I recently received a box from my cousin Maggie (aka my dealer). I had been anticipating the arrival of this box, which contained My Precious, for many days, and every time she asked me, “Is it there yet? It should be!”, I’d re-check the mailbox, then have to walk back to my house, in a depressed state, since it was never there. Humph. (That’s a lie, I NEVER check my mailbox. Thankfully, my husband does. However, did you picture me walking across the street, with slumped shoulders, so disheartened that I didn’t care if I got hit by a car? Cuz that’s how I felt). The package took ages to reach me.
When I finally saw the box (on the kitchen counter, brought in by my husband), I felt the rush of serotonin, creating a chemical surge of happiness, while simultaneously imagining the sound of a trumpet (do do dah DOOO!), and envisioning an angel in front of me, the box cradled in her porcelain hands. Yes, I was that excited.
I tore that sucker open and tossed the box in the trash. I let Maggie know that I had finally received the package and she asked me how I liked the stickers. Stickers??? Hm. I didn’t notice any stickers? She laughed, and said, “Atta girl. You and I will be besties at The Betty“. But she thought I was kidding.
Curious about what she meant by “the stickers”, I went to the trash and plucked out the discarded vesicle. Sure enough, in my haste to get to the goods, I missed out on the embellishments decorating the package. When we go to France, to restock, I”ll have to pick some of these up as well, they’re pretty cute.
Recently I posted about how I tested a sleeping pill, that my cousin Maggie sent to me as a gift, through the mail, in a beautiful fleur-de-lis envelope. I was afraid to try the pills initially, since sometimes things that are supposed to make me sleep have the exact opposite effect. But, after taking one, I found myself pleasantly surprised and perhaps even a bit hopeful about the effects of the drug, which I started calling, My Precious.
Maggie gave me all kinds of advice about what I should do prior to taking My Precious. She expounded the fact that I should ingest no caffeine or wine that day, and I should sleep with earplugs and an eye mask. I didn’t abide by all of those rules, I figured I’d just try taking the pills to see what effect they had, and then go from there if I felt they had potential. No need to skip out on that glass of wine, if the pill wasn’t going to help anyway. Baby steps.
Last night, I popped two of the little French pills down my gullet, around 10.30pm and shockingly, I didn’t wake up until the morning! Not even once, just to pee. I’ve been thinking about this for a good 15 minutes or so, and really can’t remember the last time this happened. So far, so good. I still had some weird dreams, but they didn’t completely drain me of my energy. Side effects included a bit of dry mouth, and also dry eyes. In fact, I think part of my dream involved my eyes burning. It is highly likely that I slept with my mouth gaping open and my eyes open wider than usual. Perhaps the eye mask would be a good idea, after all.
Maggie has promised to send me more My Precious (I’m sure she is on her way to the post office right now. Right, Maggie?!) and is generously sharing her supply with me. Once “we” run out, we’ll have to take a trip to France, to restock. I’ve never been to France, so I am hoping these work, not only so I can feel somewhat rested, but also so I have an excuse to travel.
So, starting this blog has made me pay more attention to my sleep patterns, which I have pretty much brushed off up until this point. I’ve decided that a further investigation of sleep aids, and maybe even a sleep study, is needed. I will call this time period “My Search For Slumber”.
I am teacher, so initially I was thinking it would make sense that summer would be the ultimate time to test different sleep aids, since I’d have the benefit of not having to work the next morning. This seemed pretty important, in case I woke up feeling like a zombie, like I did when I tried taking Nyquil. At least over the summer, me being groggy or snarky or loopy, won’t be putting today’s youth at risk. But, after a bit of thought, and some prompting from my cousin, Maggie, it occurred to me that I am often zombie-like, snarky or loopy, anyway.
In fact, my husband often asks me constructive questions such as, “Are you EVER in a good mood?” To which I huff and roll my eyes. But, I do recognize that I am often NOT in a good mood. I’m exhausted. I don’t have the energy to get everything done around the house. Or to even do something that might be considered fun, like getting dressed up and going on a girls night out. In a vain attempt to get someone else (Husband) to cheer me up, maybe I do complain too much. And, maybe that isn’t fair, to ask of him. It also never works, so I don’t know why I keep trying that route. I’m ok at putting on a façade of normalcy when I am at work. But, that takes a lot of energy, and quite often after the work day is over, I want to collapse into a heap on the floor. Sometimes, this is exactly what I do.
