Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Something's in the water.

I sometimes have a love affair with water.
I mean, I always like it, and I definitely always need it.
But sometimes it's just so damn good.
Like, sometimes I can literally feel it nourishing my body as I drink. I can physically feel it plumping up the cells on my cheeks.
Is that just me?
And I've really learned the very pleasurable sensation of ice water post-hot tub. The cooling sensation spreads out in your flushed body and brings you back to life. It's so good.

Can you tell that I gave up Diet Pepsi a while ago?
It wasn't that hard to stop and I don't really crave it, so much as miss it, if that makes sense.
Like, I miss having an option besides water. Because I don't like the taste of regular Pepsi, and wouldn't want to drink that much sugar\calories anyway. And I don't care for juice. So it's water and then of course alcohol, and that's about it. It's given me an even deeper appreciation for water, but also sometimes a dispassion for it. Water just doesn't feel like a treat, whereas a Diet Pepsi I could bring with me to work and wait until the exact moment I needed it most and pop it open and immediately be flooded with relief. It was a pick-me-up, my only source of caffeine since I don't drink coffee or tea.

I'd been meaning to give up Diet Pepsi for a while, because of the whole brain cancer thing. But every time I gave it up for a while, I'd drift back because Diet Pepsi is so pleasingly sweet, and brain cancer is not an imminent threat, I don't think. Easier to ignore, at any rate, than a certain emptiness around 8pm where a frosty can of DP would do me an enormous amount of good.

Then my naturopath asked me to give it up. Asked me to trade it for regular Pepsi, even. Take the sugar, she said, give up the aspartame. And I knew she was right. In my readings about my disease, aspartame was listed as a potential cause of destroying the healthy bacteria in my stomach. So it was time to go. I thought I'd seriously have to detox from it. I thought I'd get the sweats, or visions. And really, I just stopped. So I wasn't as addicted as I feared I might be. I just really liked the stuff. Brain cancer tastes good to me.

So now I'm  on water. Lovely water. Sometimes I try to dress it up. Fancy ice cubes, glittery highball glasses. Bendy straws. Carafes intended for imported wine. And most of the time, water really does get the job done. It's the perfect beverage in many ways.

Until it starts giving me brain cancer too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I live my life avoiding bedtime. Like, not only do I avoid it, but as it gets darker and Sean's eyelids get droopier, I start with distraction techniques. Like a marathon of the latest must-see, cliffhanger-heavy non-network TV series. All 6 seasons! And sex! And chicken nuggets! And hot tub! More sex!

But not reading. Reading is bad. Reading makes other people fall asleep even quicker. Reading is a sleep aid to a frustrating number of people. Me? I can never have less than 3 books on my nightstand. I never travel with less than 7. When I'm not sleeping, it's not uncommon for me to read a book a night. A whole night of tossing, turning, snapping on the light, picking up the book, reading, feeling a sliver of hope, turning out the light, pretending it's working, hoping it's going to work any minute, and then tearfully admitting defeat, turning on the light to read and repeat. But Sean? Four pages and he's out. OUT.

And it leaves me alone. And there is no lonelier thing than another night of not sleeping. Nights are long, and I dread them. I truly dread them. They make me sad, and every minute that ticks past 8pm makes me sadder, because I know what's coming: abandonment, frustration, anger, sickness.

It's hard not to feel resentment toward the person sleeping peacefully beside you. I know it's wrong. It's not their fault. They're doing what bodies do, and what life and health require. But it sucks, when you are in the depths of sleep failure, to have a perfect, shining example lying beside you, teasing you, accusing you. It's awful.

It's also incomprehensible. Like, why is my body refusing to do the thing it needs to do? And why me? I pay my taxes. I take warm baths, keep a bedtime routine, don't drink caffeine, exercise, keep my bedroom a "sleep shrine", practise yoga and mediation and deep breathing and drink bad sleepy time tea. I do all the right things. All of them. Sometimes for 72 hours straight. It's not fair, and that hurts.

It's almost funny how quickly frustration at sleep in general (or unsleep in general) turns into anger toward myself. Like, real hatred. I beat myself up for not sleeping. I get down on myself. The negative self-talk starts and then escalates, because it's the middle of the night and your thoughts are the only thing keeping you company so of course they go bananas. And it's all your fault for not controlling them! I start punishing myself. I'm not allowed to have a snack, or even water, because I don't deserve it. I can't watch a movie or check Facebook. I keep myself in strict isolation because if the alternative is bad enough, maybe I'll learn to just sleep already. Except I never do.

And I never will. I know that now. I've been a bad sleeper since day one. I couldn't sleep at night as a baby either. My grandfather summersaulted me over his head because flipping the baby would flip my schedule. Except all I did was barf on my grandfather and went back to not sleeping.

School was the worst. It starts so goddamned early and I would be lucky to fall asleep minutes before I needed to get up. Alarms are an extra layer of pressure for an insomniac. They keep exact count of your failures and count down to your misery. The pressure is this awful weight and every minute is full of rage. Setting an alarm will always trigger my insomnia. Always. But 3 days a week, I have to be at work for 7am which means I have to be up in the vicinity of 5am, which means I won't be getting any sleep that night. AT ALL. So for those three days a week, guaranteed I'm a zombie, and every day I get closer to collapse, but I collapse into a nauseated, achy, head-hurting puddle of CONSCIOUSNESS. I never collapse into sleep. Because it doesnt' work like that. Insomnia doesn't cure itself, it only feeds on itself. Eventually I'll need to give myself a blank space of time where it doesn't matter when I sleep or for how long. But that means carving up pieces of my life, or my work. Because I don't get to be productive or sociable when I'm up by myself in the dark hours of the night. I spend my days barely lucid, and in a great deal of physical pain because the wear and tear accumulates and the muscles never get their needed rest and replenishment.

People can't really understand the toll it takes on your body. Doctors always gasp over your blood pressure. I push through crazy stuff. I keep going. Sometimes I hit a wall, randomly, and have to call to be driven home because I just can't anymore. Which doesn't mean I'll sleep. It just means I'm useless. And that's how I feel half the time. Just completely useless. And I can't do anything about it, nobody can. All I can do is lie there and think good thoughts. Maybe it'll be tonight.