This post intended for Week 8.
Calm down, Lauren. You’re fine. You’re sleepy, but you’re fine. Besides, your body will force-quit-sleep before it lets itself die. You’re in no danger. Everything is fine.
This is a reasonable assumption and I fully believe myself. I also fully believe that I could be wrong. Sure it sounds reasonable, but anything sounds reasonable when spoken in a soothing inner voice. And besides, what do I know about the human body? I’m pretty sure I’m really not in any danger, but this is literally a matter of life and death! There’s no room for “pretty sure!”
I scheduled myself to sleep after being awake for twelve, twenty-four, wait –thirty hours? Could that be right? How long have I been awake so far?
Google search “what is the minimum amount of sleep a person needs?” “Humans need a minimum of eight hours of sleep.” “A minimum of six hours.” “I’m an insomniac and sometimes I only sleep for one hour.” So much for straight answers.
Calm down Lauren, you are not going to die.
I’m sitting down, but everything feels heavy. There are weights in my arms, my shoulders, my neck, built into my ribcage. My eyes are blurring and it’s too much effort to refocus them. The pace of my breathing increases.
Am I having a panic attack? Is this what that’s like? Can a combination of panicking and sleep deprivation kill me faster?
There is no “faster,” you’re not dying!
The room starts to tilt. The building threatens to tip over. I can feel my weights moving with the gravity of the room, first forward then left.
Okay, okay you can go to sleep. Go to your room and get your pillow, one of the blankets off your bed, and your alarm clock. You can do that right? That’s not too much effort. You’ll be fine. Just do that one thing and go to sleep.
I set my alarm and plop onto the couch, snuggle in, and close my eyes.
You’re okay. You’re going to be asleep soon and you won’t die. You were never going to die, but at least now you will be well rested and less vulnerable to nonsense.
I wait for sleep to come but it doesn’t. I remember I had a cup of coffee an hour ago. Shit, the caffeine is keeping me awake. I am going to die of sleep deprivation because like an idiot, I had a cup of coffee and now I have no hope of survival.
Dear God, please don’t kill me. Please let me live. Please, please, please, don’t let my body shut down and die. I have so much I want to do. Either way, I rededicate my life to you; that is, whatever is left of it. Please don’t let me die.
It’s a little disappointing that in the face of death, I’m asking God to spare me rather than accept what is to come.
Prayer is good, but you’re seriously overreacting. Sleep will happen, just be patient. Everything is going to be okay.
I pull the blanket over my head and squeeze my eyes shut, but it doesn’t help. This is it. This is the end. Tomorrow morning Melissa will wake up, see my body on the couch and think I’m asleep. Lisa will see me next and tiptoe around the room. Christine will say good morning to Lisa, then see me and decide to forgo doing her dishes for fear of waking me up. Elisa will be awake last. She’ll think it’s odd I’m not up yet, but pay no mind. Eventually, maybe around 10:30 AM, she will remember I have classes and tap me on the shoulder, urging me to wake up.
This is it, I’m on my way out. Well, at least I don’t have to write any more papers.
Suddenly I open my eyes, my lids thick and heavy. I’m alive.
I am Lauren The Largemouth Bass, and this is my account of an almost near-death experience.