Donna Everhart

Wide Awake

There are a lot of reasons I’ve not been getting much sleep lately.  For one, I’m wearing a medieval sort of contraption on my left leg, known as a night splint.  It pulls my foot up slightly and is intended to treat that ongoing, pesky plantar fasciitis.  It does help with the heel pain in the mornings, but I find the pain is right back if I’m on my feet a lot during the day.


Secondly, I’ve been working in the yard on a “project” I’ve talked about for years.  A section of the yard is being overtaken by English Ivy.  Anyone familiar with it?  Here’s the tangled mess it can get into:


And…, when it’s allowed to grow at will, (i.e. the way it looks here) it overtakes everything.  I mean, everything.

This particular area also has a huge tree, with two massive trunks joined at the bottom and each section of it growing up, (I kid you not) about one hundred feet or so.  That tree is enormous.  Good ole English Ivy doesn’t care, though.  It has turned that tree into it’s own private trellis, and has worked it’s way up and it’s been allowed to do it long enough that some of the vines around the trunk are as thick as a finger.



So, here I come, with my “loppers,” trimmer, wheelbarrow, rake and shovel.  I began on Monday.  As of yesterday, I am still cutting, pulling, snipping, chopping, loading all of the crap into the wheelbarrow and hauling it off to the street.  I’ve yanked until my arms feel like they are coming out of their sockets, my back is sore and even though I uncovered a long hidden brick border, put here by previous owners:


I – AM – SO – TIRED.

But I can’t sleep.  Last night, I was awake from one o’clock until three.  I tossed, turned, flapped the covers, stuck my splinted leg on top of the covers, then back under, lay on my back, my right side, my left, all in vain.  This has been a nightly occurrence for some time.  Sometimes it’s from two until four.  But no matter, it’s generally about a two hour event featuring me staring at the ceiling, the wall, the clock, the backs of my eyelids.

I do all the things I’m supposed to do to sleep good, like having a darkened room, no t.v. on, a fan running on low (because I’m a light sleeper, and I hear any level of noise, no matter how small), yet, sleeping through the night seems to be a thing of the past.  It’s very rare that I get a solid seven or eight hours without waking up and staying up for a while.

Sometimes I use this time to think about writing.  I begin to nit pick at the current problem and try to come up with a way to solve it, or I think about various scenes I could add.   But what is it about the middle of the night that makes you want to think about stupid things, like some asinine way you’ve acted in the past instead of thinking about something useful?

Last night my brain was stuck on rewind/replay regarding an incident at a job I held years ago at a company called ITT (now Alacatel).  Why?  Why in hell was I thinking about that??   The night before it was stuck on a time my husband and I went on vacation and how I’d freaked out while feeding sting ray’s at Sting Ray City, in the Bahama’s.  (I have this strange fear of fish in the water – except the very tiny colorful ones)  I have no idea why I was thinking about that.

I suppose in some way, it’s the way our brains unwind.  Random, free flowing thoughts, that take us anywhere, and everywhere, whether we want to go or not.   They are snippets of the day, the past and the future.  Maybe there are pieces that can be used in future writing, some little bit of flotsam hidden away until your brain was on one of it’s nightly rambles.

What is it that keeps you up at night?

18 thoughts on “Wide Awake”

  1. Lack of sleep meds keep me up at night. I suffer with insomnia due to bipolar and fibromyalgia, so it doesn’t take much at all. When I was depressed, sometimes I couldn’t sleep even with powerful tranquilizer-like meds! But now that I’m better, they put me out within 20 minutes. But if my anxiety decides to start playing with me, my meds won’t work at all. Then I just get up and get productive.

    1. Hello Amber,
      I’m sorry you’re having to deal with those things, but glad you are feeling better! I’ve tried melatonin, Valerian root, and even that Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea. (which is my fave out of all the “remedies.”) Matter of fact, you’re reminding me I’ve had this issue before…, hm. Maybe I need to go off to the store for some tea.

      Anyway, I checked out your blog and loved the one you wrote on how you worked through your revision of WHEN STARS DIE…very interesting, and it was helpful to get that reminder, “make sure something happens in every chapter!”

      Take care!

  2. I had to wear one of those leg things once for an Achilles problem. Annoying thing. I was up til about 2 last night – too hot to sleep, which is very unusual for me.

    1. Cause I’m usually never warm let alone hot. Melatonin is usually my fix for sleeplessness. When I suffered from anxiety (haven’t for two years) I took it whether I felt tired or not.

      1. I was trying to figure out if I was hot. But in seconds I’m covering back up – and besides, I got my trusty hormone remedy for that. 🙂 The thing with Melatonin (at least what I’ve heard) is you should only take it for a couple weeks – or you risk your body not producing it naturally any more. Honestly? One week “they” tell you to take fish oil, the next, don’t…or, how about you ought to take Vitamin D, then, oh no, don’t, or you’ll get kidney issues. What the hay do “they” know? My father in law says…”this is why the call it the PRACTICE of medicine.”

      2. Yea, I’ve heard that too. I also heard that more than 1mg is technically overdosing and yet they sell it in 3mg and 5 mg pills over the counter! What the heck. I was like whatever because it was what was working at the time. I think everyone really reacts differently and they put out the “possibilities.” I can fall asleep fine without it now though.

