Insomnia vs. Somnia

“Somnia” is not a word; “insomnia” is. That’s just English. Non-native speakers (like me) beware. There are as many exceptions to the rules as those that follow the rules. Not only many words starting with “in” don’t have corresponding antonyms that lose the prefix “in”, but also some “in” and non-“in” pairs completely disregard the convention that they should be contradictory to each other. For example, “valuable” and “invaluable”, “sure” and “insure”, just to mention a couple of them. Sometimes one can’t help wondering if the rules are entirely necessary. With the exceptions to the rules being so numerous, what’s the point of setting the rules?

I’ve been having this insomnia for more than two weeks and I am bewildered with this new development. I used to sleep so well. Sometimes even before my head touched the pillow, I would be gone to a dream of oblivion. I could also sleep at my desk during lunch time if I had not had sufficient sleep the night before due to various reasons. My friends are often amazed at my power of falling sleep and I suspect that I am remembered and will be remembered as the person who can sleep, though I’ve never made the inquiries. It would be weird to ask people, “are you going to remember me as the one who can sleep.”

Now I can’t sleep anymore. At midnight every day, I don’t feel that usual sleepiness, though my body feels tired. I guess my limbs are ready for bed but my brain is not. I don’t understand. Can’t the limbs communicate with the brain and send the “ready for sleep” message?

I have been taking melatonin for the last five days. Here’s what I do. I went to bed at 11:30 and try to sleep naturally. If I can’t do that by midnight or ten minutes after midnight, I will get up and take a pill of melatonin 10mg extra strength. Half an hour later, the drowsiness will come and I will fall sleep. In the morning, I still feel a little bit of the after-effect. A little bit of motion and visual impediments is still lingering even though I feel that I’ve already had enough sleep. After 10AM, I will be back to my normal self.

It is said that the incomplete wakefulness is helpful to writing, but I haven’t experienced that so far. Not yet. It is claimed that this is discovered by Freud–in our dream, with our consciousness gone and restrictive social rules not applicable, we behave more naturally and think more naturally. I wish I can write better before 10AM when the remnant of melatonin is still exerting its power over my consciousness. So far it is still in my wish. My writing seems to be impervious to the wonderful opportunity opened up. It’s still as unsatisfactory as before.

Things Coming To Mind While Driving

I’ve had four consecutive days of insomnia, which was barely controlled by taking cold medicine even if I don’t have a cold. Knock on the wood. I will make sure I don’t have cold or flu this coming winter since any cold symptom is a suspect for the more serious COVID-19. It’s ten hours ago I took NyQuil, but still I feel a little weird when driving. I have to go buy some Melatonin today to help me sleep. Relying on Nyquil is ridiculous.

Amazon is building another hub on Route 27, right opposite to the one they already have. It’s a huge block of concrete stretching for half a mile. An exaggeration, really. However it feels like half a mile. Windows so strangely small that it makes one wonder why the windows have to be there at all. I’d thought the chronically chaotic traffic situation on Route 27 would be wracked by Amazon trucks, but that didn’t happen. Hardly any Amazon truck is visible in Edison. How strange. However every day around the time of 9AM and 5PM, there will be a cue of cars in and out of the Amazon campus. That’s it. So traffic is not too bad. Or probably Route 27 is already so bad that even if it is worse, you don’t feel it to be worse. Anyway, the company must have done some clever tricks to keep the traffic situation under control.

I didn’t know Edison Township is named after the famous Thomas Edison for the first two years I lived here. I had imagined or mistakenly thought that scientists or engineers like Edison would live in New York or Chicago. Or if he chose to live in New Jersey at all, he would live in Princeton Township, close to Princeton University. Anyway, I am totally wrong. He chose Menlo Park, a northeastern part of Edison Township, away from the bustle of New York City, away from the academic atmosphere of Princeton. Probably because the real estate price at the time is too high in Princeton and in New York. Edison, while still struggling to test different filaments for his first light bulb, only had enough money to buy a ranch in Menlo Park.

I don’t understand why ideas, mostly bad ideas but still ideas nonetheless, would choose to come to my mind while I am driving. Don’t they know that I can’t write it down or record it while driving? Some have ideas when sleeping–Coleridge for one, Wang Wei for another. Some while drinking. Li Bai for one and a lot of others, like Byron. How frustrating things disappear as if they have never appeared the moment when you stop somewhere and have a pen ready to write down. You find that you have nothing to write down. A blank in your mind which makes you wonder if you have Alzheimer’s or amnesia.

What A Headache

I’ve heard the drill many times before. “Don’t take pain killers for your headache. Stop thinking too much.” “Don’t take sleeping pills. Just listen to music or count sheep.” Among my friends, the general attitude towards medicine is–not to deal with medicine. This is why I often feel it strange that many Asian parents here want their children to take MCAT and go to Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. We don’t even trust medicine enough to take the pills and we will not go to see a doctor unless we absolutely have to. Doctors are like ghosts, who are to be avoided at all time. However medical doctor is a stable and reputable profession. Their children should strive to be a doctor even if they themselves want to have nothing to do with doctors.

For the past two days I had headache and insomnia. Probably the two are not related, but they happened at the same time, which is a sufficient reason for me to tie them together. One probably causes another, or they may have some unknown connection with each other. Some time ago during a rain storm, I heard a loud bang and our electricity was out at the same time. So I immediately thought some explosions damaged the electric wire system not far away. Then I thought these two things might not be related with each other. They just happened at the same time. Should I drive around the neighborhood to see where the exploded wire was? I thought but I was too lazy to take on such a task. Even if the headache is not related with my insomnia, I feel that both are happening in my head. At the usual bed time, I don’t feel my brain is ready for bed. My limbs and my back were showing faint sign of fatigue, but my brain doesn’t have any indication of sleepiness. Now I rarely had headache, except when the monthly visitor is screaming loudly; I rarely had insomnia before, except when I talked too excitedly before bed time, watched a movie and missed the bed time by two hours, or read a book that I couldn’t put down. None of these things have happened and I still ended up with headache and insomnia for two days straight. I got up and took NyQuil PM last night. I didn’t have a cold or flu, but I knew it can help my sleep and I had no other sleep aid.

I heard the similar stories again and again. Somebody who’s diagnosed with colon cancer or pancreatic cancer or lung cancer or even breast cancer, but it’s late stage and there’s no cure. The patient had felt unwell for a number of years, but he or she just didn’t feel like going to a doctor. I actually heard about a woman who’s diagnosed with breast cancer for only three months before succumbing. She must have procrastinated the unpleasant diagnose for years. From the point of the unwillingness to see a doctor, it is natural to climb to the next point of denying one has an ailment. There’s no better way of denying one’s ill than delaying the unpleasant news. Is it possible to underestimate our power of self deceiving?