Sleep, What’s That? 40 Winks in Crisis


I have no trouble sleeping on aircraft. I could very easily sleep on a train. I enjoy sleeping on long car journeys. At a party not long ago, I was prepared to curl up in the corner of a landing with a cushion. I could probably sleep in a First World War tank – although I suspect that would be less than ideal for a whole heap of reasons. At the same time, I’ve never been someone who could just sleep all day. Not only have I never felt like someone who needed much sleep, and could spring straight out of bed at the first chime of an alarm, I haven’t been one of those people who, I think, can sleep as an indefinite activity: if I don’t feel tired, I can’t close my eyes and automatically slip into a state of sleep. I think some people can; I just can’t.

Recently though, my sleep patterns have been all over the place, and it’s beginning to become more than an inconvenience. When everything fell apart a number of months ago, I became severely depressed, and slept constantly. If I wasn’t at work, I was in bed either crying or sleeping. This phase has now passed. Three or four weeks ago, though, I went through a fortnight of waking up every night first at 3:30am and then at 5am. I didn’t wake with anything on my mind, or a need to go to the bathroom; I just woke up and went straight back to sleep. I presumed it was a belated side effect of Citalopram. My doctor, when I went for a new prescription a couple of weeks ago, explained that this was unlikely to be a side effect, and that in fact it was more likely a symptom of depression – so those feelings were at once back on my radar. Whatever was the cause; it shattered me.

At two hectic and heavily-populated parties of late, I fell asleep amidst all the action. Last night, whilst sat in a bar with a  group of strangers and two friends (whose friends were these strangers) I apparently fell asleep, just sat at the table. My friend said I was like this for about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes?! The bouncer had come over and said that that guy couldn’t be sleeping in the bar, so my friend kindly dropped me home.

I felt so embarrassed.

True, I have had an incredibly intense and busy week. And true, I had been drinking. But this never used to be an issue – seriously: what is going on?

Does anyone else have similar experiences, or any ideas they can share as to what may be causing this? If you do, I would love to please hear from you. I’m going out this evening and I’m worried it’s going to happen again. I genuinely feel like this is going to begin to affect my social life (if it isn’t already) in the sense that I will refrain from going out, because I’m too embarrassed of the embarrassing possibility that I will fall asleep in an embarrassingly-inapproopriate environment.


UPDATE: I did go out on Saturday night. After meeting Geek Magnifique, having to abandon her in a taxi, and making my way to Camden Underworld to see New York’s finest ska band, The Slackers, I went on to meet friends in Clapham. At about half 1/2am I realised that I didn’t know where any of my friends were. So I slept in Waterloo station. It wasn’t even that bad. Zzzzzzzz.

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