It is tempting to think of this form of insomnia, the inability to fall asleep, as a disease of agency and control: the inability to relinquish high self-reflexive consciousness for the vulnerable, ignorant regions of slumber in which we know not what we do.
Sleep resistance, bouts of insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, crawling into bed with parents in the middle of the night - all these are so common among children, it seems fair to call them 'normal.'
Bedtime rituals for children ease the way to the elsewhere of slumber - teeth brushing and pajamas, the voice of a parent reading, the feel and smell of the old blanket or toy, the nightlight glowing in a corner.
In August of 2002, I survived a car accident. Although I can still see the van speeding toward us, I cannot bring to mind the crash itself - only its aftermath.
American mass media culture, with its celebrities, shopping hysteria, sound bites, formulaic plots, received ideas, and nauseating repetitions, depresses me.
My feeling is, when you are writing an essay, you don't make anything up. This may be a very Protestant notion, and I'm aware of the fact that memory is fallible, that if I had access to films or some absolute documentary evidence of what happened, it might look different; we get confused and fuzzy.
While reading 'David Copperfield' in the middle of the night - probably because of the light, I had insomnia for the first time - I looked out of the window and thought, 'If this is what books can do, this is what I want to do.'
When I taught writing classes to psychiatric patients, I met people whose stories of manic highs and immobilizing lows appeared to be textbook descriptions of classic bipolar disorder. I met other patients who had been diagnosed with myriad disorders. No doctor seemed to agree about what they actually suffered from.
I watched 'Holiday' in college, and that was when I had my first fantasy of being Katharine Hepburn, standing at the top of the staircase in a huge Hollywood mansion.
I've come to understand that migraine is a part of the personality. I have migraine troughs. These often follow high productivity. I have a hypo-manic phase, then I'll crash.
That's one of the great lies of intimacy, to pretend you know everything - you cannot. No matter how close you've been, over however many years, there remain secrets. I think we all know that - that you don't tell everybody everything.
I have suffered from migraines since childhood and have long been curious about my own aching head, my dizziness, my divine lifting feelings, my sparklers and black holes, and my single visual hallucination of a little pink man and a pink ox on the floor of my bedroom.
If something's not working, it's wonderful to have a reader you can trust to say, 'Actually, you've gone off the deep end here'.
I love the little garden in the back of my family's brownstone in Brooklyn. Digging out there in the dirt is a joy for me, although by the time August rolls around and my roses have black spot, I need the break winter provides.
The English expression 'to fall asleep' is apt because the transition between waking and sleeping is a gradual drop from one state of being into another: a giving up of full self-consciousness for unconsciousness or for the altered consciousness of dreams.
All human states are organic brain states - happiness, sadness, fear, lust, dreaming, doing math problems and writing novels - and our brains are not static.
As one of four daughters, I grew up with an imaginary brother - wondering what it would have been like if one of us had been a boy. There's no question that there was a phantom boy child in my imagination when I was young.
Being a mother is complicated because it's not just a paternal culture making demands on you; it's those internal demands and expectations that women have and are self-generated.
Ego, id, and superego are terms familiar to all, but for many years, Freud's psychoanalytic theory has thrived in English departments around the country as a tool for interpreting literary texts but has rarely, if ever, been discussed in science departments.
Every time the DSM prepares for a new edition, there are countless groups lobbying to get their particular mental illness recognized by the diagnostic manual. Surely, this is a social and cultural phenomenon.