Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please Welcome Katy Andrews

The Machinist: Insomnia's Love Song

Insomnia is an old friend I know too well.

He hasn’t been by to visit me much lately, mostly due to the fact that I make sure to work hard enough during the day that when my bedtime rolls around, I am too exhausted to be bothered to entertain him.

So he just sort of sits at the edge of my bed, tapping his fingers, waiting for the opportunity to bug me.

Quite a change from a year ago, when the only serious relationship I had at the time was with him.

Stress-induced insomnia is a state of consciousness not many are subjected to. Consider yourself very lucky if you have not been.

As you can probably tell if you watch The Machinist.

For two months last summer, I think I was The Machinist.

This movie is the tale of a man who has not slept in a year. The script itself is heavily influenced by the works of Dostoevsky (The Idiot, Crime and Punishment). The main character’s name, Trent Reznik, is an homage to Trent Reznor, the founder of the band Nine Inch Nails. The original script of the movie actually opened with lyrics from Reznor’s album, The Downward Spiral. It fits very well as you watch the movie: I had always wondered myself what the music from that particular album would look like. I remember lying in bed in high school listening to The Downward Spiral in the dark, and the images that would pop up, the story I imagined for the characters in the songs where actually very similar to the main character in The Machinist. Johnny Cash did a cover of a song from this album, “Hurt”. After he died, his song “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” was released, with these opening bars: “You can run on for a long time, sooner or later God’ll cut you down”. Prolific final words from The Man in Black, if I do say so myself.

Watching this movie is hard for me, I must admit. It brings back flashes of a time when my mind was completely disconnected from my body.

When you watch The Machinist, you watch how I saw two months of my daughter’s life. Two months of my life. Two months of my father’s life.

Two more months of my father’s life that might not have even existed if things had not worked out for the better.

The suffocating paranoia, the escalating fear, it is all there in that movie, written all over Christian Bale’s ghostly face.

The question posed during the trailer of this movie is the same question every insomniac asks themselves after they watch yet another night not sleeping pass them by:

“How do you wake up from a nightmare when you’re not asleep?”

3 deadly screams:

Gracen Miller said...

Hi, Katy! I've not seen the Machinist, but your blog has me itching to rent it.

Insomnia and I are old friends too. Contrary to you though, it seems like the more tired I am, the more likely I am to suffer from insomnia. It's as if my brain refuses to slow down long enough to allow sleep to invade its subconscious.

The doctor gave me sleeping pills. I slept all night, all the next day and then couldn't sleep the next night. Frustrating! I halfed the sleeping pill, per doctor's orders, but I still wanted to sleep most of the next day. And when I was awake I felt like a zombie. She says it will take a week or two for my body to get used to the sleeping pills. Unlike her, obviously, I have a family that has to be taken care of. I couldn't drive a car I was so zombied out, so I don't have a week, much less two, to get used to the pills.

I chose to suffer from the insomnia than feel like that, which is really not ideal because I have mitral valve prolapse and lack of sleep can aggravate it. It's a lose-lose situation all around.

Great blog! Thanks for blogging with us! I know I didn't answer your question, but I don't really have an answer for you. When you discover the answer, I'd love to hear it! :-)

ddurance said...

I honestly don't know. I have suffered from very little insomnia over the years, but it must be horrible if if continues for an extended time. Most of my trouble sleeping was brought on by stress and worrying.
I haven't seen this movie, but I'll have to give it a try.


Kate said...

The movie centers around what can happen when we try to run from our problems. In my case, I buried myself in work, along with taking care of a newborn infant, and I believe during the month of June of last year I got about 60 hours of sleep. It was a very scary time.

Thank you for having me!