Saturday, August 11, 2012

once again, the insomniac ramble

First off, I'm not really an insomniac. I have two problems regarding sleep. One is that I have sleep disturbances, meaning I wake up in the middle of the night, often multiple times. This became an issue at some point before I began being treated for depression. I started taking medication for depression in early 1997, and when the sleep disturbances continued for another year, the psychiatrist gave me a medication to help with that.

I take something called trazodone, which is an antidepressant with the beneficial side effect of helping with sleep. I take it an hour before I go to bed (this is not my main antidepressant, which I take in the morning). It doesn't do much in the way of making me tired, but it permits me to sleep through the night when I do go to sleep.

The second problem is a little more recent. Often when I try to go to sleep, I start obsessing about all kinds of things, and then I can't fall asleep. The medical assist for this is an anti-anxiety medication called lorazepam. (This one also helps with the occasional anxiety attack or mood dip.) Sometimes I neglect to take it, and that's when it's time for the insomniac ramble. I get up, take the lorazepam, and do a little writing.

The most common obsession - and this is the one that got me tonight - was the break in my friendship with V. I've mentioned V. here, but it's very little compared to the amount of space he continues to occupy in my head. And it's because there are certain confidences that need to be kept. It's important that he not be recognized here, and there are some things about him and about the way we were connected that are so singular and peculiar that they cannot be concealed by a fake name. ("V" actually stands for "Valdemort," which is how Jannah and I occasionally refer to him.)

For those of you joining us late - I think I can say this much: V. is a musician I started listening to when I was 14 and met when I was 18. We spent very little time together when we met, but we had a connection that stayed very special, and although we saw each other very little for many years, I always felt connected and had a sense that he was someone very special. I can't really speak for how he felt but I think it's safe to say that he remembered me fondly.

We started to reconnect in the early 90s, and became very good friends. I met and became friends with his wife and kids, visited with them around once a week and spent hours and hours talking with V.

Toward the end, his considerable charm wore off, and I realized how extremely self-involved he was, and mostly interested in what other people could do for him. Textbook narcissism. Our friendship revolved around his interests, which were many and diverse and very enjoyable for me. But I was not permitted to bring anything to the table; he didn't want to participate in anyone else's preferences or ideas. I was more of a loyal subject than a friend.

I'll tell a story about how he treated someone else, who I'll call Jack. V. and I met Jack through the newsgroup, and Jack did a lot of things for V. Jack got him gigs, ran interference for a reunion with V.'s former (and difficult) musical partner, and he and his girlfriend hosted rehearsals and parties and jam sessions for V. He let V. and other musicians stay at his home (about 200 miles from NYC).

When Jack and his girlfriend decided to get married, Barry and I were invited, as were V. and Mrs. V., and some other people we had met online. When I asked V. if he was going, he said, "Why should I go?" I was kind of startled and actually had to say that Jack considered him a friend and it was an honor to be invited. He did end up going, but I realized later that his real question was, "What's in it for me?"

The final break was when he blew off an event centered around me, when I had said flat-out, "It's very important to me for you to be there." Two days later, I told him over the phone, "Any time I have anything to do with you, I end up feeling hurt and disappointed," and said I wanted nothing more to do with him.

It's almost four years now. My therapist says that it's not unusual not to be over it yet, which makes me feel a little better. I'm still angry and still bereaved. I don't know if he's stayed out of touch out of respect or because he forgot me five minutes later, and either way is fine by me. It's not fixable. But I do miss what I perceived as friendship; and even if he didn't see it that way, I have to say that we some really great times together. For many years, I enjoyed being with him and doing things with him more than just about anything else. I was intensely focused on him, and we spent a lot of time together.

I still don't like that I can't keep him out of my head as much as I would like. I don't like that it can still render me sleepless. (And I fucking hate it when Facebook suggests that I "friend" him, which happens every so often because we have friends in common.)

Don't know whether or not it was helpful for me to obsess here rather than in bed, but I'll try bed again and see if perhaps I've discharged enough bad energy to permit me to sleep.

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