My sleeping patterns have always been skewed, ever since I was a kid. Hyperactive at night, fidgity, confusion and wired. Always at the wrong times. When I should be sleeping, I would be at my most active. This made School extra hard for me. Turning up with only a few hours sleep was a nightmare! I hated being at School anyway, let alone without any sleep. That was the time I took up smoking. It must have been about the age of thirteen. For some reason it helped. Although illegal, back in the 1980s, it was quite easy to get round that small illegality. I used to hand write a note, from my Gran, asking the shop assistant if she could furnish me with twenty JPS, or as my Grand smoked, Cadettes. I prefered JPS, so that is what I got. Cigarettes were much cheaper back then, I guess they were about 99p for 20, maybe less. Can't remember for sure, but my dinner money covered it comfortably!
I never skived off School in the true sense, but there were times, during lessons I hated, mainly Physical Education, that I would just leave and smoke myself to death. Another forged letter from ones parents, usually served a graceful exit, when needed. I actually passed all my exams in my final year, with flying colours. God knows how. I am certainly intelligent enough and moved on to College, as was expected of me at the time. This is when my sleeping was at its worst.
I always looked older than I was, so would spend a lot of the time in The Admiral Cunning, the local pub. I would smoke, do my homework, beer glass stains, fag burns and sometimes the remnants of throwing up adorned a lot of the pages. It didn't seem to matter that much. They probably just thought I was a little bit special. At the time I discovered men, had a sex life, went to clubs regulary, got drunk frequently and spent quite a bit of time in London, in all the right places of course. My lifestyle at the time was more in tune with someone in their mid twenties and not 16 or 17 years old. Sleep was something, I did if I had too. I turned up to my Saturday job a mess most of the time, after only an hour or two in the sack! I always got away with it, so in many respects it became habitual.
After taking a year out I went to University. To be honest I don't think I ever wanted to go back into Education, but it was the easiest way to live permanently away from home. Back then I got a grant, as I was classed as a Mature Student....YES, MATURE....Was I fuck. Maturity is not something I ever aspired too, so for me it was an extension of my social and sex life, which at the time had reached new heights! I spent most of my time either drunk in lectures, hiding from my Landlord in The Student Union Bar or cashing cheques in the SU shop, to pay for my ever increasing, damaging, foolish and damn right nasty lifestyle. I only ever went back to my bedsit in the early hours, when there was no chance of being caught my Mr Singh!
I also used to 'Cottage' a lot. For those of you who don't know, it was 'Social Networking' of it's time. Meeting guys in public toilets for sex. This could happen all night. The amount of times I never turned up to lectures was approaching 50% and to be honest I thought I would be thrown off the course.
At this point I need to mention Section 28. Under The Thatcher and Major, Conservative Governments in the Eighties and mid nineties, it was very difficult to get advice on homosexuality and coming out. I certainly could not approach my parents and officially no one in authority. I was wrestling with my sexuality right up until 1994, with no one to talk too. Of course, with an active sex life so early on, there were many risks. Mentally, physically and in every sense I was exhausted. There was the AIDS 'Epidemic', advertised so graphically and scarily during the 80s. This left me with more sleepless nights than you can ever imagine. I thought I was odd and in some cases evil. I had no self worth, so just led an even more raucous life, doing more and more life endangering stuff. I just didn't care!
When I met Jason in 1995 and started to establish our relationship, things changed dramatically. Despite our relationship being a bi product of a hedonistic life, we managed to settle down for periods in our 20 year history. My life was still rather stifled of sleep for many other reasons. Jason's snoring, working nights for a period, dabbling in drugs, owning our own business. All of these things served to prevent a decent 7 hours kip.
As I know today, there were also many other issues that caused Insomnia for me. Bipolar is the biggest, with racing thoughts, all the time, especially at night. Depression, the biggest factor, which has always stopped me sleeping and of course medication over the last ten years plus. Many different types, colours, creeds and capsuals, all serving to stop me shutting my eyes.
Today my meds are not working again. I am awaiting an ADD diagnosis, which in all likelyhood, if confirmed will be the biggest factor in my fucked up life and I am slumping into depression more and more. I need a level of care that I am not sure The NHS can provide successfully. I hope things change soon. I have a life to lead, a job to do and sleep to get! Watch this space!