I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. I don’t think my mother has forgiven me for my infancy yet. Probably she never will, actually. I am just not good at staying asleep or being asleep or sleeping through the night or really anything to do with sleep.

In the last 8 months, sleep has been extra difficult. There have been weeks (and months) where I’ve been getting by on about 3 hours a night, usually not consecutive. I finally saw my doctor a few months ago and she suggested I might need something a bit more serious than melatonin. So she wrote me a prescription for Ambien.

Now, I’ve heard *many* stories about Ambien and the crazy things that can happen after taking Ambien. I have a friend who may or may not have made hats for her individual toes. Toe hats, y’all. It was a thing. So the first time I took Ambien, I was prepared for something out of the ordinary to happen. Still, seeing a chicken in my room (just a little one, of the urban variety) and having a quick chat before I fell asleep was a little weird. And the next night, seeing a group of people gather around me, chatting about teacups and rhythmic gymnastics, and having to tell them to pipe down was even weirder. But I was sleeping, so I figured a few extra hours a night were worth a hallucination here or there. And it worked; the Ambien reset my sleep cycle and I started to sleep 5-6 hours a night without any help.

Lately though, I’ve been struggling again. So my doctor called in another prescription and off I went into Ambientown once more. The first night I had my new prescription, I had a conversation with myself.

Alida to Alida: Alright girl. You are going to take this pill and immediately turn off the light and close your eyes. You are not going to look for strange things in the room. You are going to stay in bed and fall asleep quickly. It’s going to be awesome, all the sleep. Just be cool.

I tried, y’all. I took the pill, curled up under my blanket, turned off the light, and shut my eyes. But then the temptation to see, just to *check* if anything interesting was happening around me was too much. So I peeked. Just a quick look to see what was up. Then I had another conversation with myself.

Alida to Alida: Okay girl. There may or may not be a very tall guy standing in the corner of the room. You know he is not real. He is definitely *not* conducting a circus. It makes no sense that the ringmaster of a circus would be in your room because your room is too tiny for a circus. So you should definitely chill out and not be excited about the possibility of seeing a show right now. I’m almost certain there is no cotton candy under your pillow. Don’t check. Okay, fine, you can check real fast. SEE? Told you so. You should be going to sleep. None of this is real, although the tiny little fairy people floating around are decidedly cool. Unreal, obvi, but very cool. You’ve seen the fun things, they are not actually happening, so close your eyes and go to sleep.

Alida back to Alida: You’re exactly right. Nothing is real. I’m just going to go to sleep. I just have to do one thing though, real quick, it’ll only take a sec.

Alida (out loud) to the Ringmaster in her room: CAN YOU MAKE THE FAIRY PEOPLE DANCE PLEASE?

Alida to Alida: Awesome.

Ambien, y’all. It’s a hell of a drug.