Thursday, September 23, 2010

Speaking of Sleep and Delirium...

…here’s a fun story.

Brian and I had been dating for about six months—not really a long time in the scheme of things. This particular night, I fell asleep at his house (which happened to be just across the street from my parents’ house where I was spending Christmas break). Anyway, I woke up in a panic about midnight thinking “where am I Brian must go home late parents leave.” Brian was, of course, woken up by my panic. Upon sitting up, however, my head started spinning, my stomach was torn up by nausea, and my vision went black almost immediately. It felt like I had been hit by a giant wave in the middle of the ocean and was now underwater and seasick to boot. I immediately laid back down. “Must go home.” I tried to sit up again, but was foiled by the same sensations. At this point, I noticed Brian looking at me strangely. “I feel sick,” I said. “Every time I sit up, I feel like I’m going to barf.”

To this he replied, “What is wrong with you?”

“I told you already! I’m sick!”

“Okay, KT. Calm down. Stop freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out! I’m sick! Help me get to the bathroom. I’m going to puke.”

Brian just looked at me like an idiot. He appeared utterly confused and slightly terrified. I sat up again. The nausea and blackness was a little better this time, so I said, “Fine, I’ll just do it myself. Whatever!” I got up and staggered out of Brian’s room towards his bathroom.

“Hey, just come back here!” I heard him say. “What is wrong with you? Why are you acting this way?”

I reached his toilet and collapsed onto my knees in front of it. I tried to puke, but my nausea was gradually subsiding. When I felt it was safe to leave the vicinity of the toilet, I walked out only to be greeted by a spinning kitchen when I left the bathroom. I’m no stranger to fainting, and I knew that passing out was in my immediate future, so I laid down on the ground and gradually lost consciousness. I couldn’t have been out for more than ten seconds because I awoke to Brian standing over me saying, “Oh my goodness. Stop being such a drama queen and get up off the floor. Seriously.”

By this point, I was rather furious at him for his lack of proper boyfriend-ly care, so I practically yelled at him, “I passed out on your kitchen floor! I’m not being a drama queen!” Suddenly, understanding dawned on his face.

I think this is the point in the story when we should rewind and see the ordeal from Brian’s perspective.

Brian is spending the evening with his girlfriend of six months. Though she has been an emotional wreck for the past month (alas! if only he knew what awaited!), their time so far has been relaxed and low-key. They both fall asleep. Sometime around midnight, he wakes to see his girlfriend laying there with her eyes wide open, trembling and breathing heavily. She is wont to panic upon waking, so he isn’t particularly worried. She surprises him though, when she sits up suddenly only to immediately lie down again. She sits up again and says, “Kngsd skfne dbgnfe.” She lies back down and sits up again. “Ansde dnewp mgnpwe.”

To this he replies, “What is wrong with you?”

“Nepws ndpedb! Sndmpw sdnp!”

“Okay, KT. Calm down. Stop freaking out.”

“NDJWO PETKWE! FNPWIED! Ndlsewe mpes djpwe. Jnelsp sdquwn dnfpe.”

Brian begins to get frightened. He runs through the possibilities in his head. Demon possession? Brain tumor? “Maybe she just finally snapped…” he thinks.

“THIENRW SNEF! WHDFEOWR!” She stands up and staggers out of the room, running into the wall before actually making it through the door.

“Hey, just come back here!” he yells after her. “What is wrong with you? Why are you acting this way?” He sighs. He hears her stumble into the bathroom and is a little worried about what might be happening in there. He waits a while longer before leaving his room. When he enters his kitchen, he sees her lying on the ground moaning. “Oh my goodness,” he says. “Stop being such a drama queen and get up off the floor. Seriously.”

She looks up at him, and he can see the anger etched on her face. “Uh passssed ut on yer kich floe! Uh’m not been a dramer queen!”

This was the moment of understanding. He helped me up, and we slowly parsed together the story. I realized that nothing I had been saying had been comprehensible. He realized that I really wasn’t insane or demon possessed. This was his first time experiencing my sleep drivel and my first time realizing that I couldn’t actually speak upon waking up. By now, I was actually feeling much better. Brian walked me home to make sure I didn’t pass out on the way.

The end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Sleeping Together

I am a terrible bed-buddy.

I was under the impression that I would be an excellent sleeping partner. I have perfectly acceptable past experiences in regards to bed-sharing. When I shared a bed with my little sister while on vacation, she was the one that tried shove me off the bed in the middle of the night. Whenever I was forced to share beds with a teammate during track road trips, I always woke up in the exact same position in which I fell asleep—on my stomach with my arms curled up beneath me taking up approximately one-fifth of the width of the bed.

