I have a self-destructive streak. By the end of every term I am exhausted and I fall ill during the first week of the holiday; I sleep for three days just to catch up from all those nights of going to bed one hour later than I should have done, and by the end of the three days I’ve done about two months’ worth so I’ve got another month to go. But still as every term starts I sign up to every activity possible and I will spend my evenings busier than anyone else I know, getting more and more tired until I have a nervous breakdown and cry in front of the entire music department at school.
Yes, that happened on Tuesday.
I was ordered to go home and sleep. I didn’t quite follow that instruction, I’m afraid. For a start, my bus got a flat tyre halfway down the road, so I had to wait for another one. Then I went to the parcel office to collect something that I’d been out when it was delivered, and there was a queue and I had to wait for ages. And then I hung out with my friend for a while. When I got home, I watched stupid stuff on YouTube, read a book, and sat next to a radiator without the energy to warm up any other way.
I was too tired to move. Opening my emails just made me sink into a heap of despair. I knew I didn’t have the energy to read them all. I skimmed through a couple and composed some half hearted replies, but I didn’t have the strength for anything more. Even at dinner time I was finding myself too shattered to eat: it sounds insane, but it was true. Just lifting the fork was too much effort for me and I ended up unable to finish my meal.
And so I had a long bath, and I went to bed about two hours earlier than I normally do. I was asleep within about ten minutes, more impressive when you consider that I tend to suffer from insomnia and you’ll usually find me wide awake two hours later.
I had a dream that I woke up late.
Then I woke up, and the alarm clock next to my bed said 2:25. Well, I thought, it’s obviously lying; that clock’s been an hour fast for months.
I’m in the middle of exams at the moment and we have ‘study leave’ – we only have to go into school for the exams themselves. Yesterday, my only exam was English Literature (e.g. WRITE US ESSAYS ON TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD AND THE CRUCIBLE OR YOU WILL DIE or at least fail this module) and it was at one thirty in the afternoon,. so I had the morning off.
2:25. It had to be lying. It couldn’t be 1:25 – there was no way I had overslept that much. My alarm was set at 9:15. I should’ve woken up. I grabbed my phone: 13:25.
Suddenly, I was incredibly awake.
Fumbling for the keys, I typed in Mum’s number. “Mum?” I said, when she picked up. “I just woke up, and my exam starts in three minutes. What do I do?”
I was obviously not well, because it’s a really long time since I’ve slept for that long without waking up at all, so Mum agreed to call in sick for me, and we’ve managed to reschedule my exam to be Friday afternoon. But however ironic I found it that it was the English Lit exam I slept through (lit is French for bed), it proved something to me:
I need to stop doing this until I crash and burn completely.