This isn’t to say that I am never actually in a good mood. In fact, I’d say that I AM cheery and chipper, between 30-50% the time. But, on those days, I am almost manic. Hyper. Energetic. Excessively talkative. In one 24 hour period I jog, scrub the sinks and organize my closet. I get ahead on my paperwork. I scrapbook, I sew blankets, make homemade cards, design road rallys, and create elaborate themes for parties, I cut out pages within old books to create secret cavities for hiding secret objects. On these days, I am productive as hell. I am on top of the world! If only I could harness this energy and feel like this every day. (Sidebar: I have an irrational fear that someone will make me accidentally try heroin or meth and I will LOVE IT and feel like this every day, and I will become an addict, my face will turn skeletal and I will develop oozing sores all over my body, my husband will divorce me and I will die a pitiful, homeless, wreck. The horror!) If I see my sisters on days like this, they will ogle me and ask if I am okay. One of them in particular usually tries to make me tone it down, but of course I simply mock her for reprimanding me. This lasts for a period of days to weeks, and then I crash back down to reality. I usually land on my face. It hurts.
So, you might think that I possibly need to test out some other medications, than just the sleep aids. And you are probably right. However, I’m not ready to go there, quite yet (In anticipation of when that occurs, I have already named that time period, “My Search for Sanity”.) For now, I’m hoping that helping improve the quality of my sleep will result in a better quality of life when awake. How could it not?
So, my first test began last night. My cousin Maggie recently went on a trip to France. She, too, experiences some difficulty sleeping, so while there she discovered a French sleep aid that she refers to as, My Pretty. In a fantastic blog about her trip, she referenced the benefits of My Pretty several times and brought home several boxes with her. I like to imagine her scouring neighborhoods for any drug store within a 40 mile radius (or should I say 65 kilometer radius) and buying each and every one of them out of My Pretty. I picture her purchasing an extra duffel bag for the sole purpose of bringing as many My Pretties home as possible, her throwing out the boxes to save room for the good stuff, the case stuffed to the brim with pills, and perhaps a few chocolate croissants or baguettes shoved in for good measure. But, maybe this is just what I would do. She generously sent me a sample of My Pretty, and has been hounding me to try them. She sent me the informational pamphlet along with the pills, but of course it is in French. So, I have no idea what chemicals abound within the little square tablet. Could be carcinogens, neurotoxins, Anthrax. But, it could still be worth it.
So, I began My Search for Slumber last night and popped of the My Pretties down my throat before bed. I always read each night before going to sleep, and after about ½ hour I did notice my eyes getting particularly heavy. GOOD SIGN, since generally I start becoming MORE awake after about 8 pm or so. So, I was hopeful. I woke up 4 times, which is the typical amount of wakeups I generally experience. But, normally upon these wakeups I feel AWFUL. EXHAUSTED and angry about the fact that I am awake. Last night when I awoke, I didn’t feel so bad. So, other than the time I got up to pee (which occurs at minimum once per night), I just went back to sleep. I woke up okay. Not too tired. Could it be? Could it actually be helpful? Suddenly I am referring to this French tablet as, My Precious. I picture myself becoming hunch-backed, losing my hair, eyeballs starting to consume my entire face. I see myself ready to maim anyone who might try to take My Precious away from me. We’ll see if My Pretty really becomes My Precious. I would happily turn into Gollum, if it meant success in My Search for Slumber.
All I want is a good night’s rest. Really, it does wonders. You wake up revitalized, you have more energy for the day, and a greater ability to throw on that positive attitude. You’re nicer. At least, that’s what I have heard.
