Swirling Thoughts

I just thought of something…going off my last post–Insomnia.

I’ve always had a really active mind. At night, before I go to bed, my mind is constantly swirling with thoughts and ideas. Everything is just in a huge whirl and dervish that allows me to come up with really good ideas. I write essays and stories very well late at night. I did most of my best writing for college at 2am the night before papers were due (not that I should admit that…now that I think about it). The things in my mind are constantly coming up in new forms and patterns. I constantly have things in my head.

But, at night, when it’s time to sleep, I cannot just shut off my mind. I can’t just go to sleep. I know that isn’t normal. My friends tell me that, my family say this too, that it’s “normal” to be able to just turn off your mind and go to bed. To just stop the flow of ideas and thoughts, to shut down and get the sleep that you need. I can’t just do that though. There are so many things flying about in my head and they just don’t shut off. Shutting off my mind is a talent I never learned how to do.

There’s a pattern even to how my brain goes. When I’m more hypomanic the thoughts go even faster than usual, and when I’m in a more depressed state, they are “slower”. But slow is relative. Even when my thoughts and ideas are slow, they’re still constant and fast-coming. I don’t know what it’s like to have a quiet mind. I’ve never had a time in my life where my brain has been calm and allowed me to just relax without constant worries, doubts, ideas and thoughts constantly crossing my mind. It’s just a matter, for me, of exactly how fast the these things cross my mind and whip through.

I had never really thought about it, until today. I’m exhausted again. Another night of too-few sleep because I was jolted awake at 4.30am by thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t wait a few more hours to push me out of bed. So I got about 5.5 hours of sleep. But I remembered now, hours after I woke up, why I woke up. That’s not normal for me, usually I never know why I woke up, or what woke me up (just like I never remember my dreams). But today I remembered the ideas that woke me up. They’re stupid ideas for a story that I’m writing for fun, something nonsense that I could have dealt with a few hours later in the morning.

I’ve begun thinking that a huge part of my insomnia might be attached to how my brain just won’t shut down. When I take a sleeping aid, which forces my brain to shut down, I sleep quite well. However, unaided…I might do okay on sleeping for only short periods of time before my brain kicks back into overdrive. I know I need to talk to my shrink again about this, but I’m nervous that it means changing my medications, when I’m not having any ill side-effects to these ones, and I don’t want to be put on even more medications. But, perhaps my brain being on constant overdrive might help explain my insomnia.

It’s just a thought that came to me this morning.

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