Going on more than 48 hours of no sleep is a pretty gruelling experience.
It happened around last week, where for the life of me, I just wasn’t capable of sleep. No matter how tired I was, no matter how long I closed my eyes for, every fibre of my being would just not let up. It had gotten so bad, I started to feel parts of my body breaking down, and getting sore. And to this day, I’m still dealing with the ramifications of a teetotaler’s version of a purely psychological bender. And to this day, I’m still uncertain why it actually happened.
Insomnia itself is a pretty common symptom of mine. The idea that people can fall asleep five minutes on a bed is a far-fetched luxury of mine. Give me even two hours and my mind and body will still find a way to treat sleep like the current wave of fat acceptance. And this wasn’t the first time I went over two days without sleep – but boy was it a gruelling enough the first few times. The constant headaches, the drowsiness and sometimes the sharp alertness, the unsettling nature and the games your mind plays on you when you don’t have any sleep. The soreness your body feels and the dull pains that arise on your insides. Sometimes, even my brain convinces me of ludicrous things that strike at the heart of my fears and desires.
I’ll admit there was one moment of saving grace that had occurred which had possibly saved my life (or at least what was left of my sanity). I remember that it was 3am and I was sitting in bed. I checked my phone for the weather. It had been a constant low to mid 30 degrees constant for weeks and sometimes days of unbearable humidity, which contributed to my inability to sleep. The forecast was predicted to be the same. I dreaded the thought – “Great. Now I’m going to go three days without sleep”. And as any millennial hypochondriac with a penchant for tech savvy research, I decided to read up on the possible symptoms of going over 72 hours without sleep.
“At 36, 48, and 72 hours without sleep, your body and your mind begin operating in altered states that put your health, and your life, at risk.”
Gee, that was encouraging. Sleep deprivation might as well be promoted as an extreme sport like wearing fluorescent coloured clothing in… any occasion. Basically if I went any further, it was most likely that stuff like my organs breaking down, hallucinations and common daily tasks would become challenges for me. I even read an article that said that I could’ve died! Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m barely hanging on to ensure I survive long enough to see another game being released for the Nintendo Switch. Or more truthfully, I promised myself I’d live long enough to travel the world, save the world in some capacity, find my place and tribe, and experience true love. So hey with all those factors considered, I should be immortal at this point.
I was frightened though. Genuinely scared. A twisted thing my mind did was that it convinced me that if I had slept at one point – I probably wouldn’t wake up again. Sometimes the mind is your best friend, or it’s a character from Mean Girls, always sniping away at you to consolidate your insecurities and until you become attached or dependent on it. Or is that just my mind? I was too scared to reach out to anyone. What if I was crazy? People had other things to worry about. And my social circles were conveniently quiet. However it goes without saying, that once I revealed my quandaries – so many people reached out and I’m grateful for that.
Whether it was divine will, sheer dumb luck or just an altered state of consciousness, I did feel like there was one point where something decided to give me a break. A few hours after I checked the forecast, I felt a very slight gush of cool wind come through the windows of my bedroom. Following that was the slight sounds of rain drops that fell on the glass of my windows, roof and surrounding pavement and fence nearby my room. I wearily, with cautious optimism checked the weather forecast. It was 5am at this point – and now instead of forecast expected at the mid 30s and sunny (degrees celsius for all you U.S readers tuning in), it was low 20s and cloudy. In just a couple of hours – the forecast seemed to change. And for my sake, maybe for the better. It was a bizarre coincidence that I was talking to a friend at the time about my issues with the weather – and I had joked about wet day timetables (teacher talk for pretty much hell at the workplace) and now rain had fallen.
Even as it moderately poured, I rushed outside my backyard and decided to soak in the rain and took videos of my relief. And what a sweet relief it was. No matter what the origins that lie behind this sudden transition – it was one that benefited me. Maybe the cooler weather would help me sleep. A divine blessing from the Gods? Just mere probability that Melbourne would finally relent with it’s miserable humid and warm weather to miserable cold weather? It remains a mystery – but at this point – this mystery might have been thing to truly saving my life.
Instead of taking photos of the moon and gazing upon the stars early in the morning, I was dancing and being drenched in the rain like a burning man on fire. This however, was a temporary respite – I called into see the doctor on the same day to see if we find a solution to this problem. It was still a struggle, however I managed to get an hour. After 55 hours of no sleep, this hour was like an oasis in the desert. Brief, but completely necessary to survive.
The universe works in mysterious ways though…
To be continued in Strange Conversations and Connections (Part II)