The “Imagine- yourself- in- your- grave” therapy for Chronic insomniacs

You are welcome.

Yes, I know you will be eternally grateful to me for sharing this counter-intuitive, customized, grounded in ‘practical philosophy’, personal success story on defeating insomnia. So yes, You Are Welcome.

But before I share this ground-breaking idea (pun intended), I want to put out a disclaimer. It works for a specific kind of insomnia. It must be rooted in anxiety and the need to exert control over circumstances.

Now, doctors might have their own categories of insomnia. It may simply a function of psychological factors or could have a physiological basis, like having an upside down chemical composition in the brain and body. But it can be detrimental to the brain cells of many of us Homo Sapiens to process the language our brothers and sisters from the tribe of medical science commonly use. Henceforth, I proceed to explain the experiential insomnia that many of our species including the very rational, Homo Economicus are often plagued with.

There is a kind of insomnia that experienced by every teenage who has hit puberty and participated in the fated privilege of appearing in board exams. One must collect some A’s and A* or make it to a certain threshold to survive in this modern-day jungle, or one will be doomed to the abyss of abject poverty, destitute living and infernal hell of hunger. If only these gifted hyperbole artists could be honest with themselves, there is no guarantee in the grades. But no one reveals these petty details to teens with crazy hormones armed with zero strategies to deal with their frenzied emotions. Automatically, insomnia is triggered and circadian rhythms badly disturbed. Sleepless nights are accrued to the passion for the fair headed maiden, or the hallucinations of doom and gloom in a cruel materialistic world, lest one learns the rules of the game at the earliest and beat ‘em by before they do. This kind of insomnia can easily be treated with some critical thinking, passage of time and few healthy habits like aptly timed exercise and bed time curfews and curtailment of caffeine intake, which is considered next to the elixir for immortality in those teen days. I do not consider it chronic.

Another commonly experiences insomnia is the one triggered by embracing parenthood. In this situation, circadian rhythms will remain perpetually disturbed for one reason or the other. It could be the selection of peculiar hours your baby has made for his/her sleep and whims, which must be catered of course with 100% success rate. In this situation, there is no counsellor support that can help. Only a change in logistics, a lot of patience, rather resilience or simply being over tired will work. I consider this worthy of sympathy and support and all my heartiest cheers to those brave souls who are persevering under the yoke, including my own set of loyal warriors. Nonetheless, this does not classify as chronic either.

The other acutely excruciating insomniac experience is the one where a chemical imbalance has occurred in your brain and no matter what story you tell yourself there is no talking yourself out of it. Simply, because something is physically wrong with the brain and body and has to be fixed either through medication, drastic change in diet and routine. However, with the right medication, which is highly dependent on the quality of medical assistance available to the sufferer. This quality varies across different countries, based on economic development as well as investment in medical expertise within the economy. Many people in the world continue to suffer from such physiological conditions and are deprived of suitable treatments. This truly classifies as a severely chronic case of insomnia, where specialized help is required.

And then there is another type. Not as chronic and torturous as the one mentioned above, but enough to present challenge to any normal being. And this is where my “should-be-patented” therapy comes in.

If you are suffering from an insomnia because you feel overwhelmed with life and the complexities it presents based on whatever unique set of hurdles and intricacies your mind has been able to conjure, and no amount of exercise, diet change and stories have made a difference, then maybe it is time to tell yourself a new one.

Every night, or evening or morning, whatever time you decide it is enough and insomnia has to go (but preferably from 10 pm to 2 am each day), try this one trick.

Imagine you are in your grave. Six feet under. You can imagine a coffin or simply being in the ground. The scene comes with a glass top coffin or a wooden top, as per your requirements. Now that you are in your grave, imagine that you are actually alive and can hear everyone and everything (this is to keep things realistic because you are not actually dead you see). However, the key to the success of this strategy is to stick to this one principle. Everyone else thinks you are dead, so even if they try to talk to you, you do not have to respond in any way whatsoever.

Let me delve into the logic of this strategy before you shrug it off or become too horrified at the idea. It is simply helping a brain understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with not being 100% alert all the time because there will eventually come a day when that will not even be possible. That day will come sooner if one is not able to switch off regularly. Therefore, practicing the final destination of a human body, helps relinquish the control we want to exert over our lives by responding to each situation with alacrity and rigour. Just for 6-8 hours every day, you do not need to respond to the situations calling out to you. One can choose which part of the day, one can afford to go into their graves, depending on the logistical arrangements and social obligations one has.

This will work for several reasons:

1) It is a rather realistic story/narrative one can tell their brain

2) It helps put things in perspective and become comfortable with the idea of death, and consequently deals with a lot of other psychological issues

3) Its fun! (I mean fun to let the imagination run wild)


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