Since last November, this journalist has been struggling with sleeplessness. Itís murder. I get to sleep well enough, but then wake up suddenly in the middle of the night with my heart pounding. Iím anxious and angry (for having been awoken) at the same time. Things were a lot worse in the beginning, but now I manage to calm myself down. It then takes me a while to get back to sleep, and then when I do itís a restless sleep plagued by dreams. You wake up feeling even more tired than when you went to bed. Since going off sleeping pills in early January to avoid dependency, Iíve had maybe one or two nights of deep continuous sleep.
What caused the insomnia? There are several reasons, but the short answer is that itís career-related. Sure, this would (and does) keep a lot of people up at night, but Iím having trouble coming to grips with it, as Iím basically a confident person. Iím also aware that Iím in no way alone. Millions of people have seen their careers stumble and become psychologically bruised because of it. Many, on the other hand, get back on the horse and may be even happier in their new job. Still others stay unemployed for far longer than they want to, which is especially tough if you have children.
Iím in no such trouble. I live comfortably and have actually been doing some good writing, which is important for my pride. And I will continue to do my best to keep things that way. Along with freelancing (and blogging for that matter), Iím applying for a new job of course. But that process is less than satisfying, as employers in my industry seem to be holding all the cards (How frustrating the job search can be, may be the subject of another blog). I have no choice but to remain patient.
So why am I sleeping so poorly? You may say that that this is to be expected when something as important as a career is not settled. Thatís undoubtedly true, but whatís baffling me is how sensitive Iíve become. Iíve been in tough spots before and never had trouble sleeping. I get the feeling that a bad habit has set in: Just the other night I had no reason to worry, or reflect on anything in particular, and yet the same pattern of sleeplessness sets in. Iíve been told that my condition is a function of age; the older you get, the less carefree you are because of all you experienced and all the insight that goes with it. That is also true. But I donít understand why someone who believes in himself like I do is forced by his subconscious to think about his situation at night!
Of course, Iím doing all I can to counteract the insomnia: exercise, cooking (which I find relaxing) reading to let my mind wander, even yoga which is very relaxing when I do it. I have all the support I need from my friends and family, and Iíd like to thank them all for it, as I certainly would be a lot worse off than just tired. Perhaps writing this blog is part of the solution.