Day 109: Reflections

Back in late 2007, when I began writing Rapture, I was in full writer’s mode.  I was so driven to write and nothing got in my way.  It also helped that I was going through a severe period of insomnia where I was averaging one to two hours of sleep most nights while working full-time and keeping up with everything else in my life.  Some days I was just barely able to function and would drag through my workday with the intention of going home and sleeping but around 8:00pm, I would be wide awake and ready to write all night long.  I was so driven and lost in my writing that everything just fell away.  Finally, I’d look up and it was 4:00am or later.  So I’d force myself to lie down and eventually fall asleep.  But I’d be up at 6:00am getting ready for work and the cycle repeated every night for over a month.  And even though I could barely function during the day, I was writing seriously quality stuff at the time.  My husband finally intervened because my mental health was deteriorating rapidly, I’d sometimes cry because I was so very tired, he was afraid I’d end up in an accident on my daily commutes, and I was just plain pitiful…except when I was writing.  He forced me to go to the doctor who is still my beyond wonderful PCP.  He tried everything to fix me but couldn’t so he referred me to my current amazing neurologist/sleep specialist.  He tried the obvious medications while waiting for approval from my insurance company to do a sleep study.  I went in and did the sleep study and I was found to have delayed sleep phase syndrome so he prescribed one medication after another…at one point I was even on antipsychotics which I loved because I’d tell people at work to go ahead and piss me off but to remember that I did take antipsychotics and wasn’t sure that they were working.  We went through a wide range of medications and cocktails before finding something that worked.  I wasn’t diagnosed with narcolepsy until a couple of years later and let me tell you the Multiple Sleep Latency Test they use to diagnose it is pure torture if you do have narcolepsy.  You go in around 7:00am and they get you all wired up.  Then you take a series of 20-minute naps every 2 hours from 8:00am to 4:00pm.  Before you nap, they ask you a series of questions and when you wake up they ask you another series of questions to determine how you feel and your mental state.  Doesn’t sound too bad, right?  It’s not for people that don’t have narcolepsy but for those of us that do, it’s a nightmare.  After the 2nd nap, you are so disoriented and you aren’t even sure if you’re going to sleep or waking up and the questions no longer make any sense because of that fact.  Sorry, I went off the rails there for a bit.  Anyway, after we got my nighttime sleep regulated, my writing became a bit of a struggle but I continued writing, however, I wasn’t nearly as pleased with my output or the quality of what I produced.  Shortly thereafter my life kind of went to hell and I legitimately did not have the time to write because of my mother’s fast descent into Alzheimer’s and her multiple hospitalizations because of other health issues, injuries, and complications.  I was working during the day and would be at the hospital all night long and because she had sundowners really bad and the hospital wouldn’t restrain her even after she broke her shoulder socket and elbow when she decided to make a run for it one night so I was once again getting no sleep but I had to spend all of my time watching her like a hawk and, at times, pulling my chair up beside her bed, putting my arm between the rails, grabbing the rail on the other side and holding her down so that I could get a few minutes rest.  When it came time to start writing again, I couldn’t.  I tried but it was all so forced and contrived that I wasn’t happy with any of it and I couldn’t fix it.  I completely gave up.  Fast forward almost 10 years to a few months ago when SARK came back into my life and my desire to write came back full force.  I am still having some trouble finding the time and sometimes even making the effort but the important thing is that I want to write.  Before last year, I don’t think that I’d even been able to write this blog but here I am 109 days in and still going.  I’ll get the logistics figured out eventually and finally finish Rapture.  I’ve even been kicking around a few other ideas lately so I am back.  I’m just working on timing.  So, if you’re going through a difficult time and are struggling with your writing, don’t give up on it like I did.  Keep forcing it.  I wish that I had.         

About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex with my husband, 2 dogs, and 10 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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1 Response to Day 109: Reflections

  1. Maggie says:

    You have been through a lot. Relax into writing. It can be healing. 😍


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