Thursday, July 25, 2013

How can you sleep when you can never be still?

Ok, so I never had the hyperactivity that's so common with ADD, hence my continued use of the term "ADD" instead of the newer, technically correct, "ADHD."  But think about the most active, hyperactive, bouncing off the wall child you can think of, and that's what the inside of my head is like.

A couple years ago I saw a video where Mark Gungor is explaining the differences between the male and female brain.  To me that could be the same thing as the difference between the ADD and the "normal" brain.  My first thought was "that's totally true!" but as I watched my husbands calm thinking, and saw him go into his "nothing box" each night before sleep I found myself wondering "what would it be like to have a nothing box."  I'm jealous of his ability to think about... nothing!

Mental calm comes so rarely to me.  It's rare for me to have less than 2-3 things swimming around in my head.  Right now, I'm writing, watching Chopped, and there's ALWAYS a song running around the back of my head (right now the theme from the original Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers).  When I was a child I was the outwardly calm one.  My sister was athletic and always on the go, while my dad was totally surprised to find that I could sit still and play on my own for 10 minutes at a time.

I was outwardly calm.  I remember laying on the couch with my head hanging off the edge for ages, lost in my imagination of what it would be like to walk on the ceiling, a world where everything was upside down.  In school I rarely had trouble sitting still, but in my mind I was likely to be zooming from planet to planet.  Thinking back, I think at least one teacher actually sat me with other kids who had hyperactivity, possibly hoping I would be a calming influence.  Looking back I think their energy actually fed my imagination, all the undiagnosed ADHD kids in one corner.

But at night I had a horrible time falling asleep.  I was tired and I WANTED to sleep, but to get my brain to stop was nearly impossible.  I remember spending hours laying awake in the dark, trying to imagine myself to a place of calm so that I would fall asleep.

With my mind always on the go like that, it's even more important that I get plenty of sleep.  After all, it's the only time my brain gets to rest!  I would say it's the only time my brain is still, but not even then.  I have extremely vivid and detailed dreams.  If I ever got them written down I swear I'd have plots for hundreds of books or movies.  Sometimes I dream something wonderful only to wake up and promptly forget it, but often I remember my dreams for years.  Where most folks can get by with 7 hours or so of sleep a night, I'm really better when I have something like nine.

Of course now as an adult and mother, I rarely get that.  I'm also generally tired enough so these days I don't have trouble falling asleep, but it's not uncommon for me to wake up around 3:30 in the morning (or whenever the baby wakes me up in the middle of the night) with to much going on in my head to get BACK to sleep.  Often I can't get back to sleep until I work through those thoughts, get them processed and out somewhere.  A good half of my blog postings have been written during these bouts of insomnia, so thanks for giving me a forum for working through my thoughts.

Oh, and just because it's SO true...

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