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5 Awful Side Effects of Insomnia No One Talks About

#2. "I Wish I Had Insomnia. I'd Get So Much Stuff Done."

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What Normal People Think:

"Man, if I couldn't sleep, I'd take advantage of that so hard. I could clean my house or catch up on all the TV shows I miss while working. I could finally write that Scrubs fan-fic I've been putting off for the past decade. For that matter, I could take on a second job and double my income. I would become a GOD! Bow before me, mortal!"

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"I slay my insomnia with productivity!"

But the Reality Is ...

Insomnia is not a blessing in disguise. It is a curse right out in the open, all up in your grill. The most common misconception I encounter is people thinking the disorder is the inability to get tired. The truth is the opposite: You're constantly tired ... you just can't shut down. So when you wake up at a time when everyone else is cold-sweat dreaming about murdering their families, the last thing on your mind is being productive.

Instead, you find yourself flinging off the covers in a fit of violent cursing and then doing anything at all that seems even remotely relaxing ... which usually involves vacantly staring at a computer monitor or TV screen until time vaporizes and the sun suddenly appears. The rest of your day is spent dodging cheerful voices and praying to demons for a moment's relief from the nausea and stomach cramps that come from downing coffee and Red Bull.

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"May have been a little poop in that one. Yeah, definitely some poop there."

But at no point are you more productive. If anything, you're less productive, because when you finally have to get up and actually do something, you're too tired to focus. Your physical movements and reaction times are lethargic, so any job or chore that takes some skill is done at half speed. And instead of having your mind on the task at hand, all you can think is "I would bend my own grandmother over and punch her directly in her asshole in exchange for just one night of uninterrupted rest."

#1. "Well, at Least There Are No Weird Side Effects."

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What Normal People Think:

"You're tired. Boo hoo. Deal with it. My wife is an ER nurse and only gets about four hours of sleep a night. She survives just fine. My uncle had to have chemo -- he lost all of his hair and spent a couple of weeks vomiting every time he even smelled food. My cousin had a kidney treatment that made her pee bright green. Do you have any idea how badly that ruined her golden shower parties? The biggest side effect you deal with is looking like you just capped off a bong."

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"Bring on the work, bitches! I'm ready to throw down!"

But the Reality Is ...

Exploding head syndrome. I have this, and it sucks about 30 pants' worth of sweaty, floppy balls.

Imagine falling into bed, so tired your body has started vetoing movement commands from your brain. You're not even sure if you removed your clothes, but you don't care. You can feel yourself rapidly drifting away, and at this point, you wouldn't even care if you never woke up again. You just need relief, and it is coming. Then, just as you finally nod off, a bolt of lightning goes off inside your head, sending what feels like a literal explosion of electricity through your whole body. It's not a sound, but it's loud. You can hear it inside your head. You can feel the shock in every muscle. You're jolted awake, but you quickly start drifting again. A few minutes later -- same thing.

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"I better have acquired some fucking powers out of this."

This can go on for hours, and there is no way to get past it. There is no treatment. It's just there, and you are at its mercy. Exploding head syndrome is rare, so not many of you have to worry about it, but I deal with this shit at least a few times a week. That's on top of what every other insomniac goes through: nausea, cramping, loss of concentration, memory problems, dizziness, and hatred for all sound-producing creatures that make their homes near bedroom windows.

Nobody is asking you to feel sorry for insomniacs. We want your pity about as much as we want your advice. We just want you to understand, the next time you have a single sleepless night and tell us how you suffered from insomnia, why our hands are steadily curling into fists.


John is an editor and columnist right here at Cracked, with a new article every Thursday. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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