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Sunday, January 28, 2007

awake and dreaming

A long white curtain is swept to the side of the window in my room, revealing large billowy snowflakes falling from the sky.

Everything is lined with white, as if an artist has run around outside with a soft white pencil, beautifying everything in sight.

These days it’s a little easier to get out of bed. I’ve been making changes, keeping quiet so that I can listen to my thoughts, and trying to let my body tell me what it needs.

For the past four years I’ve had trouble sleeping. What started out as waking uncomfortably early every morning, has switched to me waking several times each night, unable to go back to sleep without sedating myself with heavy food: cereal, oatmeal, bread.

It’s uncomfortable habit that leaves my sleep interrupted and my body confused. I wake every day feeling unsettled; I go through the day heavy with shame in my bad habits and unusual schedule. While everyone was having a good night’s sleep, I was up trying to sedate myself, eating up to three bowls of oatmeal in trying to attain a heaviness that would induce me into a state of REM.

I have days where I feel like a walking zombie. Where no amount of concealer can cover the bags under my eyes. Where words sweep through me like sweet nothings.

I don’t like doctors and I don’t like to ask for help. I have tried several sleeping pills. These magic pills that are meant to knock me out for hours at a time, only make me feel groggy and drugged, as I continue to wake through the night, unfathomed by their potency.

More recently I have visited a naturopath and started acupuncture. I’m much more comfortable with the more natural approach to my body, and feeling positive so far.

And I’m making changes, exercising for the first time in years, taking calcium supplements, drinking green tea instead of coffee, trying to work meat into my diet, and sleeping with a mask in complete darkness.

My sleep is still interrupted, but much calmer, and some nights I only wake once. I feel more in control of my body, and that my self-confidence, which started to disintegrate some time ago, is being injected back into me.

I feel better in the mornings. My body is stronger, and I no longer need to pull it through the day.

I’ve realized that if you want to see change you have to fight for it. Life’s little rewards don’t come for free, but they’re there if you’re willing to pay the price.



Anonymous marina said...

Hi. Are you interesting in a link exchange with my blog ?

2:46 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Just discovered your blog and I love it, especially your photos - spectacular. Have you considered submitting to the mirror project?

I lived in Toronto when I was your age and enjoyed the little trip down memory lane. Thanks.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found out that if you go to bed early, than you are more relax to go to sleep and feel more comfortable. The stress just washes away. I have no idea wether this might work with you, but why not give it a try ?


10:45 AM  
Blogger Raj said...


This post mirrors exactly the same struggle that I am going through and have been going through for years. You do not understand how comforting it is to read this. Again this is the gift of a great writer- to make your reader identify with your words.

I especially love the last sentence. It is so true, and I will remind myself of that as I continue to try to make my own changes.

All the best!


1:37 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

anthony- Thank you! Glad to take you back to Toronto. I'm definitely going to submit some photos to the mirror soon as my internet speeds up!

David- I'm a night owl so this is a hard one. I have started going to bed at 11pm instead of 1am...but maybe I should try a little ealier.

Raj- I'm glad we're both not alone on this one. It's always comforting for me too to find someone in the same the whole thing can feel a little alienating.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're so beautiful! and from what I've read you have a beautiful spirit as well. Don't let anything get you down girl. you can go so far!!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Raj said...


I was just on my own blog for the first time in ages- I check yours more than I ever look at mine! But I saw a comment that you made about some quotes I had posted. I am one to take quotations from almost every book that I read, movie that I watch, or song that I hear that really grabs me. How this relates to you is the fact that I am always moved by the quotes that you include in your posts from writers/playwrights etc, and also have noted your own words along with others that I like to collect. I just thought you would like to know that your words are also being used for the same type of inspiration- YOU ARE BEING QUOTED-and to me that is an AMAZING accomplishment! And I am picky about the quotations I cite ;)

All the best Gill!

10:04 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

Thanks for the comment-- funny thing is, I tried to leave a comment last week with some natural sleep aides-- but it didn't go through...

I can relate to you in sooooooo many ways, that is why I love your blog so much.

I was an insomniac until I was 26-27... it was horrible. I have this problem of "thinking too much," which keeps me awake. But, I found that intense exercise, like running helps a lot, also the herb kava kava is amazing at chillin you out. (try drinking the tea oor tincture)

Keep up with the Acupucture and they should be able to give you a Chinese herb formula that could work wonders. Also, baths with lavender (and I like a glass of wine while I am soaking)

Also, in health, I think the mind is number one-- so it helps to slow down (which is sooooo hard in North America) and, stop and smell the roses!!

Ok-- I could go on and on.... hope that helps a bit!!


10:51 PM  

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