i don’t think it’s fear, exactly

I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve been behaving lately, with regard to sleep. How I’ve behaved in the past, how I keep thinking about how I might behave in the future… I don’t think it’s fear, exactly, but there’s something…

Sometimes something will come up, like The Machinist, where Christian Bale’s character hadn’t slept for a year, and my mind’s reaction, that instinctual reaction before I start thinking about what I’m thinking, when he says “I haven’t slept in a year” I think something like “that would be great!”

It doesn’t seem to have shipped from Australia yet, but I recently placed another order for modafinil. I’m not nearly out, but the plan is to give the remaining 100mg pills to my father, who often is kept up at night caring for his sick mother, but then also has to be awake and alert during the day – taking a single pill in the morning after he’s had a rough night, he seems to be able to function. I ordered 200mg pills, since that’s how much I need to take for effects other than somnolence, a total of 4x the amount of actual modafinil as my last order, since I ordered twice as many pills with double the dosage each. I do not feel physically addicted to the drug. In fact, it is usually the second or third thing that occurs to me when I’m getting sleepy enough to bother thinking about it, and I don’t think about it at all on days I’ve slept fully, except on the occassional day that I try to figure out how many hours are in a year, lost to sleep. But … there’s something about the idea of not sleeping that does appeal to me.

At night, almost every night, even when I’m not getting anything done, even when there isn’t anything on TV, I’ve read all the websites I frequent, and I’m too tired to concentrate on programming or writing or much of anything, even when I’m growing increasingly tired, I just don’t want to go to sleep. Not yet. And if I am engaged, as I have been increasingly engaged by ‘late night’ TV and projects and sometimes even chatting with people online (as I am doing now in another window), then going to sleep doesn’t even come up until my body is betraying me and forcing my eyes closed and stripping my ability to concentrate. But in neither time is it ever that sleep starts coming and I react in fear or disgust or like, I don’t know, like “No, no, no! I don’t want to go to sleep!” It’s more like … a sense that … well, it isn’t even that I don’t like sleep.

I’m a big proponent of sleep, and of sleeping more. I’ve long encouraged my friends and families and random people I meet on the street and sales clerks and anyone else that came around to sleep more. I never bothered to ask how much they already slept, I just encouraged them to sleep more. Usually up to, but not much beyond, about 12 hours of sleep a day. That’s how I used to say it, too, I wouldn’t ask how much they slept, I’d just say “You ought to sleep more. Get more sleep. Unless you’re already sleeping more than 12 hours a day every day, you could use more sleep. If you look like that and you sleep more than half of every day, you should probably get a doctor.” I myself quite enjoy sleep and sleeping. In a certain way, I wish I was sleeping right now. Being in my bed (yay for laptops), doubly so. You may already know this, but when I bought my first bed, I was serious about it. Between the hardwood frame, the Sleep Number bed, and the fact that it is California King (the longest, largest bed available at the time – I may someday upgrade to the Grand King which is now available, or something custom), I spent over $5k. I’m serious about sleep. I like sleeping, and I like sleeping in, and I like lounging in my bed restfully for hours, perhaps drifting in and out of sleep. (That is a trick I couldn’t do for years and years; I was either awake or asleep, there was no middle ground, and no going back to sleep.)

And yet… I like being awake, too. I don’t like being tired, not really. Being exhausted, physically worn out from hard work is one thing, and very satisfying. This dumb ‘tired’ at the end of the day just because it’s the end of the day is just annoying. What purpose does it serve? I know I most certainly did not tax myself mentally today, not to the point of exhaustion, and barely to the point of feeling more than zombie-like. But I know I feel tired. Not in my body, which just seems to wish I did more with it, and not exactly in my mind, which definitely feels the same way, but… in my brain somewhere, like hunger which comes on a schedule because the stomach had been trained by regular intervals between meals, my brain asks for sleep not because it needs it but because it has been trained.

