By Charmaine Annabelle Mathew, Law Student
It’s been an hour since the marathon began but I am definitely not a trained athlete. The realm of darkness I surround myself in to induce the slumber I so desperately crave is proving to be fruitless. The sound made by the oscillating blades of the ceiling fan competes with the voices in my head in an attempt to capture my undivided attention, but I am numb. Numb to the noise, numb to my thoughts, numb to it all. Unable to see, feel or hear yet I still feel like a helpless victim losing a battle that was never mine to fight.
The palpitations in the cavity of my chest amplify as my mind begins wandering to perimeters beyond its ability. The carbon-black atmosphere beyond my shut eyelids is a breeding ground for my unforgiving brain. A whirlwind of memories began to flood my being; both the good ones and the bad ones and are accompanied by the emotions they evoke. This walk down memory lane feels more like a run, or rather a chase - as the voices in my head analyse and scrutinise my every interaction from adolescence to adulthood. The visuals are spectacular; resembling that of a 90s film and it feels as if I am watching a movie of my life with clips that replay over and over and over again. But all I beg for is the ending credits to play.
If my body is truly a temple, as most religions preach, would it not be simpler to achieve peace? I would consider my temple to be one with the poorest of interiors that lacked consultation prior to construction. My imperfectly structured mind replicates a house of mirrors I am unable to navigate through, with an opportunity for reflection at every corner. I try to escape but it lures me closer, the sensations amplify and course through my veins. The effects are no longer in my head, they gradually escalate to a physical condition at this point. My muscles tighten as my hands with fingertips sore from the constant fidgeting begin to vibrate. The suffocating grip on my throat releases nothing but a silent scream, one that is inaudible and ineffective.
Five hours in and it no longer feels like I am battling a disorder but rather an individual. I cannot see him but his presence is known as he lingers at the edge of my bed. He watches me throughout the night, knows my weaknesses and thrives on my vulnerability. His embrace is cruel and cold yet he yearns to keep me awake for company, a rather confusing concept if you ask me. He keeps me detained, like an animal in a cage with no autonomy. He who is a master of sham; gently caresses my flesh as I begin to drift into sleep only to unleash his true intentions in a matter of minutes. His wrath is harsh with actions that leave me paralysed and contemplating if fighting him is futile. He is in control of my body, mind and soul and I am nothing more than a hollow, empty, human-shaped body.
To label insomnia, my enemy feels like a reach like I am in search of a comforting self-pity remedy. It has been a tumultuous seven hours that have finally come to a temporary end. The weight of my eyelids and my pulsating headache are evidence of the night that has consumed me. I am inclined to curse this feeling that plagues me night after night while another part of me pleads with the cruel figments of my imagination to allow me a period of rest. But those are decisions to make in due time as the sun emerges and my day begins. There is not much to do besides resume the live-action masquerade that occupies my hours before I meet him again.
Featured image: © Vera Silsbury
"Thin are the night skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep"
- Insomnia, By Dante Gabriel Rossetti