I have only experienced this phenomenon on a few occasions, typically one or two times per year. It’s like I am an entirely different person on those days. I stare at everyone I encounter that day, willing them to telepathically intercept and answer the burning question running through my head, “Do YOU feel like this today? Do you ALWAYS feel like this?” I really can’t imagine. It is similar to the feeling I had the first day I got glasses. First of all, I remember coming home after I failed the eye test at school in 3rd grade. I was livid. The ladies who ran the tests had no empathy. They didn’t tell me it was okay, or warn me as we went along that I was getting answers wrong. They just circled “failed” on a little slip of paper and handed it to me. Gasp. What? I failed the eye test? What the hell? Those people didn’t even have any business testing my eyes! But, those bitches were right. A few months later when my frames came in, I slid them on and looked around. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were individual leaves on the trees (I couldn’t stop looking at trees, for weeks). Light posts and headlights just look like…lights. There were no gigantic starbursts extending feet from the illumination. I was astonished. I remember thinking, “People actually see like this?” I experience that same overwhelming feeling of amazement when I arise rested.
I have yet to figure out what it is that results in the rare, unimaginably blissful, slumber. Is it a particular exercise I did? Or a particular food that I ate? Or one I didn’t eat? Was it great sex? Or a stretch of celibacy? Was it the glass of wine I had? Or the two glasses? Well, no, two glasses has been tested pretty rigorously, that’s certainly not the magic key. (Dirty Secret: I do keep testing it though. For the sake of science. Larger n = more accurate data). Any-hoo, I have yet to find a pattern.
Nyquil is a favorite sleep aid of many. Even my husband, who doesn’t like to take two naproxen after breaking his nose (he’s done this four times) or pulling a muscle at soccer (he does this weekly), feels that Nyquil is worth taking, if he isn’t feeling well and needs some good rest.
So far, I have found no other nighttime horror to be worse than Nyquil. Not even the itchy twitchies of restless legs. When I first ingest the abominable, green liquid, I feel like my normal self. The terror begins about ½ hour after I fall asleep. Here’s how it goes:
PING! Eyes wide open. Heart racing. I feel … energetic. Like I could clean my entire house. Except, I am simultaneously exhausted. Like I could collapse if I tried to get up. I feel slightly dizzy. I fall back asleep for 20 minutes. PING! Eyeballs back open. Now I feel like parts of my body are awake. Electrical impulses are traveling throughout my body, but they aren’t very coordinated. It’s like the impulses that are supposed to fire together, are firing at different times. Time passes, and somehow, I become both more awake and more exhausted at the same time. The clock ticks…ticks…ticks…ticks…and I attempt to sleep. I keep moving around the bed until my head is where my feet go and my feet are under my pillow. I then roll back around. My sheets get pulled out and are wrapped around my leg. I get up, thinking that will help. But, unlike with restless legs, it doesn’t help. (And, it annoys my cat, who is trying to cuddle at my feet. I know I have disappointed him, by moving, and that makes me cry. Exhaustion makes me emotionally fragile) I hardly have the energy to stand, but I am way too wired to sleep. I go to the bathroom. I look in the mirror. A phantom stares back at me. I yell out loud, “UGGHHHHHHH”. My voice sounds muffled, unusual. My head is cloudy, my ears are stuffed with cotton. I lay back down and twist and turn and moan. Finally, I fall asleep. Ten minutes later my alarm clock goes off. My eyes do NOT go “PING”, instead it is more of a “CREEEEAK”, like a very old, heavy door being forced open. I cry again. I continue to walk zombie-like throughout the day. I cannot think or contribute to anything productive. I am incredibly groggy. I am NOT NICE. The bags under my eyes are so large, they would not be able to be checked, if I were to fly Northwest. It’s ugly.
The first few times this happened, I chalked it up to me just having a particularly bad night. I thought maybe I was stressed, or ate Mexican food (a gluttonous consumption of nachos?) at too late an hour. However, after this continued I finally researched the side effects of Nyquil. Apparently I am not alone, and about 5% of us lucky ones have a paradoxical reaction to medications like this. Basically, the medications have the opposite effect that they should. Awesome. Needless to say, I now steer clear of this medication at all costs. If I were condemned to hell, I think I would be either be driving, while lost, .in a rainstorm, or be forced to take Nyquil before bed every night. After the Nyquil catastrophes, I’m pretty leery of trying the other sleep aids out there.