Fraser Island (Part 2)

Last week I was writing about my trip to Fraser Island, which is surely one the nicest place we have here. I ended my post telling you that I had encountered something horrific on Lake McKenzie and then kept you all waiting for over a week. So now that you’re dying to know what I was talking about, let me just say that the last week was very hard insomnia-wise and that I’m trying some new things with CBT (yeah, that thing I was making fun of). I’ve certainly improved my jogging skills and even managed to hate it a little less, but I’m still not seeing any improvement whatsoever when it comes to my sleep, and that’s why I started following a bedtime routine in the past week or so, and that meant not going online or watching TV in the past week, but we’ll discuss that later on.

So back to the island – as I was swimming in the lake a pack of catfish came nearby. I’m guessing they liked my new fit body and had to take a closer look. Problem was that I also got a closer look. I can’t point my finger at the exact reason but how come I’ve never realized how disgusting these things are? Their whiskers are just plain horrific!
As I came out of the water, much to everyone’s laugh, I realized that this was the end for me when it comes for catfish. Lake swimming will never be the same.

That night everyone was very tired and ended up falling asleep just as we finished eating and having a few beer. When I say ‘everyone’ that also includes me! I slept very well throughout the entire the night and as I woke up in the morning I was so stoked about it, that it took me half an hour to realize most of our food had miraculously disappeared.
That’s the price you pay for leaving your food out of your tents, and sleeping like a normal person. Damn dingoes, but we took comfort that it was just food and not a baby…

We didn’t do anything exceptional or different the following day but once again I slept very well. I spent numerous hours trying to figure out how was that possible, as I was struggling with insomnia for several months now. I can only assume it has something to do with the fact that I was spending my time in a very laid back atmosphere, had no electronics around, and when the night came it was certainly dark and there were no distractions. Who would’ve thought that nature was all I needed?

The next morning we headed towards the barge. I am proud to say that the dingoes and us have finished all the food and drinks before leaving, which worked in our favor as we couldn’t drink on the barge.

As we arrived back to our homes that night I was feeling excited that I could finally get a decent sleep after all these months, only to realize that what happens on the island stays on the island. My insomnia was just waiting the whole time for my home arrival. What a bitch.

So now you realize why I started CBT, seriously this time (someone on Reddit didn’t find my first CBT experiment funny). So this means I won’t be posting during the nights anymore, but no worries – I can make some time during work hours!

-T

Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life
Dr. Rafael Pelayo (So that means I have no life?)

Fraser Island (Part 1)

If you remember, I spent the last weekend with a few mates on Fraser Island and I can’t say a lot has changed since my last visit which is a good thing – lots of tourists, women, dingos and most importantly beer.

Before arriving the island, we had to spend the night at one of the hostels in Hervey Bay. We just picked one of the hostels on the way which also offered a 4WD rental for the island. We had to negotiate heavily over the price as we’re a bunch of 50 year olds who think they deserve a whole lot more than the others. We got nothing.

We spent the night hanging with a few tourists from Europe whose English was horrible, but luckily ‘beer’ sounds the same in every language. I was impressed by the capacity of a young Czech group who gulped half the kegs they had there, while my friends and I were struggling after our 6th pint. I may have to visit the Czech Republic someday and embarrass myself. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that night, and it wasn’t because of my insomnia.

The following morning we headed to one of the supermarkets in the area in order to stack up on food and drinks. Titled ‘worst of all cooks in NSW’ by the others, I was assigned to get drinks; One thing I love about QLD is the fact that you can get your Fourex cans no stress. Leaving the store equipped with food that’d feed a whale for 3 months and drinks that’d keep Charlie Sheen hungover indefinitely, we found ourselves on the barge to the island.

Sea sickness

I know what you have in mind reading this subtitle. You think we drank too much and then went aboard the barge. But you’re wrong, completely wrong. In fact, we didn’t even have one beer before going aboard.
We just had a couple aboard. It’s never happened to me before so I’m guessing it’s an inner ear thing that accompanies all the other wonderful things you get when growing old, including insomnia.

