When you have insomnia, you learn to live with a certain kind of loneliness. You might not even really notice it after enough time. It becomes routine, some bizarre extra limb that you barely even realize you have. The ache isn’t sharp, but it still sits in your stomach. In your bones. Weighs on your eyelids, but not enough to close them all the way. It’s just…there.
It begins a slow creep each night. Little by little. It increases every hour with every goodnight. Every sleeping body that isn’t yours. Social media activity quiets. Facebook becomes a ghost town. It’s just you, the insomniac, and maybe a few others who are scattered across the world. Those who are awake with the sun, while you look up at the moon. This moon, a friend you used to find so enchanting once upon a time. Back when she was just a beautiful sight and not the only one still awake with you.
When you have insomnia, you begin thinking too much. You think about how much you’re thinking. Shit. Stop. You try to stop. Silence your thoughts. You try to meditate, breathe, remind yourself humans are diurnal creatures. You were not made to be up at this hour. This wasn’t in your design. You cannot sustain this. Stop. Stop thinking. Your brain begins to hum louder.
Insomniacs fall into nostalgia too easily. When it’s just you, you and all this lonely, you’ll start to dive into memories you normally wouldn’t in the daytime. You read old messages. Replay conversations. You shame yourself. No. Stop. Stop thinking. You play out possibilities. You count each crack in the ceiling and assign a mistake you’ve made to each one. Insomniacs can’t escape. You can’t escape your own mind when it’s the only thing you really have.
So you sit. You toss. You turn. You Google. You end up on random Wikipedia pages, store away little tidbits about dinosaurs or conspiracy theories. You look at old photographs. You laugh at old text messages.
You watch the clock. You can feel it ticking in your skin. It’s a reminder. It eats away at you. Tick. Tick. Mistake. Think. Regret. Tick. Tick.
The ache always sits with you. You don’t even have to be alone. Maybe there is a body holding yours. The touch, the warmth, it’s all there. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough when you’re the only one awake with all these thoughts. You have learned how to be next to someone and still numbingly lonely.
But maybe you are awake for a purpose. Maybe you just have so much potential, so much to think about, your body isn’t quite ready. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. And when you feel that hollowness spreading throughout your bones, when you are so positive nobody out there could understand how you feel. How you ache. How you thirst for something as simple as sleep. I want you to know, I’m there with you.
I’m there with you. Two insomniacs, lonely together. Maybe we’ll cancel each other out. Maybe we’ll meet one day, under a moon that never falls asleep either and you will tell me about your restlessness. I will tell you about the nightmares I have while wide awake. We’ll laugh at the absurdity of it all. We’ll be okay.
But until then, my friend, I wish you sweet dreams. Whenever they find you. Because eventually, they will find you.