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I’ve had trouble sleeping ever since I can remember. Actually, to say I have trouble sleeping would be putting it incredibly lightly. I recall my sleepless nights being acquainted with horrible nightmares as a child. At that point the nightmares had consisted of bears mauling my family, even my house catching on fire, you know; mostly normal subjects, nothing too out of the bizarre! Simply put, I suffer from severe insomnia; accompanied by the delightful addition of painstaking nightmares!

As time progressed the nightmares started to get worse. I’d wake up from my restless sleep sweating, often crying uncontrollably. Continuously, my thoughts would be riddled by the events of my nightmares and the thoughts wouldn’t be quelled until I went to sleep the following night. It was an endless cycle, one that left me feeling distraught and empty. My parents decided it had gone on long enough by the time I’d reached the eighth grade. They took me to a psychiatrist, who was more than eager to put me on a line of anti-anxiety and sleep aid medication. The sleeping medication was not a low dose either. I would take it an hour before going to bed and in just twenty minutes, I would be so groggy that I almost couldn’t walk up the stairs to my room without help. I couldn’t argue against it though, because as much as I hated being put on drugs so hastily, the sweet release it gave me was amazing. I finally knew what it was like to have a deep and long sleep. It was bliss.

That was until the nightmares started happening again, not too long after. They were so much more intense. I would wake up every now and then, paralyzed with fear. I called my psychiatrist to see if the medication had any known side effects. She spoke to me as if she couldn’t care less, and I could basically feel her shrugging, just based on her completely bored out-of-her-mind tone of voice. “Not that I know of, just take the pills and you’ll get the sleep you need,” she said nonchalantly, followed by complete silence. She had already hung up before I had a chance to ask any more questions. I asked my parents if we could find a different psychiatrist but they insisted not to since she was a family friend and we were able to get a huge discount off my medication, even though it meant going under the table to get it.

I made my peace with the nightmares since it meant keeping my parents happy. After two months of taking the medication consistently, I felt like a sedated elephant and school became extremely hard for me. I was constantly falling asleep in class. I quickly came to feel that my “night-night” pills were an extremely high dosage. I accosted my parents and they told me it was strongly advised by my psychiatrist that I continue to take the pills, disregarding that fact that they made me feel like a slug.

After some time I began to feel distanced from my parents. It seemed that they were asking me less and less about how every continuous day at school was. They had even stopped asking me what I wanted for dinner. Part of me felt that they were purposely avoiding me. To be honest, I was too exhausted to care and I shrugged it off as my mind playing tricks on my emotions.

I continued to take the pills but dreaded them each time. I felt even more guilty for enjoying the sleep as much as I did; it made it impossible to stop taking them. Summer came along and one night after dinner, all I could think about was retreating to my bed. I tiredly walked up the stairs to then lay down onto my cool mattress, and it was as if I’d fallen asleep before even hitting the covers. I dreamed that I was on a hospital bed in a dimly lit building, with a doctor hovering right above my head. I began to get extremely nervous as I couldn’t see any look of concern in the doctor’s eyes. I lifted my head and tried to sit up when I felt that my wrists and ankles were strapped down to the rails of the bed. I struggled against the restraints and opened my eyes widely, shaking my head violently. I quickly realized I was in no dream. I was brought into a room with equipment I’d never seen... and saw coolers. I thought it was odd that they had so many coolers.

A plastic cup was pressed against my mouth and a strap was roughly placed around my head. I struggled and then I saw my parents standing together, watching the whole process. They had crooked smiles on their faces. They became blurry and before I knew it, I was in a deep sleep.

I woke up to a plain room, with stark white walls and strong, bright white lights that shone painfully into my eyes. As I came to consciousness, I tried to sit up. I couldn’t feel my arms and I felt panic wash over me. I struggled to sit up and looked around wildly. I began to scream. My arms were completely missing from my body. I looked down and saw that my legs had been chopped off from the knee down. I stared at the precise stitches that lined my knee caps and I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I was greeted with a burning sensation in my chest and stomach, one that felt like a blade was being dragged down my skin. I came to the conclusion that my torso had been opened up and sewn back together. I didn’t want to know why. I frantically looked around me and saw those damned coolers; my body ran cold when I saw a few fingers sticking out of one, these had a familiar paint job I knew all too well.

The doctor I had seen before walked into the room, taking off his sanguinary red gloves, only to be followed by a loud- Snap! Snap! Each one had caused me to wince. “We are extremely happy to see that you have survived through the surgery, more than pleased to see you awake! The procedure was laborious on your body. We do, however, thank you sincerely for your contribution.” With a cold and deep stare, he gazed into my eyes expressing a threatening smile. It was then that I felt my body slump over as I blacked out, hearing an echo of maniacal laughter.