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Terminal Insomnia

I have been writing about my search for insomnia relief on and off on this blog for a week or so, but the problem goes back at least 20 years. I’ve just never had much luck going to sleep. Part of it is the fact that I have Tourette’s Syndrome and my body is always twitching. But the majority of it comes from a restless mind.

While I was doing some research into the subject recently, I came across a rather chilling term. Terminal insomnia. What in the world was this? I knew that sleep deprivation could be used as an interrogation technique, and that not being able to sleep was highly unpleasant, but I had never before considered the idea that my reasons for insomnia might eventually kill me.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Terminal insomnia simply refers to the condition where you go to sleep, wake up later, and then can’t return to sleep. A lot of people with this condition can even fall asleep quickly, which I can’t do to save my life, unless I’m going under anesthetic. But even if the terminal insomniac is asleep thirty seconds after going to bed, he or she could wake right back up in two, or three, or four hours. Then it’s a long night and a long way to go.

Insomnia causes a lot of bad symptoms, but the largest one for me has simply been that being sleepy and tired makes it so dang hard to enjoy life. Without energy there isn’t as much happiness. Without happiness the life of the person with severe insomnia starts to resemble that of the clinically depressed person.

I’m one of the least clinically depressed people I know, but I will definitely be more cheery when I’m getting as much sleep as I want. Preferably about 18 hours a night to make up for it. Just kidding.

If there’s a silver lining to this right now, it’s that I’m always happy to learn the new word or phrase. The more interesting the better. And I think terminal insomnia is a pretty interesting term. I just wish that nobody had to deal with it, or that it had been cured already. That way we could look back and say “wow that was an interesting phrase. Good thing that’s over!”

But regardless, the experiment soldiers on. I have so far completely resisted the allure of sleeping pills, and that’s a victory in any case, in my drowsy opinion.


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