Staring Into the 4am Void

Lockdown has been going on in the UK for how many weeks now? Too many. I got ill mid-March and am only now recovering. We very, very strongly suspect COVID-19 but I’ve had so many diverse and weird symptoms, it’s been impossible to tell and by the time testing started, the virus should have been out of my system. One of the things it’s left me with, is even worse chronic insomnia that I already had.

The symptoms I have had include:

  • Initial flu-like fever
  • Wet cough for a week
  • Covid toes (thankfully chilblain free)
  • Loss of smell and taste (I’m still missing part of my sense of smell)
  • Arthritis in my left hand (glad I’m on fibromyalgia meds as I was in tears with the pain as it was)
  • Metallic taste in my mouth
  • Extreme fatigue – more than my usual
  • Extreme fogginess and inability to focus for more than a few minutes
  • Mild migraine-like headaches
  • 3-hours’ sleep a night and no ability to nap

Most of them are now in the past but the insomnia is still painfully present. My friends and I have always joked I live in my own timezone, due to the random sleep patterns I have. And I’ve had several nights in my life when I’ve not slept at night at all. But now, they’re fairly frequent or it’s light outside and the birds are singing by the time I fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion.

I’m sleeping in the spare bedroom — it’s kinder to Mike. If I’m awake, I like to be on my phone and I can’t get comfortable. My medication gives me occasional twitches – the sort that if mild, keep me awake and if a stronger one, will wake him up. If we shared a bed more than one or two nights a week, I think I’d be quickly dedded. He copes as badly as I do with noise and light and movement at night. I’ve found if I’m blind drunk, I sleep but I’ve cut back a lot on my alcohol intake before it became a more permanent problem.

I also take naps. I might now sleep but that time to relax or slow down is invaluable. I have missed out on so many hours of work over the past few months it’s made me realise I’m more productive if I have a lie down and go back to what I’m doing later.

I know I’m not the only one and that insomnia or disordered sleep is common with so many of us. There are a few of us who’ll be messaging deep into the night. It’s a support mechanism: knowing that we’re not alone.

We all have too much time to think, as it is, with lockdown and staring into the void and feeling like you’re the only one isn’t helpful. Having a support crew, however sporadic, is a massive help.

If you’re awake and feeling like the void will never end, or your head is running away with you, message me on Twitter with your favourite meme. If I see it and I am awake enough, I’ll try to out do you. 2020 sucks. Let’s all be here for each other and try to make it a little better.

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