Insomnia and Inspiration

My depression began as a child. I grew up very poor, in a very violatile home. Tonight, as I do many nights, I'm having trouble falling asleep. It's strange, but more than the sadness and loneliness as an 8-year-old, the thing I remember most about my depression in that stage was the Insomnia.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here I find myself, stuck in the same old pickle. Except....

When I was a child I remember when the insomnia and the anxiety would strike, I would climb in bed next to my sister (who was usually fast asleep) and I would make myself into as tiny of a little ball as I could in the corner of the bed and pull the blankets up over my head, cover my ears to try and drone out the shouting, the partying, or the sirens...and then I would Imagine. I wrote novels in my imagination. I developed full fleshed-out plots lines, typically with tragic and heroic characters, sometimes with sequels. There was Always a doomed love story involved. Something where True Love was found, treasured, embraced...and then foiled by evil or death or stupidity. Perhaps because of my real life history, it has always only been the tragic heroes that I gravitated towards. The flawed, imperfect, sometimes ignoble heroes that triumphed in the end but suffered far more than they needed to along the way.

These stories, though inspired by depression and despair, kept my spirit alive. They were an escape facilitated by my own personal inner despair. I was a child, overwhelmed by the circumstances that surrounded me, and my insomnia became inspiration.

I was thinking about this tonight, because though the insomnia has continued through the years, the inspiration hasn't. I don't know when I outgrew this coping mechanism, but I did. And tonight, I think that is sad. Why? Because either way, the insomnia remains, the depression remains, but at least then like a loathsome caterpillar larvae it transformed itself into something beautiful. Now, what does my insomnia do for me? It gives me countless hours to work my brain in circles that spiral downward into an abyss of self-loathing, or it gives me ample time to waste energy and momentum checking Facebook or playing stupid monotonous computer games. It also provides me with a crazy OCD outlet time to Clorox and clean every last square inch of my home, but the hubby isn't too much of a fan of 2AM vacuuming. (This one is courtesy of both my mother and grandmother, who were both Obsessive Insomniac cleaners.)

So tonight my hope is this: If I must be awake, let me find inspiration. Most of the greatest artists in history suffered from some form of mental illness. I will most likely never be a great artist or writer, but if I must be an insomniac, at least, let me be an inspired one.


  1. I think you should write a novel with these tragic characters that helped you cope. It could be therapeutic and a best seller!

  2. ((((HUGS))))

    I often find myself zoned out on FB. UGH!!

    Hang in there.