Friday, February 22, 2013

Into the 59th hour of sleeplessness and other things I wish were fiction

It's entirely true that as I write this, I'm now past 58 hours of sleeplessness.

Being an experimenter, I wanted to see what I could do in this state, yet I don't even know what to test out.  Thinking in preparation or any type of project is hard.  It's exactly like looking into your mind for answers your know are there and they've locked themselves away down in a locked part of your subconscious.  The conscious mind itself is devoid of activity, mostly.  I'm only relatively aware of my immediate surroundings.

None of us are strangers to fatigue--the monopoly on insomnia is not mine--yet this is a level that I have only passed maybe 10 or 15 times before.

Typically, as is the case tonight, the force that keeps me awake is physical pain with some arthritis problems that I have in my spine.  What happens isn't all about pain, though.  For some reason, as my lady would testify, once I've gone 36 hours awake, I often get very nervous about sleeping until after 48 have passed, and then I can (or have to) crash.  It's this odd feeling, like since I'm so exhausted from having been awake for 36 or more hours, I fear I'll sleep so hard I'll die.

Ever heard of anything like that?

Well, might as well try a few experiments here or descriptions.

I'll start with one truth here; the importance of any opinion piece--of any blog, really--is immediately diminished after only being awake for just 24 hours.  One begins to wonder, "Why bother?"  While I can easily wonder that while fresh, I can quickly answer, "Because I like it.  I like to share the experiences of life and get feedback and maybe help to spread understanding in my own little way, through my own little insights; one more flavor of chips in the vending machine, Kevin's mind tries to be."  That's generally the feeling, but right now, it's like I can't even understand what a blog is.  I wonder if I ever really did.

The TV is on; I usually watch stuff on NetFlix because I can get my WWII stuff and science stuff through that, and it's a really cheap subscription of around eight bucks per month through the Wii, added to our meager satellite plan.  I hear and see it, but it's harder to understand not only what I'm looking at, but to figure out what I think I'm looking at while also taking in the auditory information simultaneously.  I find myself watching this Hitler underground caves/roadways special and although the story is well-told and quite factual, I often forget what the documentary is about.  Is it about bread lines?  Wait, that was more of a Russian thing.  Oh, it was his bunker; no, shit, this is about his larger underground factory, transport and hangar systems.  Ok, got it.  Now they are talking about gas penetrating into the shutters  yet before that, they said why it wouldn't work, and I can't remember why that was.  And this was literally stated to me 20 or 30 seconds ago.  Every frame is starting to look the same; rocks, caves, underground with modern-day scientists/flashback to WWII, sometime in early 1945 before they surrendered, those clips mostly come from.  The narrator, who speaks perfect English with only the very slightest English accent, seems to be saying nothing.  I catch words.  "Rejected, empty, nothing, shelters, air raids, humidity, authorities."  In a sentence, this documentary, which I would normally rate about an 8 or high 7 on my need-to-know scale as it applies to my interest in that part of history, isn't making sense, and won't be remembered by me, I suspect.

As I sit here typing, I'm making more mistakes than usual.  My fingers are moving slowly, compared to my normal medium speed.  I often don't look when I'm typing, right now, with my head laying back on my recliner as I type.  To look, as I am again now, makes my neck feel like it's trying to support a pallet of cinder blocks   The typing mistakes, normally limited to one word I have to fix in a paragaph, are popping up every 3rd or 4th word on average.  I'm losing my ability to think and execute the motor functions of the type required to type.

There is a general fuzziness to all I see and hear, like it's not really happening here, but in a recording from a week or two ago.

I'm disturbed more by sensory issues.  While the normal moderate to severe pains of my conditions rule the largest block of my perceptions, still, it is not them that make my skin crawl right now.  It is other things.  It is the feeling of my socks on my skin--I don't like it, they feel like sandpaper and they are actually very nice, padded, Carhart socks, not a month old.  When I put my right hand on my mouse pad, I can feel a cool dampness from where I have sweat on it, and I can't stand it.  I have to get up now.  It has been about twenty minutes, I think, since I started this post.  Time--the accurate perception of time... that's the first thing to go after even 24 hours.  At this point, I nearly have no concept of it.  I just guessed that I had written about six paragraphs, with lots of pauses and mistakes.  (I just counted; it was technically eleven paragraphs, and that tells me a lot).

I'm taking a break now; just for one moment.

While on a break, I tried to remember what the date was and couldn't.  I guess the 21st, and that was only one day off, and that's actually not bad for me.  I also realized on my five minute break that I was writing this whole piece more for me.  It's a reference piece--not just to show my difference in thinking and writing performance but so that I can look at areas of the novels that I have written and possibly recognize when I was writing tired, for better or worse.

If I honestly try to compare this state of mind, right now, to my state of mind when I've had rest and a coffee, I can actually do that pretty well, at least I think.  I realize how broken (I just had to think for at least 15 seconds to decide on the word "broken") my thoughts and the resulting writing is between the two states of alertness.  Not just from paragraph to paragraph (if you asked me to summarize, right now, what I had said in my first few paragraphs, I have no idea and I'm not cheating--I think I introduced the challenge of the fatigue as I saw it and how it would affect my writing, but I don't remember.  I literally cannot remember what I wrote 20 or 30 mins ago in this very post) but from word to word and sentence to sentence.  A regular question that rises in my mind as I write all this tonight is, "Where are you coming from with this sentence from the last, and where are you going to go?"  I have yet to answer it, except on the break, when I sat in a dark room with no stimulus other than cold (an enclosed back porch).

I know I should write more--I know that this could become valuable to me, this knowledge of how the sleepless Kev has written--yet it holds dramatically little importance in my mind.  I need to get the socks off, and stop thinking for a while.  Maybe I'll write another post hours from now.  I know I should.  I know, deep down, there is value in it, however trivial.  But right now, the dominating thought of this state of mind is the constant thought that I don't care.  So, until later.  (I will spell correct; there are many to be done, which is not at all normal for me--I will not move paragraphs around, restructure, or correct for dashes, hyphens, or other silly stuff).

If you bothered reading through this, I hope you don't feel your time was wasted.

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