Back around my last major bout of insomnia, I discoverd the Bare Naked Ladies' song Who Needs Sleep. The crazed tempo of the chorus resonated as the fluffy (albeit catchy) pop version of how insomnia feels - not very deep, recurring thoughts flitting through the mind like an insistent melody that just won't leave.
These days I'm also able to link insomnia to Kumbhakarna (of The British Library's The Sleeping Demon Kumbhakarna above). It's not so much because I am a Hindu demon about to go head to head with against a monkey army (even if that would be good material for one of my weirder dreams and also makes me wonder if any of the monkeys I've dreamt about were veterans), but because the picture captures for me the feeling of my mind being prodded with pitchforky thoughts that keep pestering away even when the rest of me wants so badly to just sleep.
If you would have asked me Sunday night, I would have said Kumbhakarna got a sweet deal being cursed to six months of sleep at a time. I know that it resulted in being poked awake by an alarm clock of pitchforks and what look in the picture to be giant spoons, but around 4 a.m. when I was still awake, I think it would have sounded like a fair trade.
It's funny the things that run through a person's head when she cannot sleep: mental to do lists, recordings of conversations, song lyrics (Freedom is coming - freedom, but apparently not sleep). The worst part is that feeling of "something's bothering me, but I can't quite pinpoint what it is, so I guess I'll just stay awake FOREVER (and ever, amen)." My past bout with depressive prairie insomnia (the worst kind of insomnia!) tells me there's nothing less sleep inducing than trying to will yourself to sleep. Sometimes it's better to just get up, but being up when you really are tired and know you have to get up in the morning is unpleasantly pressure filled.
Thankfully, this was just one night and my days of long-term insomnia are far behind. Because I'm on the precipice of pre-geezerdom, my internal clock is now totally off from my night of non-sleep. What happened to the days when I could be out all night, come home, take a shower, and go teach at class at 8 a.m.? I can only sighingly say that I don't now and fight the urge to yell at some kids that they should get off my lawn. On the up side that sort of thing is tiring and might guarantee better sleep tonight...