It turns out, however, that all these instances were simply the result of being uncomfortable enough with the idea of sleeping with another person that I coerced my subconscious to keep my body in check while asleep. Here are some important facts about me and sleep:

1) I have nightmares.

2) I wake up a lot.

3) Upon waking up, I am delirious. I lose all ability to problem solve and rely entirely on instinct.

4) Though I am delirious, I always feel entirely coherent and logical.

5) But seriously, I’m totally delirious. Can’t even speak.

So our bed is old and crappy. It sags in the middle, so there is a cavernous pit that eats us both every night. It’s also hot in our apartment a lot. But I’m always cold, so I always want to sleep under the covers anyway. This is what a typical night look likes:

I tell Brian goodnight and then roll over under the covers. I wake up halfway through the night and see a husband lying next to me. “Husband!” I think. “Must cuddle!” I throw myself at him. When he doesn’t move, I assume he hasn’t woken up. The next morning he will assure me that he did. I wake up a few minutes later and think, “Must let husband sleep!” So I roll away (taking a portion of the blankets with me). I wake up later after a nightmare. “Husband will save me!” I attack him again, only to roll away with shame (and more blanket) later. At this point, it really has begun to get cold in our room, so I wake up and snuggle under the blankets with just enough cognizant thought to remember that I am a notorious blanket thief. So I throw my blankets over onto Brian to keep him warm. I succeed in waking him up. This process repeats itself throughout the night.

Last night I decided to do things differently. I was going to be a good wife and let my poor husband sleep. So I took my good-bed-sharer stance right on the edge of the bed. When Brian came to bed, though, he shocked me awake so my first reaction was that I should move over (because typically I would have been enveloped in the cavern in the middle of our bed). However, since I am insane upon waking up, my thought process was “ROLL OVER! FAST!” So I did. And I smacked my lip on the night stand. I began making sounds probably best represented by a lot of As, Gs, Hs, and gurgling. Brian asked me what was wrong, and I clearly said, “I hit my lip on the night stand.” When he didn’t understand me, though, I realized I must have actually said, “Thgsde lkjnde dsgnfnskdnf suewfs” as usual. I’m getting bored of writing this story, so I’ll just say that I got really mad (because when I have so many sleep-amplified emotions unable to escape due to my inability to communicate at all they just kind of turn into anger) and hit the nightstand and scared Brian and then went to sleep and ended up having a nightmare and attacking Brian for comfort in the middle of the night anyway.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Being Married

You know how when you turn ten, you are so excited to finally be in the “double digits” of age? But when you finally turn ten, you don’t really feel that much different even though you still think you should. So when someone asks you if you feel any different now that you are finally ten, you say, “Yeah! It’s great!” The same thing happens when one finally becomes a teenager, but by the time people hit their “sweet sixteen,” they usually begin to realize the truth. People continue to ask the “How does it feel to be…” question, and it becomes a sort of unspoken community inside joke. “How do you feel now that you’re 21?” “I feel hung over!” “How does it feel to be 40?” “Old!” Har har.

Well, I was fooled yet again. I’ve finally learned that I feel exactly the same at 21 as I did at 20, and I rightfully predicted that I would not suddenly change into a more mature adult after my college graduation. For some reason, though, I was under the assumption that something would magically change the moment I got married. I talked to Brian about this after the fact, and he said, “What exactly did you think would happen?” To which I replied, “Uhhh… like, feelings and bonding… but mostly bad things and stuff.” I’m not always very articulate. Luckily, as I have already hinted, I was not one of those girls who got married to a creep thinking that the magical change of marriage would make everything better. Rather, I married him with the almost-conscious but quite vague fear that everything would change and all the good things would become bad and he’d realize he hated me all along. Or something. Most of what I think doesn’t make a lot of sense if I actually decide to apply logic.

But guess what? Nothing changed! I thought to myself after the wedding, “Now that I’m married I feel so…” and I completed the sentence several ways in my mind. “…exhausted from not getting enough sleep.” “…glad to be going on a vacation with the person I love.” “…excited to see my friends from college again before who-knows-what.” I felt no magical new emotional connections, and Brian had not given me any reason to believe he’d suddenly get sick of my shenanigans. All the little annoying things Brian did before we got married remain, and they still manage to annoy me. But he still makes me laugh when I’m frustrated at him so I can’t be mad anymore. He still doesn’t understand my train of thought when a misplaced wallet convinces me that I am entirely inadequate and will never be successful and probably shouldn’t have kids because of the genetics I’d be passing on to them plus I’d probably leave them in the car. But he still hugs me and tells me it’ll be okay when this outburst inevitably ends in tears.

So if anyone is thinking about asking me what it feels like to be married, it feels exactly the same as it does to be engaged or dating. Except Bailey isn’t around to do my dishes.