Springingtiger's Blog

Mature Autism – Insomnia

I am not sure whether I have mentioned before that I suffer from insomnia but it’s a subject I am revisiting not necessarily voluntarily. I don’t blame my Aspergers for my insomnia, lots of people have insomnia. I do blame my Aspergers for much of the content of my insomnia. When my mind is racing in the early hours when I should be asleep it is frequently replaying the events of the day and putting them together in a way that makes some kind of sense. Conversations are played back and examined so that I can appreciate their actual content and too often realise why my responses have provoked laughter or confusion. I am not sure at what point in the process I wake up but everything has to be replayed, not only conversations and events, but also the television I have watched, the books I have read. My mind seems to be engaged in an unending quest for meaning and rather than allow me to sleep while it does its work it demands my participation.

My periods of nocturnal introspection are not particularly happy as much of the time I find myself metaphorically kicking myself as realisations dawn. I must admit there is considerable comfort in reaching understanding of things that have previously eluded me, but frustration in the realisation that it’s too late to make a devastatingly witty response when a conversation finished hours ago.

Ok, I started this a few days ago and had put it to one side while I did other things. Now it’s 03:25 and I am so back in touch with my subject. I woke up rehearsing questions I will never be asked rehearsing my reactions to a situation in which I will never find myself. What’s the logical thing to do? Sop and go back to sleep? At 03:00 my brain doesn’t do normal logic instead it does, “You had better prepare this stuff, you don’t know when you’re going to need it!” I think it is reasonable to assume that I am never ever going to be cooking for a panel of restaurant critics and answering their questions, so why on earth am I losing sleep over it? Logic tells me that my brain is somehow processing the news that “Master Chef” is returning, but the way I’m processing isn’t logical and I am utterly powerless to stop it.

I hope there will come a point where equilibrium is sufficiently restored for relaxation exercises to calm me enough to sleep again, but at the moment everything is on heightened alert. I can hear the whole house, we have lots of clocks I can hear several – not all in this room – I can hear the central heating and divers pieces of electrical equipment. To make matters worse the words I know I’m typing are not the words appearing on the screen, so I’m having to go back and correct everything, To misquote the late Eric Morecambe, “I am typing all the right letters but not necessarily in the right order!”.

I know what, eat cereal it’s 03:47 definitely time for cereal – How can anyone misspell, “cereal”? Actually I also misspelled, “misspell” – definitely time for cereal!

The best thing about being fifty-seven is that I don’t have to remain awake in bed for hours as I did as a child. Insomnia was not treated with sympathy – “If you don’t go to sleep, I’ll make you cry yourself to sleep!” – Insomnia is not made any more bearable by tears and a sore bottom, believe me I’ve been there!

I suppose I should be grateful for having an active mind – the alternative is too horrible to contemplate – but at 04:08 it is definitely a mixed blessing! Oh well what should I do now, try to sleep or sow annuals into seed trays? Tough choice!


5 Comments so far
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What a wonderful point–it’s so much nicer dealing with insomnia as an adult–you can choose to get out of bed and eat cereal if you want. 🙂 When I was in school I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with my research reports writing themselves inside of my head. Now it happens with blog posts. Sending thoughts of peace your way.

Comment by nobodyelsethoughtofthis

And you get peace and quiet to write your blog too. Does this mean insomnia is a good thing? I remain unconvinced! Thanks for reading.

Comment by springingtiger

Hmmm…I don’t know if that makes it good, per se. I am just the sort of person who looks for the silver lining so as to not drive myself crazy focusing on frustration. I know I’ve heard that insomnia is more common among people with autism, and I’ve read a lot of things written by adults with autism on the “racing thoughts” thing. My insomnia is related to racing thoughts too,and although I am not a huge proponent of unnecessary pharmaceutcals, meds have helped me tremendously. Now it only strikes a couple of times a month.

And as far as reading goes…I’ve stumbled across your blog before as I’ve been searching out autism blogs. I love reading things from adults on the spectrum. It helps me understand my kids in ways not “professional” ever could.

Comment by nobodyelsethoughtofthis

Indeed. Caffeine would have been a disaster but a couple of glasses of rum did the trick shortly before my wife’s alarm went off and another day began. Napped on the futon – involuntarily – this afternoon. Futons are cool!

Comment by springingtiger

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