Tuesday, April 10, 2012

....and neither is staying up all night

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Usually this isn’t a problem for me – ask any of my college roomies, and they’ll tell you about my astonishing capacity to nap almost anywhere, anytime. (Seriously, my Cultural Anthropology textbook became a second pillow during my sophomore year.)

But these days, I find I have too much rattling around in my brain for me to drift off peacefully. Naturally, these are all issues I should tackle during the day, when I’m actually a functioning adult and can do something productive to work them out. Doesn't seem to work that way, though.

Invariably, I lay down to sleep, curl into my pillow, relax all my muscles and think, Aaaaah, this is the one time when I don’t have to think about *anything*…and then my brain wakes up. Interferes. Meddles.with.my.sleep. What should I think about this? What should I think about that? Does this random and minor comment that so-and-so made actually mean something else? Do I have time to wash my hair tomorrow? Should I take the bus or the metro to work? Look, Aftan, my brain says, it’s 2 am. A perfect time to ask ourselves if we should cook lasagna this week.

Beneath this peppering of banal trivialities lies a whole separate layer of Deeper Issues. What do I want to do with my life? Why am I an intern failure? Why hasn’t my boss talked to me about x event? What should I do about That Friend? Am I making enough money to pay my rent? Why do I live in the city?

And the more I try not to think about these questions, the more I try to find answers for them. Gradually my muscles tense up, my scowl at the ceiling grows more severe, and I feel like I've downed one of those gross Monster energy drinks.  I have become a crazed ping-pong ball, volleyed back and forth between competing thoughts, lacking control or direction.

For original meme, see Hyberbole and a Half

In short, my brain punishes me for all those mornings when I tried to sleep my problems away. Oh, Aftan, you have some down time? That must be nice, cuz ITS NOT LIKE YOU STAYED IN BED FOR 13 HOURS YESTERDAY.

Thus when I do finally find sleep, it’s short and broken up by my feelings of guilt and continued stress. Which leaves me more tired the next day. Which leaves me less capable of dealing with my problems like an adult. Which makes me feel more guilty. Which makes me want to hide under the covers again.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I have found, however, that a few glasses of wine (or an entire bottle) tend to help with the whole "not sleepy" thing. Take that, brain.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Staying in bed all day is not an effective way to deal with stress

I don’t think I could ever be a druggie. It seems like people often use drugs (or alcohol) as an escape from their problems. While I do see the benefits of occasionally drowning my sorrows with some rum, drugs have too many crazy side-effects. I prefer to simply fall asleep and let my brain create an alternate reality, one where my only problem is how to kill all these bad guys with my sweet spy skillz. I don’t have to worry about getting a job, paying my rent, cooking my meals, dealing with boys or finding time for friends.

Sleep is the best escape. Ever.

When I wake up, my bed becomes this special sacred place where my problems can’t touch me. I mean, I definitely DO think about them, but in a detached kind of way. Hmm, I should probably deal with x issue. Later.

As soon as my toes touch the floor, though, “x issue” becomes “X ISSUE” – and I freak out. Wow, I need to deal with this *now*!

Obviously, this reaction does not drive me to leap out of bed in the morning. Which is why I spent far too long yesterday curled up with my down comforter. Sadly, like any method of procrastination, hiding from my problems does not actually solve them. Eventually, my toes will touch the floor and I’ll have to accept that I need to grow up.

Aw, crap. I hate being an adult.

Note: I’ve touched on this before, but “being an adult” does not mean you can NEVER hide under a blanket.