Notes from the Wastelands: Sleepless in Berlin

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June had 30 days and I slept a grand total of four days at the most. Nights and days blurred into one sorry, fuzzy mess and I have no idea if I’m coming or going anymore. Insomnia is a bitch and I dislike her intensely.

This all began on June 2, as a result of the first COVID-19 vaccine. People are reacting to the vaccine the world over in great disparity, and there is no common denominator thus far. The first three days felt as though I had the flu, including a slight fever, aches and pains, and parched mouth, but thereafter it has been extended bouts of sleeplessness and quite frankly, I’m at my wits end. I’m due for my second shot in five days and I dread the effect of the second shot if I reacted this way to the first.

I keep hearing about people who reacted to the vaccine in the complete opposite manner, being plagued with drowsiness. I’m not sure what’s worse, being sleepy all the time or unable to sleep. So my Kindle and Audible have been my best friends so far, followed closely by iTunes. Geez, I never had such comprehensive and extensive playlists before! I feel like a teenager catching up on all the dance tunes and artists, New Age music, even Celtic music! Even my cat playlist got a tune up, and much to the chagrin of my four-legged housemates, so did my country music playlist. Note to self, cats do not tolerate country music warbling or Lady Gaga Essential playlist for over 10 minutes…

Even Lolita, my 16-year old senior half deaf cat with feline dementia turned her head towards me two days ago and shot me the dirtiest of looks when she had to endure Jennifer Lopez and Shakira after putting up with Blake Shelton and Reba MacEntire! We compromised on Snow Patrol and Sia before I put on her(!) pop opera playlist to calm down.

The lack of sleep has of course resurrected many demons that I thought I had slayed and put to rest. But there is something about lying awake at 3:30am reading this that or the other for the umpteenth time that acts like a playground for unwanted thoughts. In the beginning I took the opportunity to explore new material and some classics that I had been itching to read for the longest time. But as the weeks dragged on, it became more and more difficult to focus, so I sought refuge in the less sophisticated and uncomplicated books that were easy to digest. Not that they were any better for my insomnia, because now I am mega cranky, belligerent, over emotional, sentimental, and generally feeling like a zombie. My eyes are burning, I have little to no appetite, and I am desperate for some sense of normality.

Writing all but vanished for me and I needed desperately to go off the grid on all fronts. I forgot appointments, missed calls and deadlines, and to top it all, last week I had not clue what day of the week it was. Good Lord it’s July 2021 already and I have no idea what happened in and to June!

For the first time in my life I resented the sunshine and heat, and welcomed the dark clouds and rain that have taken over Berlin again. Perhaps I am indeed more German than I thought, but the soft sounds of rainfall outside my window are immensely comforting.

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