“Normal” Is a Setting on a Washing Machine
Have you seen the post on face/book which features the little girl asking her mother what “normal” is? Mommy responds, “‘Normal’ is a setting on a washing machine.”
The analogy works for me, as a guy whom many would find to be anything but normal. Being incapable of sleeping much more than three or four hours at any given attempt, I find myself functioning nightly in a world of muted sound and light, unless the sound is coming at me through my headphones, and the light is blinding me from the halogen-bright bulb inside my brain.
I wonder if that explains why it is that my mind is anything but muted during these expeditions into “normalcy.” I give little thought to what it would be like to go to sleep at night, secure in the knowledge that what will awaken me in the morning is the shrillest alarm clock that money could buy.
Alarm clock? What is this thing of which I speak so blithely?
I generally make an effort to remain in bed for at least six hours, which means somewhere around two in the A of M, I surface. I nurse a couple of cups of coffee, gulp eighteen ounces of water, and have another cup of coffee.
I devote those several hours to any one of a number of endeavors, all involving components of the right side of my brain. This region of my cranium, heretofore locked up and unknown, was recently unleashed when I managed to finally escape the prison of my own mental morass, with its panic attack syndrome and the subsequent diagnosis of my having a mood spectrum disorder.
This brings me to a second f/b post, one that sums matters up, clear as mud. “I hate being bi-polar; it’s awesome!” The truth of the matter is, I embrace my newly discovered side and cherish it, despite the inconvenience of functioning on half the sleep that “normal” people get.
When I asked that nice Dr. Mulligan at the Veterans Clinic in Ukiah for something to help me sleep, she was very understanding-empathetic even-but nonetheless implacably firm in her refusal to grant my request. She informed me that it was not in my best interest to take that fork in the road.
“People get by on four hours of sleep quite regularly,” she said, “and quite well, I might add. Sleep is overrated.” I do see the value of her logic because I am opposed to putting anything into my body that originates in Corporate ‘Merica’s pharmaceutical factories.
I prefer that which originates in my own backyard, guided through its glorious journey from April through October, by none other than myself. When I need it I have it. When I have it I can cope.
It’s those long early AM hours that keep raising the question of normalcy in the first place. Music through my headphones sets the tone for my artistic forays, music which is still reasonably new to me and captivates my imagination as no other has ever done.
With my mind already suffused with the vibrancy of what I am hearing, I write, I fiddle with my photography, and I allow myself the luxury of pursuing any intellectually stimulating path that floats my boat. Hours later, when the rest of the world starts to surface, and I have a cup of fresh coffee waiting for Annie, reality returns, and I go back to the other “Normal.”
Since I have no choice in the matter, I am here to tell you, quite emphatically,
“I hate getting no sleep-it’s awesome!”