will always be but learning to let go of what I can't control in life fuels me. Inner peace is what we want and non-judgment when you see me vacuuming at three in the morning or grocery shopping at midnight, accept me, love me and that will put me in a dream-like state even if I'm always awake.