Notes From a Walkman Junkie: Requiem For The Melatonin
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” As a wee lass, I heard this instruction most every night and I was pretty damn good at it. I was even at one point dubbed as “The Incredible Sleeping Anne” for my astounding ability to sleep anywhere at any time (also for my love of the show, The Incredible Hulk .) Sadly, sometime after college, my (incredible) sleeping ability took an indefinite leave of absence. I now only seem to fall asleep with ease in the most inopportune situations… like while I am driving or at a funeral. My inability to sleep and stay asleep in appropriate surroundings seems to have only worsened with time. I have tried various sleep-inducing methods over the years, but was recently encouraged to try a more natural method of effectuating sleep as opposed to my current-less-natural (hefty doses of vodka and sobbing) routine.
I started to take the hormone supplement called melatonin with the objective of it zonking me out (more) healthy-style. After initiating project “little magical pill”, I did immediately find it easier to fall asleep at night (intentionally and in my own bed), but began to have especially vivid and somewhat stressful dreams. It is not that unusual for me to have strange dreams, but the dreams that I was experiencing after taking the melatonin seemed to be particularly odd and random. One dream I had started with me chatting up Prince, discussing the work of Christopher Nolan, and ended with me lost and roaming around some strange city, decked out in an evening gown. I ducked into a weird little store to ask for directions and everyone in the store turned and scowled at me. I panicked and grabbed a pack of individually sliced American cheese to purchase. I then spent the rest of the dream wandering the streets in a dress and heels with my pack of cheese. I guess if one were to interpret this dream it would be that I always feel lost… and I am clearly an impulse cheese buyer.
As the days went on and I continued to take the melatonin, I began to experience some additional unusual ailments. I started to suffer from nausea (mainly in the morning), depression (all the goddamn time), irritability (specifically after drinking), dizziness, and stomach pain. Of course at the time I was not associating any of these afflictions with the (supposedly) harmless and natural substance that I had recently started taking — instead, I went to the only reasonable and logical conclusions; either I am pregnant or I have stomach cancer. Twenty-two (give or take a few) pregnancy tests later, I was able to rule out the first assumption. My attentions now, however, were focused on the most gripping of all of my symptoms, depression. Mind you, I am no stranger to depression and have grown quite comfortable with dealing with my all too familiar mild to moderate funks. This new severe (not quite as bad as when I was married, but decidedly worse than when I was booted off of facebook for a few months) depression made me long for my old sadness. Incidentally, this notion of taking something to make you even more devastated than your current state could actually be a pretty good idea for the treatment of severe depression. The marketing slogan could be something like, “This will make you so depressed, you will beg for your old depression” in the spirit of the whole “I’ll give you something to cry about” theory.
It finally (after months of thinking I was dying from a rare pregnancy cancer) occurred to me to read up a bit on melatonin and, lo and behold, every one of my current woes were neatly listed as common side effects of my new little sleeping aid. Though I had never slept better, I decided it was best to quit taking the little (sadness) pills posthaste. What it came down to was a simple lifestyle choice. I could either feel very sick, severely depressed, and sleep really well; or feel mildly sick, fairly depressed, and not sleep much at all. Wisely, I chose the latter because, after all, “a gal’s gotta live”… or at the very least, be able to get off the floor and take a shower. I am attaching “Sleeping Is The Only Love” by The Silver Jews in the hopes of finding my sleep love someday.