I had occasionally experienced the nightmare of insomnia prior to that upsetting, unsettling Fall of 2007 (when the gods of marriage decided to wreak havoc), but that was child’s play compared to what lay ahead.
In fact, what marked the decade prior to our separation was just the opposite–that is, my inability to stay awake. There were our baby girls, whose mission in life was to alternately delight us with their adorableness and kill us with their sleeplessness (how, how, how could both of them–so different in so many ways–insist on being identical in their aggressive nap-aversion??) Even when they finally slept through the night, the little darlings were exhausting–yes, just as young children are supposed to be, but still…
Maybe I was catching up from all that sleep deprivation–or maybe there just wasn’t enough can’t-miss TV to keep me conscious, but there was a stretch of time when I simply could not keep my eyes open much later than 9:20 pm–and that was after taking a little nap from 8:15-9:00 pm while lying with one of the girls as she went to sleep (R was even more prone to those than I, btw.)
Anyway, back to the fateful Fall of 2007, when I won a gold medal in insomnia. (Sorry, I can’t resist the corny Olympic allusion.) As life as I’d known it began to unravel, I craved sleep more than anything, desperate for relief from my incessant ruminating over why this happened, how it happened, how it might be reversed, undone, what would become of us, of me, of our kids, who was to blame, what would we do on holidays, how could we tell our families, why, how, when, when, how, why, why, when, how?
One night I called one of my friends–a chronic insomniac–and asked her for some sleeping pills. I went to her house at around 11 pm to score one precious Lunesta, her next-to-last one. I split it in half so I’d have some for the following night, but the next evening, I couldn’t find the little shard of snooze and things got ugly. I rifled through my drawers and my bedside table like a junkie, then crawled around on the floor, on the verge of taking a crow bar to the floorboards in order to locate that fraction of a pill. I didn’t find it and spent the night tossing and ruminating next to my snoring soon-to-be-ex. The next morning I had my doctor write me a prescription for Ambien.
Once R finally moved out, I weaned myself off of Ambien and learned to sleep unaided once again. Since starting my job last week, I’ve developed a new sleep-related neurosis: I so hate the rude awakening of my alarm clock that I’ve started waking up at 3, 4, 5 am just so I can make sure to turn it off before it rings.
Come on, that scrap of Lunesta has to be somewhere.