Two hours and fifteen minutes of sleep isn’t enough sleep for anyone, let alone someone who is already sleep deprived. Still, the amount of sleep has been an ongoing downhill slide. My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) takes over, and I perform the compulsions late into the night, and wake up the next day only to do the same thing all over again.
First, it started to really go downhill in ninth grade, when I’d get five hours of sleep each night during the week. I managed, and figured that it wouldn’t be too hard to adjust. Then, slowly, it became four hours, which was a lot more rough. I started to look like death, with dark circles under my eyes, which I quickly learned to try to cover with makeup.
Then, soon after tenth grade started, it became three and a half hours of sleep. It starts off as one really bad night, and then it slowly becomes the normal. I’d joke about how little sleep I got to cover up how exhausted and miserable I was. I tried to resist, to go to bed, but the OCD always seemed to win.
All people saw was a person who looked tired but was joking about it and laughing, with occasional days that she looked really tired, but she always managed to stay awake. What they didn’t see was the crash that happened every weekend. Friday after school I’d come home and quickly be asleep, and my parents would have to shake me repeatedly to wake me up, but I’d keep falling asleep.
Usually after a half an hour of being woken up I’d finally manage to make it to eat dinner, and afterwards I’d sit down on the couch and fall asleep again. It got so bad that they weren’t always able to wake me, and they’d just leave me on the couch to sleep, knowing that when I woke up in the morning I was going to go into full panic mode from not completeing my specific nightly routine.
I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, but I was wrong. Eleventh grade, it became two and a half hours. I became used to going to bed at 3:30 and getting up a little before 6. My anxiety was so high on those days that I didn’t feel tired, and making it through school wasn’t too bad, and then it got worse.
One fateful day, everything was building up. I was struggling with my homework, not understanding how it all fit together. I’d been barely making it through the week, and my OCD was higher than ever. That night I got two hours and fifteen minutes of sleep (and that is an overestimate because it took me a long time to fall asleep).
The only reason that I went to bed was because I started to shake, and it became so bad that I wasn’t able to write. So, I went to bed, and had the worst day of my life to date. To be honest, I have no idea how I made it through the school day, how I managed to joke about the sleep and the shaking that I felt all throughout my body but couldn’t see. The shaking that I still have, two days later.
People always compare sleep, like it’s a competition to see who got the least sleep. Sleep deprivation is no joke, it destroys your body, and makes everything else (especially mental illness) way worse.
I cannot continue my path to not sleeping, my body will give out. I have reached the limit, and I will not let myself find out the consequences of passing the line. I will fight my OCD to slowly get more sleep, even if it means the worse breakdown I have yet to experience. I cannot give up, I still have my entire life ahead of me that I want to be healthy for. Sleep is a necessity, and I will not let it be taken away any longer.