Watching Fight Club, I always sympathise with Edward Norton's character at the beginning, at least when he is talking about insomnia. When you can't sleep but really want to, it is horrible. I've never had it as bad as the Fight Club guy, but insomnia doesn't need to last a week to be unpleasant. A single sleepless night can make you feel like the world has gone out of sync.
You aren't quite awake as you stumble through the hours. Your eyes look but don't completely register the images they capture; you look without seeing. People talk to you and you hear them, but when you try to listen not much stays with you. You suffer through the hours, eyes half open, finding that every single light just wants you to know how fragile and sore eyes can really get.
Every moment of silence is spent with no thought at all. The moments in which no one speaks to you and you don't have to concentrate on anything, those are the moments you are awake but not there. Saying you are sleeping with your eyes open isn't quite correct, because it is more like you are on stand-by mode. Nothing registers in your mind at all because you don't even realise you are awake. Your body knows it, but your mind isn't entirely convinced.
I once fell asleep at around 1 am, only to awaken at around 4 am. Try as I might I was unable to fall asleep.
I couldn't help but think over and over in my mind "I have to go to school in a few hours whether I sleep again or not."
I did not sleep again, I just lay there, watching the sky go from black, to gray to blue. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, the sun was warm but not burning. It was a beautiful day, and that is all I remember of it. I recall feeling cheated because I was destined to zombie walk through such a lovely day.
I'm not sure if I even wrote any notes that day for any lessons. I don't even know what lessons I had, I just remember that I had both History and Geography at some point because I took the opportunities to look like I was listening intently to what the teacher was saying. Even when I am doing a sleep deprived zombie walk I can still give our History/Geography teacher a decent Yes-Miss-I-have-an-intense-interest-in-this-subject-and-I-am-learning-more-from-you-talking-then-I-ever-would-from-writing-anything face. Keep that face on and the lecture/bookwork ratio will shift.
That day was a blur; people talking to me, my responses hardly intelligible, teachers talking at me, words dancing and swaying on the page of a book as if they would rather slide around the white sheet of paper then allow me to read them. In every classroom I would stare at the hands of the clock on the wall as they ticked , seemingly slower and slower. The second hand would move so slowly it looked like it wanted to go backwards.
By the end of the day when I had finally gotten home, I collapsed on my bed and realised all at once why I had to zombie walk through the day. All day since I got out of bed without finishing my sleeping, I had just been awaiting the moment when I could catch up. Sleep was no longer out of reach like it had been at 4 am, because it had been waiting all day for me to arrive. This time it was ready to be my means to an end. And how I loved it.
No I am not suffering insomnia now, it is New Year's Day. People stay up late on New Year's for some reason. I can get away with that in the holidays.