Cheers, Fraser

Upon our arrival to the island, it was clear that I cannot be the designated driver. Unfortunately, the rest weren’t in great shape either so we decided to act like responsible adults – we flipped a coin. It was a bumpy and long ride to our first camp, but we all arrived safely!

Have I mentioned my ‘worst cook’ title already? it was quite handy this time as they all spent their time cooking food while I was busy laying on the beach having a few beers. As it got dark and we set up a fire, I was worried I’d have to spend the rest of the night staring at the stars sleep by myself, but luckily we all pulled an all nighter and crashed at dawn.

I did get some sleep that night/morning, but not for too long, as I woke up 4 hours later still tired and unable to get back to sleep. Once again, I was delighted to see they couldn’t sleep either and we headed towards Lake McKenzie. I’ve been there before, but for some reason I felt excited; maybe it’s because I remembered the Amazing Race finale on that same location…

The lake is still a beautiful place, but there’s just one thing that horrified me this time that hadn’t before.
I’ll elaborate some more on that in my next post. Deal with it!

-T

I’m not asleep… but that doesn’t mean I’m awake
Unknown Author (Or every insomniac’s opening line)

CBT: The Exercise

It’s been over a week and a half since my last post, where I mentioned it was time to start doing some exercise. It only seemed logical to exercise as a means to get myself exhausted and fall asleep quickly.

About a week ago I started jogging in the evenings with my out-of-shape dog Boxy. She’s a 3 year old English Bulldog who enjoys chewing on everything that comes across her, while still brilliantly and gracefully managing to avoid any unnecessary movement. I figured it would be helpful for an overweight dog and an insomniac to go jogging together. I know that bulldogs aren’t the best jogging companions as they are not built for this type of exercise (or any other exercise), but we’re talking about short-distance running. Very short. 1 kilometre.

It took me over 7 minutes to complete, and I had to stop to catch my breath a few times. Boxy? for a lazy bulldog she did alright and was panting heavily in the end as she did when I woke her up to go.

She slept well, I didn’t.

The shower dilemma

After my first run, there was one thing my mind struggled to solve on its own – the shower issue. While exercise is set to exhaust you, a good shower makes you feel alert and vigorous. How can you solve this problem? No, showering before running is not the right answer, although I thought it over for a while. My solution – hot baths; the ones I bitched about the other post? They get you clean AND relaxed! But, as I said before, it didn’t help me sleep.

Keep on running

I was reading in many online sites that regular exercise can improve your sleep quality and duration, but (and here’s something new) you shouldn’t do it right before bedtime as it has a stimulant effect on the body. It was also suggested that exercise should be done at least 3 hours prior to your bedtime. Sounds crazy and illogical, but I’m a man on a mission and I do try the follow what every insomnia forum and article in the world has to say!

In the following days I kept on running my very-long-distance 1 kilometre route. I believe that eventually I managed to handle a 1.5km run, but I’m not sure about it. Boxy quickly learned that an Under Armour shirt combined with a pair of Asics runners means jogging. Needless to say she was reluctant to join me; one has to admire Pavlov’s classical conditioning when it occurs right in front of you.

Hope

Last Tuesday it finally happened. I fell asleep at a normal hour (I think it was around 10:30 pm) and slept for hours over hours. 2.5 hours to be exact. Then I was back to my normal insomniac self, but it’s given me some hope that things can change for the better and that I wasn’t doomed to live like a computer-addicted Japanese teenager.

The next day I was heading towards Hervey Bay, as part of my plan to spend the weekend with a 3 other mates on Fraser Island, which I haven’t been to for over 10 years! It was great, but I’ll write more about it in my next post, reducing the risk of boring you to death right now.

-T

You are not an insomniac! (you’re just a nighttime philosopher)
Leslie Dean Brown (Too much credit for my nighttime nonsense.)