How Was Your Day ... Insomniac?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
It’s OK to talk to strangers.
By Libby Coleman
In this occasional series, OZY takes to streets and neighborhoods across the globe to ask a simple question: “How was your day?”
I woke up very tired. As usual. I don’t get to sleep very much in the night. Normally I get maybe three to four hours. Officially, it became insomnia April 20, 2005. That day, I went through something traumatic. I knew I’d have trouble sleeping for a long time.
I lost my partner. He passed away in his sleep. We were both young. I was 29, and he was 33. I was in the same bed as him. After that night, it’s been … yeah. I’ve gone to a doctor. I just did a sleep study on Wednesday. I canceled the appointment three times, I guess out of fear of the unknown.
At night I try not to think of my partner. At one point I had to take sleeping pills or melatonin to sleep. I was trying to exercise a lot and make myself exhausted so I could sleep at night. I’ve tried reading. At night I pray. Most times I draw digital art on a tablet in the night. That’s what helps me lately to relax so that I can fall asleep. I started off more with shapes and then I moved on to cartoon characters. Now I’m drawing illustrations of people. It’s improved my artistic abilities — which is a good and a bad thing, I guess. At least I’m using my sleepless time constructively.
I like to walk at night, but being a woman and walking at night is a safety risk. That’s why I don’t do it. There are some nights when I take the risk; I feel like I need to be outside. I walk off whatever energy it is.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t mind this. I’ve always been a night owl. In my family, a lot of us are up late. I was raised by my grandparents, and even they stay up late. A lot of my friends stay up late naturally. I can call at 2 a.m. and they’re bright-eyed.
Having insomnia — it sounds really bad. It may even have a stigma attached, but it’s where I get my inspiration. I create goals for myself at night. My mind flows.
But I’m hoping it does get better. I don’t want to be doing this when I’m 60, 65. I don’t want to go to sleep at 4 o’clock in the morning anymore. I suffer from depression. Generally, it’s a battle to be happy. I take it one day at a time. If that’s too much for me, I try to take it one hour at a time.
I always say to people I feel like I’m living in a cloud. I think at this point I’ve mastered living with tiredness. It’s become a part of me.