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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin MacShane

Note on insomnia.

I can safely say that there is little more spiteful than the trick your own mind plays when you are desperate to sleep. I have no doubt that it is due to my uncertain position in life that I find sleepless nights a regular fixture. The restlessness that gives rise to noticing my filling bladder or the minor itch in the middle of my back can only be caused by a deeper sense of unease that provides plentiful ammunition to a bit to the rear-right side of my head. I feel its location whir away as I stumble over the hurdles of thought patterns. Made-up stories, memory lanes, intimate moments, regrets, longing and earworms tumble one after the other, only to be slowed by a conscious effort to clear my mind. Do I focus on nothing or focus on positive thoughts? But these are only surface level. My body is generally in agreement, the muscles heavy, the temperature rising then falling, a dull paralysis is at odds with the nervous energy that ignites the irritated part of my rear cortex. I flash into some sleep, the loose thread of a dream. I don’t know if this is REM. Whichever cycle, it taunts me with the potential of being well-rested. Frustration, in even greater intensity, possesses me and abruptly my body is awake, enraged. I curse, beg, plead for release. The bed is too hot, the duvet too heavy. The pillow is crooking my neck and my knees are too knobbly. It’s all the mind. The front part of me plays a reverse psychology – this is almost boring. But the yawns are not out of boredom. They’re out of this dreadful curse that seeps morale and dredges up all manner of cruel, capricious anxiety.

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