THE NEW XANAX 07/07/2008
 

West-Yorkshire, England


i have a lot of anxiety.  in fact, you might call me the honorary queen of anxiety.  i have it for no specific reason and it never leaves.  most of you who know me already know this.  you may also know that to combat said anxiety i have tried many things both natural and pharmaceutical.  pharmaceutical being the favored child.

over the years of remedy-seeking and trigger identifying i have noted that my anxiety on any given day mainly saves itself up for the last hour of my day (aka "bed-time").  in the past my "bed-time" regularly varied from around 11:00pm to maybe 4:30am -- or perhaps once every two days, depending on the current job and living situation.  but regardless of what hour bed-time comes, that hour will be the hour during which my anxiety hits its peak for the day.

i have, however, noticed that for the last four nights i have gone to sleep smoothly and soundly with very little winding down required.  i have, in fact, slept entirely through the night all the way to a mid-morning alarm (something my previously insomnia-riddled body and mind is unfamiliar with).  and i know exactly why i'm sleeping so well:  i am away in the country -- and i am not watching television.

if you'd have suggested to me in past years that my sleep issues might subside if only i would move out of the city, i would've laughed at you -- that certainly was not the cause.  my need to be immersed in cluttered culture had nothing to do with my anxiety or sleep trouble.  likewise, if you had suggested i would feel better if i just spent a day or two not watching TV or back-to-back DVDs of The Simpsons, i would've thought you quite ridiculous.  after all, nothing makes me feel BETTER than watching repeats of Lisa Simpson half-closing her eyes in disgust and uttering words like "specious" and "apt."

but while there is no one remedy, perhaps the combination of several failed ideas yields one successful one.  leave home, get out of the city AND stay away from the TV at the same time.  it seems simple enough.  i am not at home -- i am currently amongst the quiet hills of West Yorkshire, England -- and the supply of company and intelligent conversation has lured me away from the TV entirely.  i have spent several nights in a row eating, drinking, talking and -- wait for it -- READING. 

and my sleep has never been better.

to be purely honest i'll admit we tried to Tivo an episode of The Simpsons, but we didn't set it right and it didn't record, so I honestly have not watched a single program, not even random world news.

so there it is.  the answer to your generalized anxiety and sleep trouble.  leave your home, go stay in the country somewhere, totally avoid turning on a TV -- and perhaps throw in a few chapters of book-reading.

how many people ACTUALLY have the luxury of being able to do that?  not many.  not to mention the fact that if you DO leave home, wherever you stay will eventually BECOME home, thus requiring you to keep moving.  so it may not be the perfect (nor permanent) remedy for your poor sleep and anxiety, but for a few days you may be able to decrease your usual dose of Whateverzepam by a milligram or two.

i don't think one needs to feel "normal" every day, but being reminded of what it feels like every once in a while?  that's cool.