  3. Okay, first up, plantar fasciitis. I am on my feet up to seven hours a day, doing four and a half to five miles each and every day. My plantar fasciitis was so bad I was going to have to change jobs. I tried everything. This is what cured it all…Nike, Bowerman, Pegasus shoes. It’s a light weight shoe, they change the upper designs each year but the basic shoe stays the same. I walked into a Nike outlet store feeling that stone under my heel and I walked out as if I was walking on…well,nothing. I buy a new pair every two months or so.
    That style may not be the one which works for you but the minute I put that shoe on I could feel a difference instantly. I sound like I sell shoes but I don’t…maybe I should buy stock in Nike.
    What keeps me up at night…not much. If I’m awake I get up turn on the TV and in five minutes I’m asleep on the couch.

    1. I have Asics Gel Kayano’s and GT 2180’s – I retire pairs from running when I get to 500 miles, and use those in the yard. I have run in Nike’s before…but tend to veer towards Asics. My mom thinks I wore flip flops too much and that’s what caused it. It just sort of crept up on me and now it’s here, it won’t….go…..away!

      I’m usually like that too, i.e. if I wake up, I usually fall back asleep pretty quick, but for me, it’s not TV, it’s usually a book.

      1. OMG running, ouch, I walk.
        From my understanding, and what helped me, before I got out of bed and even stepped down I gently stretched my foot by pulling it up,not flexing it on it’s own… I’m sure you know the whole routine. Anyway, if you don’t stretch before you actually take one step, the slight healing of the tendons overnight will tear after the first step. When I started doing that each morning it helped immensely.
        I can’t imagine running with P F.

      2. Hey Wry – I think that’s why the night splint works so well…it’s doing what you describe below…keeping the fascia stretched, allowing it to heal. Yeah, I know, the thought of running at this moment makes me sort of cringe.

  4. I was tossing and turning a lot the last week worrying about a run I did on Sunday (and completed/conquered). It was only 4 miles, but it was the one I had sent my sights on a year ago, so it was a big psychological barrier for me. Big. And now it’s behind me. (Half marathon in October is my next boogey man.)

    Sorry about your heal pain. I lived with that for years and years and years. Mornings were the worst. But eventually it passed and I hardly ever notice it now, even with all of the running I’m doing. I can sympathize and empathize. Advil was my friend in those days. And stretching i didn’t do enuf of. And arch supports in my shoes.

    1. Congratulations on that run, Paul! And for your 1/2, you’ve got ample time set aside to get yourself more than ready…I’m sure you’ll do great. Keep on with setting those goals, and once you achieve them, set your sights on a new one. (26.2!)

      Question to you – did you run when you had your heel issue? I’m trying to figure out if I should slowly get back to running. My thought is, if my heel hurts – even after laying off, how can running make it worse? I’ve not run one step since March 16th and I’ve only run a total of about 12 miles since January. I’ve been wearing this night splint about 10 nights…and the heel pain is significantly better, although on Saturday, it was throbbing pretty bad. (that was a day I was on my feet most of the day) Not sure you were back into your running when you were dealing with this, just curious if you were, and did you keep on? (also, the place I got the night splint also sent me some heel cups, and these really cool shoe inserts to use with pretty much anything – running, hiking, etc. They are recommended by chiropractors…thinking I’d use them if I start back)

      1. I’ve only been running for about a year, so I was not when I had my decade of heel spur torment. I wore arch supports (serious ones, not the grocery store foam rubber kind) that I think finally made the difference. Plus advil by the handful. Plus, I lost some weight. But running came much later. I don’t know if I could have run when I had the pain. Maybe as you said, how could it be any worse? And maybe the running would have stretched the tendons enuf to reduce the swelling. I don’t envy you, but I do understand. (And not to brag — too much, anyway — I’ve run almost 400 miles since January, but I joined this 1,000 mile challenge for 2013, and I’m determined to meet that goal too.)

      2. I shared something with you on your site – an article about plantar fasciitis I though interesting…it certainly made me feel better about the outcome!

        A 1,000 mile challenge – that is so cool! I was trying to quickly calculate in my head how many miles per week and I guess it’s approximately 18 or 19? At any rate, you are right on track (haha – pun!) Keep up the good work – log some miles for me!

  5. I can definitely relate to this. Sleep has never been my friend. My brain can go through the day being relatively calm and logical but as soon as my head hits the pillow it goes into overdrive. I try meditation, I try every before bed trick to make me sleepier or less thought-filled but to no avail. I do often get good writing ideas in these times, and jot them down hoping to remember what I meant later – but for the most part I do as you’ve described and think of things that make me squirm: past mistakes, outbursts, failings. It’s a strange phenomenon.
    I hope the troubles of the English ivy and sleeplessness are alleviated for you soon.

    1. Hello Kacy,
      Thank you! It seems (at least according to what I hear on the news) there are more of “us” not sleeping well than ever before…so at least we know we aren’t alone! I keep a pen and paper beside the bed too, just in case…ever since I thought of a perfect ending for a chapter one night, only to wake up the next morning and then I couldn’t remember it. Argh! THAT caused several sleepless nights. 🙂

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