In early 2008, actually right around this time, mid-May (graduation season), I stopped sleeping. At first it was just that I woke up throughout the night, at the slightest noise. Then I'd wake up at noises in my dreams. Then I sort of just stopped sleeping altogether. I kind of lightly napped. I was aware that I was exhausted and was lying in bed with my eyes closed, but also acutely aware of time passing and the fact that I wasn't asleep. Overall it was about ten days. I am sure I got quick snatches, little 30 to 40 minutes at a time. But for all intents and purposes I was a zombie and was done.
I reached out to my network of feminist lesbian witches (like you do) for a solution. I made an appointment with an acupuncturist. An extremely sweet and very woo-woo white hippie lady who lived on the edge of Chinatown. She was totally effective and definitely altered the course of my life, etc. I won't get into it, but part of my therapeutic regimen involved moxibustion and using a Tiger Warmer on certain parts of the soles of my feet every night before bed. It worked.
What I think was so insane was that we had an intake session beforehand where she'd ask me really strange questions ("Can you describe your burps?") and took notes about different parts of my body, past illnesses, and then finally the reason I was there to see her: insomnia. I told her I was very anxious, and woke up often in the night. She nodded slowly and made a very sympathetic face, and said "So, you are being visited by panic, in the night?"
This woman totally got me.
What sense of enormous relief. On my way home from my first appointment with her, I called my boyfriend at the time, whom I'd been sort of fighting and breaking up with.
Scott: How was it?
Billy: Oh, my god, Scott. It was amazing!
Scott: Are you sleepy?
Billy: I'm not exactly sleepy, per se. But I feel like something... shifted, or something. I feel like realigned.
Billy: You should totally go.
Scott: Did she tell you that? Was the acupuncturist, like, 'You shouldn't be with someone who doesn't believe in acupuncture?'
It was a dumb, snide joke, but I remember realizing at the time that that was totally true. I could never love someone who didn't believe in acupuncture.
Anyway I've been pretty much unable to sleep this weekend. Except Friday night, somehow. It's awful and I feel pretty miserable about it. BUT I am home in bed now, and my Thai food just came, and I am going to watch cartoons and take a big bright blue sleeping pill and I am going to e-mail my acupuncturist in the morning and give this whole thing a hard reset.