A Sleep-Spawned Stream of Consciousness on Burnout

By: Marlee Billiter

The other day I started to feel congested and exhausted; I could barely keep my eyes open and I was desperate to get rid of the sick feeling. I ended up going to sleep at 9:30 that night compared to the usual one o’clock…News flash, I felt incredible. I slept for 12 consecutive hours, minus the couple times I woke up because I couldn’t breathe through my nose, but each time I went back to sleep, a different dream formed. These were vivid dreams with the most impressive story lines. Everytime I woke up, I felt like I needed to go back to sleep, not just because I was under the weather, but because I wanted to be in a far off land, completely separated from reality. 

It’s also fascinating how the body improves while sleeping. It’s like a health rejuvenation going to bed every night. My sickness improved within three days because I got much more sleep than normal. It normally takes me over a week to feel the least bit okay. Welcome to the life of a weak immune system. This weekend, I recognized my love for sleep. It sounds cringy, but I have never felt more in awe of something my body has recreated. Many people with struggling mental health give into substance abuse, but for me, I feel like it would be just as easy being addicted to sleep. 

Think about it–sleep creates side effects exactly like drugs. Withdrawal, transcending into another world, the body’s completely relaxed… It’s the body’s natural opioid. Like those addicted to substances, we can’t live without sleep. 

While sleeping, we go through multiple stages and eventually reach REM (rapid eye movement). This is where our most vivid dreams come through, and this is where it’s easy to get lost.

I hate this. I cannot stay focused enough on this to actually write something interesting. Actually, to tie it all in, I just want to go to sleep. All the time. The world sucks more than anything; reality isn’t even reality because nothing is real. Nothing. Is. Real to me. Ever. Sleep’s great because I can get away from whatever the hell I’m in now. I can’t write an entire article about this. I’m already burnt out on what is like the fourth week of school. I feel like burnout isn’t talked about enough. It’s talked about, but nothing is ever done to help. The amount of times I’ve sat in a classroom listening to teachers talk about mental health and ways we can work on it and be good with time management… and in the end, they give us a ton of work and criticize us for whatever minor mistakes we make. Their acting as though two missing assignments is the end of the world, like no what if during those two assignments I was having one of the worst weeks of my life? The public school system pretty much says, “Deal with your problems at home and finish your work!” lol. Then I go home and I can’t focus because of so many factors. There’s gotta be a way students can be taken more seriously when they say they have poor mental health. 

A book by Ottessa Moshfegh comes to mind for this article (the main topic) called, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. In this book, a girl who society perceives as perfect–but is actually a horrible person–realizes exactly what I have…sleeping is superior! She starts going to some wacky therapist who is somehow considered a professional, but she continuously says she’s having sleepless nights in order to get hard drugs to make her sleep for long amounts of time. She gets so addicted to sleeping and these drugs that she starts a cycle for a year. Barely being awake, going to her therapist when her prescription runs out, and sleeping all the time. Luckily, she’s wealthy enough to be doing this without financial problems. At the end of the year that she’s dedicated just to sleeping, she’s a better person, happier, healthier, nicer, a big improvement. 

Maybe we should all take a year, at whatever time we want in life, to just relax. A paid vacation of one year. We all sleep, rejuvenate to our full potential and come back as a new person. It’s like a summer break just more often. One good thing about the year-round calendar, track outs. Now that is healthy. It’s a good idea besides the fact you don’t have a 3 month long summer vacation. I don’t know what I’d give up, three months of practically no worries, or a probably more relaxed headspace knowing I’m getting another break at the end of 9 weeks. In middle school that time went by so fast. I counted down the weeks to break knowing I’m going to get there eventually, and I was fine. High schoolers need something to look forward to. If I had more things to look forward to in life I’d be so much happier about it. Think of the motivation I’ll have and the amount of work I’ll get done. If only…

The more I think about it the more I think sleep’s awesome. It’s the one thing we go back to our entire lives, every single night; Until we eventually end with a long nap on the way to wherever we go after death, I don’t know. Eternal sleep.

I want reincarnation to be real. Imagine coming back as someone completely different and you have no clue. Your soul lives on and it’s not scolded to eternal life or damnation. Religions are so scary. Why do we need to think like that? Can’t we just see what happens? If there is a God that wants us to worship Him for all our lives so we can be with him… What would He do if everyone just stopped? We went about our lives doing whatever. Would he just send us all to Hell because we didn’t turn over our lives? I truly have so many questions for people who are devoted to religions. Not in a mean way, I’m just curious. I grew up forced to be Christian. I watched my dad sing and pray in church, then he’d go home to yell at us and say things Christians would be frowned upon for saying. I watched this happen over and over, so I stopped caring about both a year ago. 

I think I’m burnt out because… Well I had an idea and I forgot. If it comes back I’ll say it.

(It never came back)

Music is one of the only things that makes me feel alive. From the second I wake up to the time I go to bed, I’m listening to music. It’s an escape, like everyone else says, but I think it sometimes makes me feel just sane enough to do things. I get the most work done when I’m listening to music. I could probably write forever about nothing doing this. I’m listening to Deftones right now. If you haven’t heard of them I’d listen, they’re crazy. Like beyond this world. I’d say Deftones and Radiohead are two of my favorite bands, but I love Interpol too. 

I wish I could meet musicians. They probably have some of the most interesting thoughts. Mine get lost in one another, but artists seem like they can sort and write them all out. Lyricism seems so difficult. I admire those who are good at it. Like Radiohead, those lyrics man. My life is accurately portraying ‘No Surprises,’ a song about a man’s life being drained from daily activities. Such a “Bro same” moment. I want to be able to organize my thoughts so that they have some deeper meaning. Everything is jumbled and I can’t make out what a majority of them are saying. No control whatsoever. Lowkey, thoughts are sick until they start to drown you. 

It’s 4am now. I have to teach myself calculus because I can’t focus during class. Why is school so hard? And of course I’m too scared to talk to my teacher because that would involve going out of my way to speak to her. Might as well wait for someone else to ask and I sit there with my music trying to catch on. 

Unfortunately this wasn’t possible because Marlee can’t stay still or keep her mind interested for long enough to make an article about sleep. For just once I’d like to have control over myself. I used to be such a good student. Now I’m scraping by just barely and under so much stress. Three AP classes this semester only because I want to look good for colleges. 

If anyone has taught me anything it’s that America is willing to let you risk your mental health for their perfect system to continue. Because college is so important for everything beyond high school. Sucks that most people can’t afford it! But who cares about money? That’s just capitalism! I feel like I could write about this more. I did last year for AP Seminar, but now I’ve got nothing. 

I want to be done writing this, so I’m going to be done.

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