A Dreamless Sleep

 

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Isolations – Felicia Chiao

 

The past few weeks I haven’t been able to write, at least not for this blog. Work, homework, work, global pandemic, and more work have kept me from being able to sit down and put words on the page, to spread my thoughts across digital space in any meaningful way.

So what has happened in the course of several weeks deep into a quarantine?

Me sitting at my dining room table, on my computer, having to act as if the world wasn’t falling apart. Seeing fewer and fewer people as the streets become barren, all except those people delivering those much-needed packages to our mandatory hermits. The quiet returning to the city as the people stay situated in their homes. A silent panic that is not communicated in case it may carry the disease along with it. I’ve been watching the world pass by from that chair, day and night as I slowly lose sleep over all the work I’ve been saddled with. Spending my days in a with my eyes burning with no dreams to be found.

I can’t avoid the reality of my situation, but in the same way, I also can’t fully process it. The world is happening but it doesn’t totally fee,l like anything is really moving. Like a world in stasis, waiting for someone to call out surprise, just kidding, it was all just a ruse. But it’s not, none of it is, it’s not some illusion that will be ripped away with time. No, this is real, the damages are real, the people are real, the hurt is real.

I’ve been sitting here, staring at this screen, counting the pixels as the clock strikes 4 and 5am, knowing I should be sleeping but knowing I just can’t. It’s these dreamless nights that I’ve been experiencing because I have not time for dreaming. Life is going too fast and too slow all at once. Nothing is moving but I am still drowning in the work and the things going on. Coming up for air whenever I can but swallowing water just the same. People are scared and for good reason. Not just for themselves but for their family. It hurts, just for me but the people I know, not able to hug or to mend, not able to console or to grieve. It’s not just breaking apart society, it’s breaking apart community and thats the hardest part.

We fight hard against these waves that will keep us away from one another. Soon enough it will all be just a piece, of history we will tell our children. But here I am, at home, for another day, wishing for the world outside, knowing always it can kill me, just a little bit more efficiently this time around.

 

Road To Recovery – Road 2 – Pain Management

Robin Har – https://www.artstation.com/saboteur

“These are the times that try men’s souls”

– Thomas Paine

It was there staring at the ceiling that I realized what trouble I was in. Being pumped into were drugs I’ve only heard of in news stories for their role in the recent opioid epidemic. I can be honest, there was part of me that was scared of what could happen to me as a result of these addictive substances, but at least for the moment, it made the sharp pain in my back and chest fade away. This though is the least of the pain, the one that has so much easier to manage.

When you’re hurt you become very acquainted with the ceilings of whatever room you are in. Flat, clean, colored, and pockmarked, each had to have been planned to look uniform and unoffensive to the eyes. It’s in them that I been thrust into these quiet moments, a standard silence that can turn into a mania of the mind attempting to quell the thoughts and energies that were left unspent during the day.

It was easy when I slept most of the day, where I would close my eyes and hours would drift away as my body focused on healing the muscles and bones that I disrupted when I decided to play with hunks of metal and concrete. Even when I left that sterile place, and made it back into a bed of my choosing sleeping was easy, regardless of the several hour intervals, I would be required to awake and take a dose to keep to the pain from getting any worse. I was not afraid of this pain, pain of the body I can deal with as I have all my life. My tolerance for this pain is high because I know I can always push through it. It’s in the echoes of my mind that issues arise.

It’s when sleep when not would come and that my mind wandered that this second sense of fear arose. I had beaten the drugs that threatened to hold me down but what would help me now in this time of need. In a darkly lit room, minutes feel like hours as the stimulus of the plain white ceiling would never be enough. My go to would be to reach to my phone for some reprieve, but I know that the LED screen would take more from me than it would give. The echos of pain as I had nothing else to think about would resonate until all I could feel was the bruising on my back, and the inability to breath.

I have laid there wishing that I had spent more time learning to meditate and praying that the quiet would return. In the wee hours of the morning when no one has any business being up, I would sit there staring at the ceiling, thinking about life, liberty, and where my happiness my now lies. The one consolidation is that I am crazy enough to tilt at windmills so as thoughts would come I promised myself to explore them. Once I allowed these thoughts to come and sat there with them for a while they became less painful and more pleasant. Like concentrated daydreams, thoughts manifest without the worry of everyday reality to bog it down. The ceilings drift away as my mind was allowed to paint the picture it wanted and dance as it needed. Sleep became easy because I was not worried or scared of these thoughts anymore, they are part of the process as I learned to enjoy them.

