Over the years I have had many relationships and many heartbreaks. This year I broke up with the true love of my life. I never knew someone could break my heart in this way. How could someone be so cruel; so dismissive of my needs; my feelings; my longing to be close to them? When I needed her most she let me down. Sleep: this is how you broke my heart.
We hit it off from the beginning Sleep and I. She was always there for me as a baby and we spent a lot of time together. My mum says we were virtually inseparable from six weeks old. Sadly, my baby doesn’t seem to have the same relationship.
I think my little brother was jealous of Sleep as when he came along, when I was eight, he used to try and and drag me away from her. He was in the room next to me and would cry and cry and more often than not break me and Sleep up. But through the baby years, we stayed strong and we worked through our difficulties. My relationship with Sleep didn’t falter for long.
He used every trick in the book to try and break us up. Coughing was his favourite. He’d cough all night and Sleep would always abandon me. One night Sleep was dragged away from me quite abruptly. My little brother was in distress. I could hear him coughing and Sleep could too as she quickly disappeared. I rushed in to see if he was OK. As I stumbled onto the landing, with Sleep still trailing at my ankles and slowing my reflexes I felt a warm welcoming around my feet. My toes spread as the warmth seeped between them and both Sleep and I were unsure what was happening. Suddenly, Sleep disappeared all together and I was left alone, standing in something warm. Apprehensively, I looked down to realise the disgusting truth. I was standing bare boot in my brother’s sick. Vomit. Actual vomit. I blame Sleep. If she’d stayed close to me, this would never have happened and I would be still tucked up in bed. But no. There I was ankle deep in puke. ‘Muuuuummmmmm’
I remember through my teens, I could always rely on Sleep. Every morning we’d stay together as long as possible. We’d be together until the very last second when she would be dragged away from me by my Mum. But we always made up for it at the weekends where we were virtually inseparable.
Our relationship was tested when I went to University as suddenly I had lots of other temptations to keep me and Sleep apart. We came to an understanding. We’d always get together on a Wednesday afternoon and there was still the weekend of course. Sometimes she’d take me by surprise during a lecture… that didn’t go down well.
Despite people saying that as I got older my relationship with Sleep would become more distant; it never did. We have spent as much time together as we would in my teenage years. I didn’t see why things had to change. The great thing about being a teacher is sometimes, I could leave school early and be home in time to take advantage of one of our special times. My friend Emma was jealous I think. Often she’d ring or turn up and ring the door bell, trying to get in between us. She called me ‘Dick the Dormouse.’ But i’m not ashamed. Sleep was my one true love and I didn’t care who knew!
Over the years things have tried to come between us. The main rival being Pain. For years I suffered terribly at the hands of Pain. At times Pain made life so difficult that I could hardly move and Sleep gave me my only escape from the horrors of living in fear of Pain. The nights would be so long, unable to find a comfortable position; Sleep would often give in to Pain. Pain was a bully. Pain controlled my life for years. The Doctor gave me tablets, these backed Pain into submission and allowed Sleep to surround me at night, but during the day when Sleep was no where to be seen, Pain would taunt me. He ruined my life for years. Pain was all I thought about. My life became all about Pain. Until finally he was gone. After eight long years of suffering a wonderful surgeon defeated Pain. He was eradicated from my life. Slowly but surely Pain backed away. Every now and then he would rear his ugly head, but slowly over time he disappeared. Once again I could enjoy life and my time with Sleep.
Last year, my relationship with Sleep was tested again. This was the beginning of the end. We had survived the ‘Pain’ saga. But I don’t think Sleep will forgive me this time.
It all started when I was beginning to think about it. It was time to move on. My job was going well, friends and family were close by and I was in a wonderful relationship. It was time to extend our family. We were a family of the three but wanted to be four. I wanted my own baby. And Sleep did not like it. I would beg Sleep not to abandon me, but the more I thought about having a baby, the more Sleep steered clear. Instead of being tucked up with Sleep, I would spend night after night with Thoughts. Thoughts and Sleep just do not get on. The more Thoughts came to visit the less and less I’d see Sleep.
And then it happened. My baby was with me. It wasn’t just me anymore, I had a new life growing inside of me. At first Sleep was really supportive. Those first few weeks were exhausting. I would be in search of Sleep as soon as I got home from work. I needed Sleep more than ever.
But then, seven weeks in, another unwelcome intruder ruined things. Sickness. Sickness is on a parr with Pain. I don’t know which one I hate more. Sickness ruined things for weeks. Sleep helped me out, but Sickness always had the upper hand. Just as Sleep would be slipping her arms around me, Sickness would wretch her away from me. This was no ordinary morning visitor; Sickness was around day and night. I was in a vicious circle of fighting off Sickness and trying to entice Sleep. They fought against each other and it was exhausting.
If it wasn’t Sickness causing trouble then Bladder was the other trouble maker. Sleep and Bladder never got on. Bladder would whisper into Sleep’s ear, every few hours waking Sleep and dragging me up again. Those first few months were a struggle. Being dragged from Sleep every few hours to satisfy Bladder. If it wasn’t Bladder it was Sickness and on top of all that Thoughts still attacked me from time to time.
Thoughts liked to play games with me. The more and more Thoughts visited, the more Sleep disappeared. I was tired,paranoid, anxious and day to day life was a struggle. Carrying on at work was becoming more difficult. I needed Sleep but all my time at night was spent with Thoughts. How would I cope with Motherhood? Labour? Money? Work? Childcare? I battled with Thoughts over and over again.
After a constant battle for Sleep’s attention, I began to accept that maybe Sleep and I would never be the same again. This was the beginning of the end for us. I think Sleep was jealous that I had a new priority in my life. People would say she was preparing me for Motherhood, I’d hear horrendous things like ‘forget the lie ins’ and ‘You’ll never sleep again’ But surely not. It would be different for me;or so I thought.
Then Pain returned.
Six months in and Pain was back with a vengeance. SPD (severe pain down-below) This time Pain teamed up with Bladder and together they made sure that in those last two months Sleep and I hardly crossed paths. Pain was unrelenting. He was there all the time, but especially at night. Pain made it almost impossible for me to move in bed. This is where Bladder was so cruel, as I would need to get up several times a night but Pain was crippling and did everything to try and stop me. But Bladder was just too powerful and would win every time.
And so it went on.
The closer I came to that all important date the more Thoughts came back. Pain never left my side and Bladder was a constant nemesis.
Little did I know that this was only the beginning.
Pain has gone, Bladder has gone but Thoughts still taunts me. Sleep has a new rival now… My baby. She pulls me away from Sleep when I need her so much. I regret all the bad things I said about Sleep. I’d do anything to go back to the pregnancy days. When I thought 4-5 hours with Sleep was horrendous – if only. If only I’d known.
Sleep has left me a shadow of my former self. Deprived me of what I need the most. I am the Marie Celeste. A hollow vessel lacking all life. Floating but not sailing. Sleep has done this to me.
Sleep was the true love of my life. Will it ever be the same again? How could you break my heart in this way? How could you be so cruel, so dismissive of my needs, my feelings, my longing to be close to you? When I needed you most you let me down.
Sleep: this is how you broke my heart.