I haven’t yet tried to go longer than about 72 hours without sleep on the modafinil, partially because of expense. At certain times during the day/night, when my body has been trained to be in deep sleep, if I allow the dosage to wear off, if I even simply do not overlap enough to avoid the drop, I will begin to become perhaps inescapably drowsy and – if I do not sleep before another dose takes effect – hallucinate. As anyone kept up too long begins to, but which I don’t seem to experience at all as long as I have the drug in me and feel alert – which, as I have been experimenting with, of late, can be a very long time after the drug wears off, if I time it right. Anyway, since I’m taking two pills at once of the ones I have now, and they cost 78cents each, and in order to overlap without ANY drowsiness, dizziness, or hallucinations I need to take about every 6.5-7hrs, a wakefulness in excess of 72 hours could get pretty expensive. Just look, if it was 7.2 hours between, it would be ten doses (minus one or two for the first day, wakeful from actual sleep, plus one or two because it’s actually closer to 6.5 hours to ensure proper overlap, and you’re back to about ten doses), which is twenty pills, which is $15.60, which sure seems like two movies, two (free) popcorns, two drinks – or two six-packs of Mike’s Hard. And you get that first day for free, but even if you’re just working all day, just doing that mindless dead-end job, it costs you another six and a quarter dollars for each additional 24 you want to stay awake, which I reckon is about $45/week. My new pills, should be on their way soon, cost a chunk less, about $30/week for that same around-the-clock. And I sortof want to see what that is like.

For a week, a couple weeks, a month, a year. See how my life changes when I get used to it. Right now it’s hard and it’s weird, because my body doesn’t know any better, but if I went a month… I could teach my body a whole new paradigm. I could get that late night, full-time job and pay off my debt crazy-fast, even after the cost of the drugs. Such dreams. Sleep next year, you know? When I’ve got money in the bank. Figure out how to eat when you’re not tied to sleep – I’ve been eating upon waking for so long…

And here I am again, it’s two thirty as I write this sentence, but I’ve been working on this post off and on since 8:30, before I even left work. And I’ve been tired since about 5 or 5:30PM, when the modafinil I took upon waking wore off, but I certainly don’t want to go to sleep. Not yet. I want to finish this post, maybe masturbate, maybe check my stalled-out list of things-to-do and see if there’s anything I can accomplish, I’d like to read a chunk of one of my library books, write a short story that appeared in my mind the other day, maybe listen to the last hour and a half of The Drawing of the Three audiobook on my iPod… but I doubt that most of that will happen. I’ll probably ‘finish’ this post, remember to plug my iPod in for recharging, so I can use it tomorrow at work, and possibly find energy to masturbate, though I haven’t been able to for what looks like at least four days. I’ve been busy since I got home, eating, checking mail and email and updated websites that are blocked from work, then chatting with a young woman thousands of miles away that I am becoming acquainted with and who may be more adamantly walled-off and pushing away than I have been in a very long time, and it has been well worth my time, so far.

Have I mentioned that my hands are at a point in healing where trying to drive a single screw into GWB’s head would cause immediate damage and trouble? Almost back to a point I can work again, though. Nearly there. Then back to work. Maybe this weekend I’ll stay up, watch all of Lost, and screw the rest of my screws in. Then take next weekend off, to sleep, and then … then there’s the Single-Sitting-Book. Have you donated yet? We’re up to $0.25 so far, with a $5 in-person donation pledged. Won’t you support my cause, my crazy?

I’m drawing nearer to that time when I know I must go to sleep, and I recoil from it, I want to stretch that time between now and then, extend it, keep sleep at bay. I want my mind to stop getting tired. It’s like this constant reminder of a weakness or a disappointment, this daily descent from consciousness. But then again, perhaps the feeling is mere inertia; when I am awake, I want to stay awake, and when I am asleep, I want to stay asleep. Simple inertia.

I want to grow a new organ, a new gland, that keeps a steady dose of modafinil in my system around the clock. Did I mention it doesn’t prevent sleep, if you want to lay down and close your eyes and rest, modafinil will let you. At the same time, if you don’t lay down, don’t close your eyes and rest, it’ll keep you from falling asleep involuntarily. Having it in me all the time wouldn’t necessarily keep me awake forever – it would just let me stay awake forever, if that’s what I happened to want to do.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.