How important is sleep?

I once didn’t sleep for two weeks, and ended up in a state of permanent dream where my girlfriend, Lou, was a celtic witch, my friends were nurses and I was restrained in a secure unit.

At one point I was trapped in infinite stair cases, completely unable to comprehend where I was in a house I’d lived in for nineteen years. I could see how the traffic lights were sending signals to the drivers who were keeping watch on me. I tried desperately hard to think sane enough when they were red for the van to get the signal that I was clear, and they didn’t have to take me away yet.

I could see how everyone was staring at me, keeping an eye, watching for one false move.

At one point, my friends persuaded me to try going to a pub. Try to do a sane thing. Convinced that I’d walked into a pub with a BNP general meeting on one side, and a meeting of the St Albans multi-ethnic community improvement trust on the other, I suddenly felt like my dick was hanging out of my trousers. How on earth could I keep the peace with my penis flapping around? I could see that my trousers were fully on, but all I could sense was this absence and exposure. I suspended my knapsack in front of my groin and fled, almost crying.

When I got home I kicked Louise, the only person who was looking after me, out of the house. Thankfully she managed to persuade me to give her a key, but how she managed when I thought she was trying to destroy me I don’t know.

She came back and held me as I cried and didn’t sleep some more.

At one point I was idly toying witeh some fabric scissors, running the blades up and down my wrists exploratorily. I wasn’t trying to kill myself, though a faint part of me was aware that that’s the sort of thing that could happen. I was uncomprehending of the nature of my flesh, and curious what would happen if I punctured it. Burst the membrane between the inside and the outside.

It was just curiosity.

Louise stopped me. Took the blade, and looked terrified.

I assured her I probably wasn’t going to do anything like that, I was just thinking. I don’t know if I was right or not.

All of this is a mixture of dream and memory. I have no idea how real anything that happened in those two weeks was. I must have slept some amount, and I must have dreamed or hallucinated some of the weirder experiences of that period. But I don’t know. It’s impossible for me to thread it together.

Eventually, my friends got me to a doctor. Lou came with me all the way. When I couldn’t talk to the doctor, she came in and explained what was happening.

He prescribed temazepam. It got me to sleep.

Sleep is important.

Illustration by Emma

About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Emma, Questions by Karen. Bookmark the permalink.

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