Who Needs Sleep?

21 Nov

I mentioned in the previous post that inspiration often strikes me late at night. It hits like a mania, buzzing in my veins and keeping me awake when I know very well that alarm clock will still chime at the same time it always does. There’s not much I can do about it except appease it or try to ignore it. A similar sort of buzzing begins when I get over-anxious or just feel burdened down with too many thoughts. Just like the positive creativity, I have to either let this negative energy either apply itself or burn itself out.

Last night, as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, that familiar worrisome buzz returned. My heart literally started pounding, and my legs started twitching. I couldn’t get comfortable. My pillows were too soft. My comforter was too comfortable. I couldn’t just stay there, cuddled underneath  my covers. The whole city was falling asleep around me, and my brain just wouldn’t stop.

In a previous life, I was an avid journaler. My cloth-covered journal would sit in a prominent place next to my bed, ready to have my thoughts dumped into it. This kind of constant writing actually helped me sleep, once upon a time. It allowed me to get rid of all the noise in my head and transfer it onto the page, purging my brain in the same way I imagine J.K. Rowling’s pensieve works. When I turned to my trusty journal last night, I realized that I have written exactly twice in the last two years, each entry about a year apart, and each entry reciting the exact same troubles and worries and thoughts. It’s nice to know that some things don’t change, I guess.

The unintended result of these manic episodes of activity late at night, regardless of how long they last (I was awake until about 1:30 last night, cutting two hours of sleep from my usual night’s rest), is that the next day, I find myself still amped up.

I love the first day of sleeplessness. While I complain like crazy when I have to go on less than eight hours, I do notice that day one after a restless night is often characterized by a boost in my energy, and a frantic need to just get things DONE. It isn’t until day two and three of sleeplessness that the panic and exhaustion hit home. Let’s just say you don’t want to see me on day four. It isn’t pretty.

I digress.

Last night, after writing four pages in my nearly empty and neglected journal, I did the first round of edits on my first draft. It felt SO good, and this morning, I’m still savoring that boost of positivity that I managed to wring from my anxiety-fueled sleeplessness. Today, I can’t wait to get back to my draft and start in on more edits.  The words are bubbling up again, and my mind is half focused on my work and half focused on the writing that will have to wait until I get home this evening. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m not usually the type to find the silver lining, but last night I made a connection.

It seems to me that these bouts of energy, whatever fuels them, are a gift. Like anything else, they can be used for positive actions of creativity, or negative acts of dwelling on things that make me anxious and afraid. Today, I choose positivity.

 

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