One pill makes you larger

May 5, 2013
Riley deep in Dreamland.

One-fourth of a milligram of Ativan will keep me asleep for four hours, almost by the clock.

Which is why there’s always a piece of it at my bedside for those 2 a.m. tosses and turns that are more frequent than ever.

2 a.m., or maybe 3.  My mind whirs and churns, sprints and races, running a mental 10K.

Brilliant thoughts I had just a moment ago fly away into the darkness if I don’t write them down, but if I awaken enough to use paper and pen, the rest of the night is lost. I’m up. So I burrow into my covers and try to get back to sleep.

Futiley.  I just can’t get back to sleep.

I have mid-life insomnia, the curse of middle-age.

Every trick in the book is employed to keep me down The sleep mask to black out the flashing lights and digital numbers that mark our electronic world. Sometimes, ear plugs. A fan provides a cool room and white noise. In fact, the room is cooled to within an inch of its life. Bedtime is the same every night, just about.  No caffeine late in the day.

My bed is huge, firm, comfortable. The sheets are 100% soft cotton. I have more plush pillows than a Persian sultan.

And yet, I’m up hours earlier than I want to be.

I pull back a corner of my sleep mask, look at the clock and calculate: do I dare take a piece of Ativan? What time must I be up? Am I teaching? Or driving? Drinking wine? Can I take a nap later?  Yeah, fat chance of that.

If I still have a few hours, I place a tiny piece of the tablet under my tongue, a trick a doctor taught me to get  into my bloodstream faster. I prefer benzos to those insufficiently studied sleeping drugs on the market today and their weird-ass side effects, like getting up and driving, or cooking an entire meal, eating it and not remembering in the morning.

No worries, as much as I like them, I’m not addictive and I don’t take anywhere near the full dose. Just enough to stop my brain from running its endless loop.

Meanwhile, M’s head is nestled into his pillow and he’s sawing some serious Zzzzzs.

Men don’t seem to have this problem. I’ve slept next to a variety of them over the years and their reptilian brains have no trouble switching off at night.

My own brain is like a nervous bird and then some burrowing animal that delves deep into my psyche in the dark hours of the night. If I get up, I do some of my best writing in those hours.

But oh, how I long to bury my head in my pile of pillows and get an entire night of restful sleep.  {And yes, I am writing this at 4 a.m.}

Phoenix Shop, Big Sur, CA


One comment on “One pill makes you larger
  1. Chloe Jeffreys says:

    I feel your pain!

    I take Ambien, but now my doctor says I need to stop. I guess sleeping is just not in my future.

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