insomnia [ in-som-nee-uh ]
1. inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.
In the winter of 1997, three out of one-hundred patients, all with chronic insomnia, were chosen randomly to participate in a medical-science research experiment, in an attempt to help find a cure for chronic insomnia. It was a pretty simple and harmless procedure; the three selected patients were to spend five days and nights at a sleep study hospital, where the doctors would moderate their sleep patterns after giving them an experimental insomnia drug in order to help them fall asleep, and, if the drug was successful, to stay asleep through the whole night as well.
The first two nights with the drug were successful. All three patients were able to get their much needed rest. The doctors and scientists reported that the patients were no longer drowsy or sleepy during the day like they used to be. So far, the drug seemed to be becoming a sort of medical miracle.
That is, until the next day after the third night. Two out of the three patients reported to have very horrific and vivid nightmares. They claimed that the dreams were so bad, that they absolutely refused to fall asleep, and were demanding that they be let out of the research program. But, one of the doctors were able to talk them into staying for one more night.
After the fourth night though, the two patients had slipped into a coma, unable to wake up the following day. Fearing that they overdosed them with the medication, the doctors wanted to cease the program immediately. But, the board over the research facility refused the doctors to shut it down, wanting to see how the remaining patient would react to the right amount of medication. But, coincidentally, the last remaining patient also refused to be put to sleep, after claiming she also started to have nightmares as well. When the doctors asked her why she didn't want to go to sleep again, this was her response:
"I'm afraid I'm going to wake up."
Puzzled, one of the doctors asked what she meant by that, reminding her that she was already awake now. But the patient just shook her head.
"I'm not awake," she said, "they are."
By "they", she was talking about the other two patients that had slipped into a coma. The doctors were all confused by this point.
One of the doctors questioned her, reminding her of the other patients' states.
"They're asleep," he told her, "they can't wake up."
The patient just stared at him for long moment.
"No," she finally spoke, "You still believe you're awake right now, don't you? You see, we're all sleeping right now. Your mind just hasn't awoken yet. But ours have. Why do you think we refused to be put to sleep? Because this world, the dreamworld, is better than the real world you call 'nightmares'. Don't you get it? The other patients, the ones you claim are in a coma, are wide awake now. They are aware of the illusion mankind has created. If you put me under tonight, I will wake up too. You all will... one day. It's just a matter of time," she told them.
The doctors, still not fully aware of what she was saying, asked her again:
"What are you talking about?"
The patient just smiled, "When you believe you are awake, it is just a dream, but when you know you are dreaming, you are actually awake. It's the complete opposite of what you thought you knew. You think you're here right now? Talking to me? Well think again. You're just sleeping. But tonight, when you all go to bed, you'll wake up. Those things you call 'dreams', are your reality. And now that you've realized this, you will fully awake tonight as well. Trapped forever in your 'dreams'."
The patient's eyes then began to grow heavy as she laid back on her pillow. But before she fell into unconsciousness, she managed to speak again, ever so softly:
"... We all have to wake up sometime..."