If I Didn't Have Insomnia ...
As a nearly life-long insomniac, I am used to living life based on how much (or how little) sleep I have gotten, and as a result, how much (or how little) I am functioning each day.
I am used to adjusting and cancelling plans, editing and revising to-do lists, and prioritizing and re-prioritizing how I’m going to spend what (little) energy I have before I need to rest.
I’m well versed at trying to overcompensate my exhaustion with caffeine, using snacks to stay awake, and asking others to drive when I’m just too dang tired. Things I think about daily (or even hourly, for that matter), are things that people without insomnia have possibly never (or rather, very infrequently) thought about in their lives.
What if my insomnia was gone?
The idea of life being different, the idea of putting insomnia in a box on the shelf for one night, or one week, or even forever feels so much like fantasy it’s almost laughable! But what would I do?
If I didn’t have insomnia...
If I didn’t have insomnia, I would spend less time worrying about what time I was going to bed, and what my sleep environment was like, and what things were going to impact my brain and my body when my head hit the pillow. I’d spend less time wondering if it was the piece of chocolate I ate in the afternoon or the conversation I had with my mother or the way the moon was reflecting off my windowsill that was preventing me from falling asleep.
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d be a little more carefree. Instead of meticulously trying to micromanage my schedule days and weeks in advance, I’d say yes to seeing friends, going out to eat, and having adventures more often, even spur of the moment! (post-COVID-19, of course.)
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d be less frustrated when my toddler wakes up crying during the night, at the exact moment that I’m actually experiencing real sleep. I’d be more patient with her and her needs, instead of turning over and over in my mind how she just destroyed any semblance of rest I was going to get for the night.
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d go to Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon. I wouldn’t think twice about getting a medium latte just because I wanted one.
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d watch ‘one more episode’ of our Netflix binge with my husband, instead of glancing at the clock and knowing that if I get into bed too tired, all hope is lost for my routine.
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d be more willing to be intimate with my husband at night! I wouldn’t be too tired, or too worried about not falling asleep.
If I didn’t have insomnia, I’d be more awake in the morning. I could fulfill my recent dream of writing morning pages, I could work on my novel, I could commit more fully to my advocacy work because I’d have extra time and extra headspace for those things.
If I didn’t have insomnia, honestly, my life would be much simpler. Smoother. Easier.
Coming back to reality
I do. I do have insomnia. And I’ve spent so much time and gone through such trial and error to find the best routine and the best ways to manage my sleep disorder, that I’m okay today. I’m okay with my reality.
It’s not like I have much of a choice, honestly. But a girl can (day)dream, right?
Do you have any other health conditions besides insomnia?