Well I finally watched Inception. I was not impressed. I was expecting something mind blowing. However what I found was that it was a basic description of something I deal with on a nightly basis. Not always knowing if I am dreaming or awake. Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile, or knows me, or like Aqila, has had to sleep next to me, knows the separation of dream and reality is not easy for me.
Aqila has even stopped me from leaving the apartment once in the middle of the night because I didn’t realize I was awake, I thought I was still dreaming and needed to go outside. Like I said in a previous post I have given myself a constant, a morning shower. The splashing of water on my body signifies a true waking state. I know exactly how it should feel in reality and this is often times how I know that I am truly in my reality.
So as I watched Inception it struck a chord with me but again, I wasn’t blown away, to me as I watched it I was just sort of nodding along. I have often woken up more exhausted than when I went to sleep because of the time difference in dreams. There are times when I feel like days have gone by only to find I have been asleep for twenty minutes. When you suffer from severe Insomnia and your sleep comes from forced 3-5 minute REM cycles you begin to lose your grip on what is real and what is not, this has happened to me before, I even wrote about it…..
The downside of my style of insomnia is the 3-5 minute REM cycles I experience. I go from awake right into a lucid dream, to awake again. I remember being awake and thinking “I will watch a program”, I put on Sons of Anarchy and noticed the faces of the characters were all distorted like muppets. I remember thinking that I really needed to get more sleep and when I put my head down on the pillow I blinked and went to turn off the TV to find it was already off. Never feeling the seamless transition from awake to dreaming. Every detail is so spot on in my dream that I can’t tell the difference…..even the alarm clock in the room keeps the same time through my dream and awake.
So how do I realize I am awake throughout the day….I provide myself with a constant. The wonderful morning shower. This is my door to reality. Once I exit that shower I know I am awake. There are times when I wash my hair twice, or soap up twice forgetting I had done it before, or not sure if I had done it before, but when I exit that shower. I know I am awake.
It is this style of sleep that has plagued me for so many years. The hardest part is keeping a sane normal life when this is happening so often. I don’t like sleeping away from home for this very reason. I know when I have gone away with people they are often weirded out about my insomnia, or when I hear my parents tell me if I went to bed at a normal hour I wouldn’t be so tired during the day. Yeah, I wish it was that easy. So many people can put their head down and go to sleep. I can’t, my body chooses for me when I will sleep. I have tried to get on a normal cycle, but for those who don’t suffer from a true, unfeeling, unrelenting insomnia will have no idea what it is like to beg for sleep and not have it come. Or worse yet, beg for sleep and only go through seamless 3-5 minute REM cycles where you are left questioning your reality. I am not talking about “Oh man, I can’t sleep”. I am talking about 24, 48, 72 hours awake, to the point where you just want to hold your knees in a corner and rock back and forth until sweet sleep…..or death….comes to you.
I think one of my most prominent dreams, one that may have changed my life happened when I was in college. I remember going to sleep and I remember being jolted awake, but when I awoke I was in a beautiful field of tall grass in a sweeping sun-bathed valley. I didn’t know where I was, but I felt like I had just woken up from a dream and was finally awake.
These two young ladies, dressed in what seemed like Puritan garb stumbled upon me and took me back to their home. They lived in a quaint town with farms and houses, a small town that had a beautiful town square. The peculiar part was the town square had a pedestal in the middle and bleachers surrounding it, but the pedestal was empty. I actually began to live in the town, days went by, I started working on the farm, and the family that took me in was kind and we ate delicious buttermilk biscuits and salty pork for meals, thick creamy cold milk for drink, and the evenings were spent just sitting and thinking.
I remember telling the people about my dream of living in this futuristic place where I wore strange clothes and went to something called “college”. I felt truly home here. But there was something not right, as the weeks went by I began to notice the people became more sullen, like their life was void of something. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I to became sullen, suddenly the biscuits weren’t as buttery, the pork not as salty, the milk tasted sour, and I became depressed.
The towns people were all in the same mental state, but soon a buzz grew around the town, it would be time for the special event, soon all would be better.
Then the day came, I didn’t know what was going to happen but I followed the crowd to the town square and sat with them on the bleachers surrounding the pedestal. They all crowded close to it and soon the mayor of the town walked toward the center holding a square box. He put it on the pedestal and the crowd seemed to lean toward it in one breath. He opened the box and as he did a small ballerina appeared and began to spin as the gentle metal plucking of music sprang out of the box.
Suddenly I realized what was missing, the weeks I was there I had never heard one note of music, not a whistle, not a bird, not a hum, not a thing. This was the reason for the sullen feeling sinking over the town.
The people closed their eyes and for 2 minutes they bathed in the music and recharged their souls. Then the box was closed and taken away, for days people hummed the tune, but soon they began to forget it and the cycle stared again. I asked the mayor why they didn’t just build more boxes. He told me they didn’t know how and were too afraid to take the one they had apart for fear they could never put it back together.
I told him I could build him one, and to make a long story short I did. The town’s people became insanely grateful and called me the Music Maker. Remember, at this point I felt like I had been living in this world for weeks and weeks. As the people cheered and hugged me and shook me I woke up to my roommate shaking me to go get something to eat.
I was in a such a state of confusion, such a state of shock that I couldn’t quite grasp what had happened, I couldn’t get a solid hold on my reality. All I could do was write down the “dream”. I didn’t go with my roommate to get dinner but instead sat there and feverishly wrote everything down. I was actually depressed for a few days, legitimately down, almost on the verge of tears because I felt like I had experienced something so amazing and now it was gone.
When people complain that I am not living up to their expectations, or get upset with me, I often times want to tell them “Do you even know how difficult it is to keep my psychosis in balance amidst all this let alone please you?”.