Pain itself is only a hindrance if is seen as unnatural or antithetical to the process of healing. Though some pain is immense it a reminder that my body is hurt and there is healing needing to be done. So embrace the pain as part of the process, see it as a testament of strength because each day that passes and we push forward our lives will fill the void that the pain has wrought.

I want to end with another quote, the poem Invictus about the struggles of being brought bare and not letting yourself be destroyed by the circumstances we had found ourselves.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Hendley

A Current State Of Dissatisfaction

It was there, gazing out the window at the world as I realized that I couldn’t really appreciate what laid beyond the glass. It felt like a violet sunset on the horizon, and my emotions were setting like the sun only to give way to the cold and dark. Dissatisfaction is what rings out; dissatisfaction with where I am, with what I do, and how much I am able to do.  If you have ever read my past blog posts this should be a familiar theme that persists through the paragraphs.  Why should this be such a big problem now of all times when it hasn’t been a problem before?

My problem lies as there is no reason to be dissatisfied, in fact, I should be elated and yet it feels as if my body and soul are hesitant to this.  Waiting for the day when all can be right. The unknown keeping me from really feeling happy because I know happiness may lead to more sorrow in the future.

It’s a lack of control with all these forces whirling around me sucking the oxygen out of the air as I feel my breath trying to choke me. There are too many things up there in the sky above so when I get a moment to catch my breath all it feels like is that I’m wheezing. I tossed them all there when I had the energy to fight but now I am trying to catch them as they fall, hoping nothing breaks,

Days after days I keep on with this lingering mood, attempting to break free of it’s hold but as look above it appears the clouds are following me and that I should prepare for rain.

It’s when it gets cold that it I really seem to notice things. The chill of the relationships around me as I push them away for space and a supposed peace. All I want to do is sleep, even when opening up my eyes in the morning, it seems all I want to do is rest which I can’t seem to get.

This dissatisfaction is pulling me down with all its might. Like ice below my feet, I am getting stuck within its waters. I don’t know why I feel this way or made it happen so I’m waiting for the sun to rise to regain my strength… or maybe I’m just waiting for something to distract me long enough to make me forget that I am freezing.

Deferred Respite.

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There is a story in a book I read long ago, a story about two monks who devoted themselves to god and cloistered life. These two men though, having seen enough of the world to know of its beauty and wonder craved travel and adventure outside of the monastery walls. For them, it was hard to choose between these two loves, love of God, and love of the world. Even though they were happy with their decision to join this religious order, they both knew that they without the prospect of travel their devotion would wane as it would be seen it would one love taking away from the other. So these two monks hatched a plan, every spring they would plan to travel that following fall, to leave these monastery walls and go out into the world. Once fall came around, they would feign excuses, talking about how it wasn’t a good time to go and plan for to travel in that next spring. Years and years passed without the monks ever leaving, though the prospect of them doing so was always around the corner. They felt content, knowing that soon enough they would travel, without actually needing to leave.

This story came to mind because I’ve been talking about resting these last several months. To be honest, I haven’t been making a really active effort to become rested.  It’s because of love that I don’t sleep. I love psychology, and all that I am doing, so much so that I want to do everything, but in wanting to do everything.  In this want there comes a time to where all there always more deadlines.  Nothing really stops, and since it doesn’t stop, I haven’t either.  I keep deferring this rest, to the point where I feel wasted by it.  Stuck in a daze of work, pushing forward through habit.  I keep telling myself, next month, next month will be the one where I get to take a break and breath easy.  When this magic month comes, I don’t know but I keep deferring knowing that this time I spend will pay off in something. I am tired, both in mind and body, I know I need rest but if I have to keep going to get what I want.

Yeah, if I keep going, good things will happen.

I’ll rest later, once this is all over.

That’s when I’ll get to breathe.

I can keep going.

Rest will come.

I just don’t know when.