Friday, 25 January 2008

Heath Ledger dead / Insomnia hell

A search for art supply shops lead me to the Shida (Taiwan National Normal University) area and I also found myself in a desperate need to use a toilet in an area where they were very hard to find. So I just went into a cafe that I wanted to eat at (luckily it was lunch time anyway) and then did my business and ordered and ate my lunch (lasagne). Just before I left I decided to take a look at the Taipei Times newspaper. I was shocked to read on the front cover that Heath Ledger had died.

Here is the exact article I read. Sure the news was 2-3 days late but anyway, I'm out of touch with the news anyway being on vacation...

I was shocked and stunned to read this talented 28-year-old had had his life taken away. accidently or intentionally they are still trying to find the cause from the toxicology tests.

"Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night," Ledger told the New York Times. "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

Having had chronic insomnia myself I know that the way to describe it is like 'hell on earth' and i can understand he would be desperate if he was taking that many Ambien/Stilnox tablets... A few months ago I was going through a bout of insomnia where I slept about 2-3 hours a night. It'd take at least two hours to fall asleep then every little thing would wake me up and I'd be awake for the rest of the night till morning. It has a compounding effect whereby every day gets harder and harder to get through. You still do the things you have to get up like eat, go out, shop, walk... but really, you are running on empty and it becomes near impossible to function. Yet at the same time if you close your eyes you don't just magically fall asleep. On the contrary. Your mind still keeps you awake. And it's something that noone can possibly understand unless they have been there. Comments like "Just stop thinking so much", "take a warm bath before bed," "have a glass of milk," "do more exercise" (I like to see how much exercise you can do when walking just 100m feels like pain)... I got so damn sick of the 'helpful' advice which wasn't helpful at all.

Anyway, I came across someone who had some spare prescription sleeping tablets (Stilnox) and he offered them to me. Desperate, I took them home but then never ended up taking them. I did a little bit of reading online (as I am very very cautious about any kind of prescription drug) and asked my GP friend about them too. Apparently some of the side effects (if you get any) can be pretty horrific.. So I ended up putting up with the torture that is insomnia hell.

I'm so glad I didn't take them though, and I really hope that Heath's apparent overdose was accidental. But it doesn't matter if it was or not, the point is he is gone. Now I wasn't a huge fan of his or anything but 28 is just way too young to die. So sad... :( As for me - I hate to admit this, but I actually had to kick my husband out of our bed and it was only then that I gradually got more and more sleep and 2 hours to fall asleep became 1 and then became 1/2 hour... etc... Sleeping problems suck big time. I've had them ever since I was a kid. Although I don't claim to know anything about Heath's circumstances I can really understand his thinking if he is in that frame of mind where he is thinking too much, has too much anxiety (anxiety drugs were also found in his apartment) and getting only 2 hours sleep a night how he could have easily taken way too many sleeping pills to take the pain of insomnia (and other things) away...

RIP Heath Ledger. :( April 4, 1979 - January 23, 2008

PS I am now going to make sure I watch "Brokeback Mountain" as soon as I get back home. I am a bit disappointed with myself now that we've had the DVD for ages and never watched it! Given that Ang Lee is one of my favourite directors, and now with the unfortunate passing of Heath I'm definitely gonna have to watch it now.

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