Thursday, April 14, 2005

insomniac theater

****WARNING: strong opinions and very very very personal emotions are contained in this post. the ideas may be offensive and upsetting to some. read at your own risk.***

insomnia is not your friend. especially when you're in vet school and have a test accounting for 1/5th of your grade in about 6 hours. i can't sleep.

ever since i was about 18, i've been an inconsistent insomniac. i can't decide if it stems from stress (probably) or depression. it just comes and goes. it's been particularly bad this week. i've spent at least 2 hours every night trying to fall asleep. i usually only manage to around 3am. at this point in the week, i feel perpetually stupid and slow. my brain only seems to work in spurts. not good for my grades. or my already fragile mental health.

part of what's keeping me up is my recent obsession with my own death. i have no idea what brought it on this time. i'm always - at some low, background level - aware of my own mortality and the ever-creeping nearness of my own demise. there isn't a day that goes by that i don't reflect on my own death to some degree. as an agnostic (?) - i don't believe in heaven or an afterlife or reincarnation. i wish i did. that would make my own death easier to accept. instead...i believe that we just cease to exist. as i didn't exist before my birth, neither will i after my death. at night - when my brain is winding down from a looooong day - i return to gnaw (mentally) at the nagging fear and horror of my own non-existence. usually it happens this way...i'll be on the verge of sleep - and then WHAM - i am suddenly filled with a feeling that i can only describe as utter voidness of being. i am confronted completely and totally with the fact that i am going to CEASE to EXIST. that i will never again be alive. that i will never sense, feel, think, or communicate ever again. i will be nothing. the thought usually rends the light blanket of sleep and i am awake, crying and desperate. it's a horrible feeling that nothing else has ever managed to stir in me. it usually subsides rapidly - because i think the human mind can only hold so much knowledge regarding its own brevity - and then some kind of defense mechanism cuts in. it's enough - at times - to make me pray to the god of my youth for intercession - to hear me and help me. but i always get nothing back.

that's what i find interesting about christianity. throughout childhood and church - i saw so so so many testimonials given by people that had hit some sort of personal rock bottom. and at that bottom - they gave up and gave everything over to god. and bam - everything was more tolerable. not perfect - mind you - but life gained meaning - and these people persevered - with God - and got through the bad times. i was never - as a child in church - aware of the possibility that god might not be there. that god might not answer me. or even that god might not care.
well, all you churchgoing relatives of mine - what do you have to say to that? i asked god to help me. and he either was busy elsewhere, doesn't care, is deaf, or doesn't exist. maybe i got a busy signal. maybe god doesn't have call waiting.
i've hit bottom so hard that i felt like i had halfway pitched over the edge to being dead - and i cried out for help. and there was nothing. doesn't really gel with the whole testimonial/rock bottom/jesus help me ritual from church, does it? for those of you who don't know - but would like to know more about my own private neuroses - i'll tell you. i've had panic attacks so bad that i hallucinated - so bad that i was absolutely CONVINCED that i was going to die within the next few seconds. so bad that i begged jim to take me to the hospital. you out there (and you know who you are) can blame it on lack of sleep, stress, poor eating habits, lack of exercise - plain nuttiness passed down from an obscure relative- whatever. but it's bottom for me. and when i hit, i gave up. i thought - this must be god's way of saying come back to me- give up, give everything over - and i did. i gave up - tried to turn it over. and nothing happened. no spiritual rest - no small, still voice. nothing. i cried out into the void and the void didn't answer.

i fully expect to get several replies from people on this subject - blaming me - for not reading the bible, for not going to church, for drifting from god - for whatever. but i'll tell you this - I GAVE UP and I GAVE IN. and i fully expected and believed that god would be there to catch me. and he wasn't. and he hasn't been since. and frankly, i've stopped looking.

papa, you can spare me your lecture and spare me the comments about my own self-absorbed-ness and naivete. i'm by no means worldly or knowledgeable so i can only talk about the things that i have experienced. and this has happened to me. i would love nothing more than to believe in god - to believe in redemption of the soul - to believe that there is something after this life. i would embrace anything plausible at this point to get away from the fear and knowledge of my own death. but i can't embrace an idea or a lifestyle to help manage a fear that lives in me day in and day out. why not just join the rest of the masses of people in the world and get xanax or an anti-depressant?

i have decided to think of life as a field trip from non-existence. because really - most of my "existence" is non-existing. i will be dead far longer than i was ever alive. so, i choose to think of life as a short boat trip from one far shore to another. on the boat trip, i have many options. i should make the best of them - because before you know it - there is a dark figure waiting to take your ticket and kick you off the boat. and that's it. the one shot to make it fun. it sucks. jim always assures me that he is okay with mortality - that living forever would be useless and that life would lose its value. that our mortality makes our lives that much more valuable. sad thing is - so few people realize the value of life. they go through it drifting along - miserably unhappy, abosrbed in the mundane goings on - blind to the true beauty that exists in just...existing. and who am i to talk? i let life - school - the small stuff (like a messy house) drag me down. i get bogged down in myself, my own flaws - turn a blind eye to true suffering and true glory.
every day is nearer the end. every day that other shore creeps closer and closer. today i can't make out the shoreline, tomorrow i may be able to see the sand...

well. i think i will stop now. i have much more to say. AS ALWAYS. but i'll keep counsel with myself for the rest of the (ahem) morning. perhaps i'll have more to say tomorrow.

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