Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 -- the year I forgot how to sleep

We went to bed at a perfectly normal time. I was extremely sleepy. I fell asleep. I then woke up at four AM, feeling a little sick, and somewhat anxious. I must have woken up my Loveliest as well, and we talked a bit about my condition lately.

I had seen my psychiatrist earlier in the afternoon, and that, I believe, got me thinking further about how I'm doing. I came to the conclusion I had fabricated answers on the little depression/anxiety inventory they give me every visit. What I said was that I had lied on the item about having normal interest in enjoyable activities. We talked about what we could do to help me with that. Lauren suggested that I email my psychiatrist to tell her that I retrospectively wanted to change my answer. I felt guilty about it, and not being diligent with my homework. But I also believe that the stress of the semester (including events like the election) has broken me down. I felt guilty about that, then noted that it's ridiculous, because everyone gets broken down by the semester.

I proceeded not to sleep for another hour and a half. First, because I resent having to do homework, I started thinking about my general resentment of (and resistance to) medical and psychiatric surveillance. Thus, of course, I ran through an interpretation of Foucault's work on power/knowledge as a way of having us pay attention to the cost of this form of social order and civilization. Then I imagined a conversation with someone who rejects what he considers postmodern thought without clear understanding of it.

I got out of bed, walked around, sat down to read a couple pages of The Art of Happiness, and came back to bed, with my brain suddenly running through causes and instigating events of the Civil War. South Carolina's secession weighed on my mind.

I lay in bed, now trying consciously to bring about sleep, by doing what Merleau-Ponty suggested in Phenomenology of Perception: people fall asleep by imitating the behavior and situation of sleeping people. The problem then was that I couldn't figure out what people who are going to sleep think about other than causes of the Civil War.

At 5:30 I gave up and got up again. I read more of The Art of Happiness -- a book I think is an excellent choice for that trick some people do of getting up and reading for fifteen minutes when they can't sleep (ironic, isn't it?) --, glanced at a couple news items, worked a relatively unchallenging sudoku, and have been working on my sneezing.

A week ago or so, someone asked me what my plans were for the break between semesters. I think I'm going to try to learn how to sleep.

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