The pandemic that has gripped the world since 2020 has opened the floodgates not only for new social structures and dynamics, but also linguistics. I stumbled on a BBC article yesterday on something referred to nowadays as coronasomnia – or insomnia triggered by the disrupted routines, worries and insecurities related to COVID-19. I can certainly relate to this and the article hit a raw nerve within me.

I am an extremely light sleeper as it is, and with all the things I have gone through in the past four years, a peaceful and uninterrupted sleep through the night is a luxury I no longer enjoy. On the nights that I manage to snap up three hours in one go I am grateful already, waking up to answer the call of nature and then returning to bed with the greatest of hopes that I can sleep another two hours. You have no idea how much I envy anyone who can sleep through the night!

When the pandemic broke out, disrupted all our lives and turned everything upside down, I felt robbed of even more sleep. My friends and relatives living in other time zones will attest that I respond to text messages at the oddest times (for my time zone), and believe me when I tell you that I would really and truly rather be sleeping soundly, but I can’t. I am grateful for recently having discovered essential oils, which have managed to grant me two additional hours of sleep at night, but I am far from obtaining the recommended seven hours for fully recharging. Seven hours! Good heavens, I don’t even remember when the last time I slept that long. You would have to sedate me for that.

My insomnia has been building up over the years, beginning in 2013 after Daddy had is his first stroke. That is when my shuttling between Bangkok and Manila began, and then carrying the burden of financial and administrative responsibility of his, and eventually Mommy’s medical conditions, which I am still carrying to this day. Being an only child had many advantages growing up, but countless were the times I wished for siblings to share the load with. Having had sole power of attorney for both my parents and making all the decisions on my own was scary but also painful. Is is any wonder, then, that I have insomnia? I can’t even argue that insomnia is a side-effect of divorce or separation, because it began long before that!

Going through divorce, migrating to Germany and absorbing all the misfortunes of my life and as a mother just made my insomnia more acute. It felt as though I plunged right into the deep end of the ocean without any diving gear and I am constantly gasping and grasping. I have come to terms with everything I have lost over the years, and wholeheartedly embrace my new life with all its speed bumps, twists and turns, but the one thing I feel truly cheated and robbed of which I resent, is sleep. I want my zzzzzs back!

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