They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jun 13, 2011

The Joyous Art of Insomnia...

I don't know if its particularly accurate to call insomnia an "art" but I think that over the course of that past few months if it were possible to develop something like insomnia into an art form, then I have most certainly done it!

I remember a while back when I was either on my way home from the suck or I had just gotten home I wrote a post about how the volume on life had been turned down. How not much of what qualified as problems in the states meant much of anything to me anymore.

Now insomnia has struck! Is it from the war or from PTSD? I don't know, but probably.

Insomnia, if looked at from the proper perspective can be quite funny.

I do believe that on my way home from work the other day I saw a pink deer run out in front of my car.

If I try to focus on an object for more than a few seconds my eyes start to rattle back and forth like a guitar string that has just been strummed.

My American attention span, which was limited to begin with, is even shorter now. So I'm basically in dire need of some ritalin.

However, my ability to lie still, in a bed, with my eyes closed, in a dark room, without moving is unparalleled. I can do that for upwards of four hours at a time without falling asleep.

My balance is fun to watch. I don't know if its from the lack of sleep but when I get up from a bed or a chair it usually takes me about 5-10 seconds now to actually have my balance. In the meantime I do a W.C. Fields sway and try not to fall and bust my ass.

Sleep for me is normally limited to a few restful periods (not sleeping) and perhaps an hour or two of actual sleep a night before something comes alive inside of me and will not let me sleep no matter how hard I try.

My body fought through the consumption of an entire bottle of NyQuil without falling asleep.

My body fought through 9 Tylenol PM's without falling asleep.

My body has fought through regular, average every-day living for 3 days without sleeping.

While impressive, those feats of will were not at all intentional.

Now back to what I was talking about before, the volume being turned down on life and problems in the states not mattering all that much to me. That was a nice way for things to be. You could walk up to me when I got home, smacked me in the face and pissed on my boots and...well I would've kicked your ass into the middle of next week but I would've done it with a smile on my face and I wouldn't have even gotten riled.

Nothing could faze me for those first few months home. I was truly Embracing the Suck. That's when I wrote that post about using those words as a philosophic pillar in my life. Nothing at all could get my blood pressure up. I was impervious to pretty much anything.

Then I kinda stopped sleeping.

At first it was sporadic. I wouldn't sleep for a night or two, then I'd knock off for about 14 hours and I'd be fine.

Then it got a bit worse, I'd end up awake for 3 days or so and then I'd be able to sleep for maybe 3 or 4 hours which I suppose kept me from actually having a psychotic break.

Now I'm at the stage where I don't sleep for about 4 days but I do manage to catch about an hour here and there, plus I do the whole zombie thing of laying in the bed for hours at a time, perfectly still with my eyes closed and just lie there.

This not healthy nor is it particularly fun. Not to mention the fact that I'm starting to have some Nightmare on Elm Street type micro-naps. I don't know of any other way to characterize them. I'll be sitting at my desk at work or at home or sometimes even in the fucking car and just out of no where my eyes will kinda flutter and then I go blank for a few seconds.

That's it, blank. Nothingness. I don't remember any of it. I remember hearing that if you have insomnia sooner or later your body has to shut down and rest itself. I remember them being called micro-naps on Nightmare of Elm Street. So that's what I call them.

Now its not the constant nagging exhaustion that bugs me about this. Its not the sore muscles and bones from not ever truly resting them, its not the pretty much unending dull headache that I always have. None of that really bothers me anymore. You'd be amazed at what you can actually get used to.

What is killing me about all of this is the fact that while my experiences in AssCrackIstan turned the volume down on the world. This insomnia shit is turning it right back up, and sending the decibels into the stratosphere.

In any case, I can't let the simplest things go now. Things that used to just roll off now stick in my craw for days and days. Things that used to not even register now send me into a psychotic rage. Things that might have made me slightly perturbed are now causing me to wallow in anger and hate for days, sometimes a week or more.

But I'm not here to bitch about what's happening to me. What I want to know is what can I do about this shit? Anyone got any suggestions to knock my ass out? I'd give my left nut to sleep for 6 hours straight right now!

But that's what's happening in Mud Puppy land.

We'll be moving on tomorrow.


I love you Mom...


  1. D. Don't laugh...try yoga! It will teach you to calm your mind. Also, no computer, tv, no smoking, alchol prior to sleep. Take a warm bath. Try melatonin. Check with dr before using with prescribed meds.
    Take it easy on yourself; it will get better. Hang on Mudpuppy!!! Love ya!

  2. Hey man, I hear you on the insomnia crap, it blows. It feels like a little valve somewhere inside your head is stuck on. You wanna sleep, but between the racing thoughts and frustration of not being able to sleep makes It impossible. It's a friggin cycle too, hard to break. I ending up getting some sleep Meds from Doc and they finally got me back in the cycle after a couple of weeks. After a couple of months I was good to go without meds.
    I would suggest this highly, because I couldn't get sleep no matter what I tried. If you can't sleep, you fall apart, you know that, Army sleep deprivation studies show it. Anyway, get some sleep dude, you need it.

    Take care Brother,
    Old 11C SFC

  3. Actually, Yoga is not a bad idea to try. You know when you can't sleep your muscles became very tense, yoga helps a lot on that, plus, from personal experience, I believe it actually causes better quality sleep.

    Don't overdo it on medicine, it actually stops working after a while. What about herbal medicine?

    Since I'm a chinese descent, I'm very familiar with the acupuncture method, and I heard it can also be helpful to treat insomnia. Then again, I don't know how you'd feel about being punctured by LOTS of needles...

    I wish I know more about record so far is 72 hours without any sleep, and I know how maddening it can be.


  4. Have you been evaluated for TBI? That can also affect sleep and some symptoms are often mistaken for or overlap with PTSD. Hope you get some rest soon!

  5. And another thing to consider: When has the bad insomnia started? Talk to your doc about it, it might be a side effect from your other meds... He might need to adjust those.
    I had some insomnia when I started taking my meds, it went away after a while though.

    Yoga is a pretty good idea. it helps me relax, too. Don't overdo it though, I dislocated a rib joint last year. And no, I didn't know ribs came with joints either. Hurt like hell though!

  6. I have not personally experienced PTSD. But an adopted soldier who returned mid-2006 talks with me at least once a week. He has PTSD and has suffered everything you mention. Just this weekend he told me it was like a video playing in his mind and he had difficulty finishing any task. He insists he's getting better. MudPuppy, you were one of my adopted soldiers. My prayer for you is -- May God bless you with quiet moments, peaceful days, restful nights, and pleasant dreams.

    Bonnie ( you called me Miss Bonnie)

  7. I have not personally experienced PTSD. SSgt Jeff, an adopted soldier who returned mid-2006, still calls to talk with me at least once a week. He has PTSD and has suffered everything you mention. Just this weekend he told me it was like a video playing in his mind and he had difficulty finishing any task. He insists he's getting better. MudPuppy, you were one of my adopted soldiers. My constant prayer for you is -- May God bless you with quiet moments, peaceful days, restful nights, and pleasant dreams. And may He breathe purpose into your day and help you realize your importance.

    Bonnie ( you called me Miss Bonnie)