Friday, September 24, 2010

Why We Fall Asleep at Movies...

When you have insomnia, you don't take sleep lightly. Sleep becomes an elusive phenomena, like a child waiting for the next lightning bolt to appear. Because of this, sleep to me is very precious. It feels extremely good and the dreams that I have during sleep are quite vivid, entertaining, and emotionally stirring (if you can believe that @_@ ). But, for many many years now, sleep has to be accompanied with some form or audio or visual stimulation. Be it a TV, an iTunes playlist (which I've been having to make due with due to a lack of working TV in my room -__-;), or, my personal favorite, movies, these things put my mind in a certain place that allows me to fall asleep. It has only recently occurred to me while thinking about this why this happens. When I fall asleep while watching a movie (usually while watching one with friends on DVD), it's not because I'm bored with it; it's because watching the movie makes me feel so safe and comfortable.

Feeling safe and comfortable are the two feelings that I must have in order to sleep. The comfort usually comes from a nice bed and a good flannel blanket. But the safety is the hardest thing for me to get through my head. Since I have extremely high Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I worry about everything and twist any sign of danger into (literally) the end of the world. For example, when I was left home alone at my house when I was a teenager (and probably still now), any unusual sound at all would make me think that a burglar was trying to get into the house and kill me. I live right by an airport, so whenever a plane would fly over my house as I was lying in bed, I was always fearful that it was going to crash into my house and kill me and my family. And lastly, the most terrifying for me as it comes just from my own thoughts, is I get this notion that the end of the world is coming (as in, like, the next 10 seconds), and the more I think about it, the more I think the whole world is going to just blow up and we're all going to die. So, even in a perfectly calm room, I can never really feel safe when I have this hyper-vigilant, paranoid brain in my head.

But then there are those things that make me feel safe. If I am at a sleepover with friends, I will easily be able to fall asleep, especially if we're talking till we're so tired our eyes with fall out. When I lived in the dorms with a roommate, have my bunk-mate made me feel extra secure and was a great way for me to fall asleep. But now, living by myself and being 22 years old, I can't have sleep overs or have the safety of a bunk-mate. So, instead, I try to create manufactured safety through the things I mentioned earlier: TV, music, and movies. While music usually leaves me in an odd state, TV usually works better, since it makes me feel like there are others in the room with me. But movies are the best. Getting involved with the story (especially a familiar one that I've seen over and over again) will make me feel so safe and forget all of my thoughts of death and destruction. I guess that is a big reason I love movies so much: they are an absolutely safe place for me. What places make you feel like that? Think about it, appreciate it, and let it make you feel good.

Well, since I only have my laptop, it's going to have to be my NightMix playlist tonight. Sweet dreams, all. And find that safe place.

--Till then...