How A Lack of Sleep Has Affected My Writing and My Life

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Hey everyone and Happy Sunday. Today I’ve been thinking about how my chronic insomnia may be affecting my life and my ability to write. First, let’s talk about how my insomnia got started. It goes as far back as my college days. I didn’t have a set schedule of classes every day. Sometimes I would have a class or two in the afternoon or only one class in a single day or a class in the morning and that’s it. Sometimes a day of no classes at all. Let’s face it the moment I turned 18 I no longer had to be told when to go to bed, so I stayed up as late as I wanted. I was heavily into writing and composing music. Because I was studying it in school for a few years as well as trying to learn how to become a songwriter. When I worked on a particular song, I would stay up all hours of the night working on it because I was a perfectionist. I did the same thing when I used to write screenplays. I would write until dawn and since there were no home computers back in those days, I wrote until my hands cramped up and until the sun came up as well. I would get lost in it.

Little did I know that this way of life would turn into a habit over time. I began to realize that I was most creative at night, and that was when I was compelled to work the hardest. When I started working a day job after College, I forced myself to go to bed early but never before 10 pm. I always grew up with the feeling like if I went to bed earlier than 10, I’d be missing something. Especially if the rest of my family was still up. When I was young, I was able to handle staying up late but through the years I began staying up later and later as different jobs required me to work different hours and it became more difficult to function. The worst being the overnight shift. I have always worked low paying jobs that were in shifts and I learned that over time it can have very negative repercussions on your body and your mind.

Doing shift work in jobs that I hated throughout my life after graduation made me very depressed and I had a low self-esteem. I also began to gain a lot of weight and became less interested in following goals that I had set for myself. I often felt lost and alone. While my friends were out having fun and following their dreams, I was sitting in my bedroom wondering what the hell does God want me to do? It took years for me to realize that my passion was writing and that I was destined to become a writer. Today I feel that is what I truly am and that my day job does not define me. I am a Writer and my day job just pays the bills. My entire life led me to this mindset, but I am still not getting enough sleep.

In recent years I have been through multiple heartbreaks and lost four loved ones all in succession year after year with no end in sight. I have been forced to take on new responsibilities that I am not ready for and all of these things way heavy on my heart, my brain and my soul. Anxiety consumes me, especially at night when the tv goes off and the room is dark, the computer is shut down and I’m expected to close my eyes and sleep until 5 am when it’s time to get ready for work. It’s when it’s quiet that the worry begins when the depression takes over. It’s at night when the silence of the night causes me to be able to hear the devil say things like, “You’re worthless, you’re ugly, you’re a loser and you can’t do anything that you want to do because you’re not good enough.” Life wasn’t easy before and it’s really hard now, the older I get. I guess that’s how life was designed.

My writing has suffered greatly in ways that have caused me to be unable to concentrate during the day, and unable to stay focused. I have the kind of job that allows me to be able to write at work because there’s so much downtime but a lot of times I am downing a lot of coffee in order to stay awake throughout the day. A lack of exercise is also a big part of my inability to have energy, but how can you have the drive to workout, if you’re so tired from a lack of sleep? It’s a no-win situation. Recently I announced on Twitter that I was going to begin journaling in order to get everything out of my head before bedtime so that I can turn my brain off at night. So far it seems to be working. I still went to bed way too late last night but mainly because it’s the weekend, but I noticed that I fell asleep a lot faster and without stress. Maybe I’m onto something. Tonight, I will begin an exercise regimen that will become a nightly ritual since I don’t have time to do it during the day due to my work schedule.

I am hoping that realizing these issues will help me to make some healthy changes to benefit my life and help me to become a better writer as well. My imagination is not as sharp when I’m sleepy and that will have to change if I want to become the kind of writer that I have always dreamed of. That will be my motivation. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes. Wish me luck…

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

That saying might be a cliché now but it’s the truth and I love myself way too much to allow it to ruin my future.

Until next time…