Today I am giving to you the unbelievably exciting story about the biggest problem I have with my favorite activity. Favorite activity you ask? Why, isn’t it obvious?- I love to sleep. Apart from the fact that I need a good night’s sleep in order to function properly and not be a moody mess, I also simply enjoy sleeping. Lying in a comfortable bed and falling in and out of dreams is my favorite part of the day. Lying there, half awake is my favorite state of being. However, the process of falling asleep has been a hard one for me for as long as I can remember. Now there are three different scenarios that prevent me from falling asleep, all involving my brain that has this annoying friend called a very lively imagination. This friend I will now introduce to you.
The number one way in which my imagination often keeps me from falling asleep is by convincing me that there is a murderer in my apartment. Now this would not pose as much of a problem as it does if I were simply scared. But my mind goes places where it really has no business being. I don’t just imagine hearing footsteps and see the murder-weapon clearly in front of my eyes, no, I also picture the moment of murder very clearly. It is not so much that I am afraid of dying in and of itself but the scenarios my mind comes up with for getting to that dead state of ‘being’ are pretty gruesome. It does not make the whole thing easier that when my mind pictures something, I can feel the absolute reality of that moment. This also comes into play when I go through a panic attack on a plane because I am convinced that I see a terrorist and believe that death by explosion is imminent. I don’t just see the tragedy unfold but I feel every little part of it. I feel the gazes of the terrorist looking scared because he knows he will die in a matter of minutes but also angry and proud because he will kill all of us idiots for a greater cause. Then I feel the fear in and around me. I feel the desperation once the terrorist gives up his identity and I don’t know what to do and neither does anyone around me. I feel how everything breaks out into a mess but somehow it all just becomes blurry and I am sitting there inside of myself witnessing this tragedy, all sound gone. I feel the last minutes of my life coming upon me, realizing all the things I have done wrong in my - oh so short - life and I get hot and sweaty and honestly scared to death. I also get this realistic feeling of waiting for the explosion to happen, flinching, wanting to put my hand in front of my face but knowing that it won’t do any good. I go through this an average of one time per flight. I swear my mind is an asshole.
Reason number two why I can’t fall asleep is (as of January 2014): Homeland. I just spent an entire day doing basically nothing but binge-watch season 1 of this fabulous series. Now when I go to bed, of course with a beautiful mind like mine, the pictures don’t stop. It’s one blurry, fuzzy mess. Nothing makes sense but I see Carrie and I see Sergeant Brody and it’s basically all spinning around me. My fingers get tingly and my whole body is a restless mess. It actually becomes a physical experience as well. I do not only get this feeling from Homeland. Whenever I have had a day filled with impressions, filled with pictures, at night, my mind won’t shut the fuck up. And it’s not like I can enjoy the crazy movie that’s playing behind my closed eye-lids. Because IT ALL MAKES NO SENSE! But I can’t stop it either. I am tired as hell but my mind won’t let me go to sleep. Trying to calm my mind by trying to enjoy some nice memories, my lovely friend Imagination simply replaces all the people’s faces in my memories with Homeland faces. What the fuck? In these cases the only thing that helps is getting up, bringing my economy book to bed with me and falling asleep over it.
Scenario number three in which my Imagination prevents me from falling asleep is at the same time one of the reasons why I enjoy sleeping so much. I love to dream. In fact, I love to make up my own stories behind closed eyes. Not passive dreaming but instead taking charge and coming up with my own past and future. And I’m really good at it. Too good probably, because the stories get so good I can’t fucking fall asleep anymore. When I imagine scenarios I don’t imagine general pictures, a few actions and maybe specific faces. No, I –the English major and movie addict- imagine conversations, facial expressions and gestures as well as lighting and background action. When I imagine a conversation I can spend as much as fifteen minutes coming up with the perfect three-sentences-dialogue. I include tone, I include reaction shots, I try out stresses on different words, different syllables. I go back and exchange a word seeing what it will do to the other person, how it will affect their reaction. I like to come up with speeches directed to me by people who are important to me or by people I make up (with complex background stories, naturally) and I search my soul to figure out what I would really like for them to say. I bust my mind to figure out how I should react. And react I always do in a way that turns this whole stupid semi-dream into a dramatic masterpiece. No need for it to be pretty and perfect. I like to construct drama, I like to construct big emotions and over the top story-lines.
Why on earth can’t I just count sheep? I have tried that before and with a mind such as mine, we can pretty much guess what happened. Pastoral drama anyone?
So the only thing that helps, sometimes, is listening to old cassette tapes. Globi, Papa Moll and Kasperli, all Swiss classics (or, when I’m feeling really adventurous TKKG and Die Fünf Freunde). But I can’t listen to new ones. Because in that case I start to actually listen to the story and I want to follow it and find out what happens next, so that me, my beautiful mind and its friend Imagination find ourselves in yet another world with too many possibilities to simply log off and go the fuck to sleep.
Tumblr on We Heart It.