Today’s episode is brought to you by insomnia. Additional funding is provided by autoimmune disease.
I do not have chronic insomnia. I just can’t sleep sometimes. I remember once when I was a little girl, probably only 11 or 12 years old, I was at summer camp and I couldn’t sleep. I woke up my counselor (thoughtful, I know) and told her I couldn’t sleep. She said, “That’s ok, just lie still so that your body can rest.” I remember being frustrated as I “tried to rest” for what seemed like hours. Since then, I occasionally am awake in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s because I have something on my mind. On a few rare and blessed occasions I have been almost propelled out of bed by the need to write. That’s exciting! I wake up out of a sound sleep with an idea and I can’t seem to get to the keyboard fast enough. In those moments I have written lyrics, letters to my children, poetry, and yes, even blogs.
Tonight is not one of those nights. Tonight I did wake up out of a sound sleep, but not with an intense desire to write. Actually, I had an intense desire to go back to sleep. It was 1:45am when I first looked at the clock. Now it is 3:45. I really did try to “just lie still so that my body could rest.” I tried that for the first hour. Then I got up and had a snack. That sometimes helps. My kids like to tell the story that when they were growing up they could always tell if I’d been up in the night because there would be a box of graham crackers sitting on the kitchen counter. Graham crackers are magical sleep medicine — it’s true. Since I’ve been gluten-free, I’ve had to resort to other snacks. Tonight I actually toasted a gluten-free waffle. I ate it, read some Facebook posts and went back to bed. Again, I tried to “just lie still,” to no avail.
I finally said, “God, is there something you want to talk to me about?” I was still for several minutes. Cricket, cricket. “Ok, well, let me know if you change your mind.”
This wouldn’t have been a big deal a week ago. If I was up in the middle of the night any time in the last eight months, I would just sleep late the next day. No big deal. But, guys, I am now a working girl! The past two days I have had eight hours of training each day. Both days I came home, put on pajamas, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed — exhausted! So what am I doing up in the middle of the night!? I have no explanation.
But now that I am awake, my pain is keeping me from going back to sleep. Since the weekend I have been having what I call a ‘flare’. It is mild. Some flares have put me in bed for a few days. This one is not to that level. Those around me can’t even really tell that my symptoms have escalated. As with most autoimmune diseases, my symptoms are mostly invisible to others. I have psoriasis — but not in places that you can see. I have eye irritation — but even eye doctors say that my eyes look fine. I have joint pain — but xrays reveal no inflammation or damage. I have the sensation throughout my body that I have been dipped in IcyHot. Finally, I have fatigue.
But I can’t sleep.
I think I’ll go try again. I will lie down, say a prayer, close my eyes and wait for sleep. If it comes, I will rejoice. If it doesn’t, I will grab a book and read for a while. I know that eventually I will sleep.
…He grants sleep to those He loves.