A mostly fiction short story about the reality of an overactive (or bipolar) mind at bedtime

Scott Ninneman
Sep 28 · 5 min read
Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

It’s nearly midnight. If I go to sleep right now, I still have five hours to sleep.

Five hours. There’s something about an energy product and five hours. I wonder if energy products work. I’ll likely never have to try one. My problem is going to sleep.

Sleep. Another five minutes has gone by. Five fewer minutes I have to sleep. I have to go to sleep.

I think I’m thirsty. Maybe a drink of water will help.

Ah, water. My throat feels well again.

Remember that time I had a sore throat so bad I could barely breathe? That was awful. Where did I live then? I miss that house. Well, not everything.

I wonder where she is now. She made that house bad. The things she did.

Or was it my fault? Someone once said I ran her off. I don’t think so. Truth is I never even liked her, yet I was going to marry her.

Marriage. Why would anyone? I’m glad I’m single.

12:15

Still awake. Maybe I’m hungry. Chocolate would be good.

Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

Yes, chocolate contains caffeine, but I’m not going to sleep anyway. Now, where did I hide the chocolate?

When I was little, there were chocolates shaped liked coins in gold wrappers given out around the holidays. I was always excited to get those chocolates, though they didn’t taste good.

This chocolate isn’t doing it either. Maybe I need something salty.

Chips? I love Pringles. Blast! The can is empty. Figures. There are pretzels. I’m not in the mood for pretzels.

Remember hot soft pretzels? There used to be a place in the mall that had a pizza pretzel. I always got pizza sauce on my clothes.

Clothes. Do I have a shirt pressed for tomorrow?

Wow, that light is bright. Yep, there’s a shirt hanging there, perfectly ironed. Yuck. I don’t like that shirt. It’s pink.

A little boy told me once that if I wanted to get married I needed a pink shirt. He said girls like guys in pink shirts. I bought the shirt. The wife never came. Maybe that’s a good thing.

She cheated on me. I hope she’s miserable somewhere. And alone.

12:35

I like this shirt better. It’s a little tight, but it has vertical stripes. Maybe I’ll look thinner.

Ah, another can of Pringles! Let the heavens rejoice! Why is it above the washing machine on the shelf? Is it old?

Who cares? It’s not empty. The chips taste okay. Mostly. I’ll eat the rest of them anyway.

Maybe I can sleep now.

There’s light coming from somewhere. I think it’s my phone. It’s an alert about another natural disaster.

I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow. Oh look, it’s going to snow where my sister lives.

Snow. I don’t miss shoveling. Or wet boots.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I should get a pair of dress boots. Suede? Probably not. It’s too hard to keep suede footwear looking good.

I really hate my shoes. When I’m making more money, I’m going to have a closet full of shoes. Yet, I’ll probably only wear one or two pair.

My closet is too full. I need to do that thing where you turn all the clothes hangers around and get rid of everything you haven’t worn in six months.

In six months I’ll be another year older. I’m getting old. I am old.

12:55

I think I’m thirsty again. Four hours left to sleep. This is pointless. Maybe some Friends on Netflix will put my mind to rest.

1:40

Those were two of my favorite episodes. I really like Paul Rudd as an actor. He was good in that Marvel movie. I didn’t care for the ending. I wonder if the franchise is really done with the Avengers.

Isn’t there a movie coming out based on that book? What’s it called again? I need to read more. I don’t think I ever finished that book whatever it’s called. I should see if I can find it on Amazon.

1:58

Three hours left to sleep. 182 minutes.

(Singing to the tune of 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall — Scroll down if you don’t know the song.)

182 minutes to sleep
182 minutes
One goes by, you’re still awake
181 minutes to sleep…

I’ll be worthless at work tomorrow. It’ll be a struggle just like school used to be.

I wonder if my first-grade teacher is still living. She hated me. I was mouthy, so I probably deserved it. I’ll never forget when she yelled at me in front of the class.

I should take a class. Creative writing would be cool. A masterclass. Or painting! Oil painting would be so cool.

The bathroom needs to be painted. I think it should be green this time.

Rachel Green. Maybe I should watch more Friends.

Photo by 阿江 on Unsplash

4:01

I think I’m finally sleepy. I should close my eyes instead of staring at the clock.

59 minutes. Maybe a power nap will be enough. It better be enough.

4:22

Nope. Closing my eyes didn’t work. Only 38 more minutes. I should just get up.

My head hurts now. I should take something. Maybe I should call off work, but then I might get fired. I can’t be without a job. I need my meds.

I hate taking medication. The insurance doesn’t pay for them anyway. I should stop taking them. I’m more creative off my meds.

I’m going to write a book. A series of books. A space opera!

I miss Battlestar Galactica. Someone should find a way to bring it back. Or Stargate. A Stargate reboot would be cool.

Richard Dean Anderson looked a little rough in Stargate Universe. That was a good show. I liked how they ended it, but it should have been given at least one more season. Or a wrap-up movie. I need closure. The characters were likable. Mostly.

I wonder what David Blue is doing now. I have seen him in anything for a while.

No, I think I want to wear the blue shirt today. It’s not ironed. I better get up.

5:00

My alarm is blaring from my phone in the bedroom. I really need to change the alarm ringtone.

I hate my life.


Just in case you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing the song:


Scott Ninneman is a bookkeeper by day and writer by night. He is most widely known for his blog Speaking Bipolar where he writes about living with bipolar and chronic illness. His interests include gardening, cooking, reading, hiking and too much TV.


Let’s connect on social media. You can find me on: Twitter |Facebook |Instagram |Pinterest |YouTube

Speaking Bipolar

Publishing stories about personal development, living with mental illness, and surviving chronic conditions, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever.

Scott Ninneman

Written by

Scott Ninneman writes about living with mental and chronic illness, personal development, poetry and short stories. linktr.ee/speakingbipolar

Speaking Bipolar

Publishing stories about personal development, living with mental illness, and surviving chronic conditions, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever.

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