You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.
– Tyler Durden, Fight Club
A lot of people out there with sleeping problems don’t know what’s going on with them. That’s perfectly normal. You’ve tried everything, you’ve gone through every pill, every supplement, every sleep tactic out there, and you’re still up and awake.
However, there’s one thing that I’d like to point out: that doesn’t make you special.
A lot of people eventually come to believe that, because nothing is working for them, they must have some special, ultra-rare condition, a genetic defect or neurological damage. Or even a parasite in their brain (I even used to think that one).
This is what is called ‘Special Snowflake Syndrome’, which basically means that you think you’re unique in some way, while you’re actually pretty much not so. At least concerning sleep. (although I fully believe you are a beautiful special person in other ways)
The thing with us humans is: we share most of our genetic code. While everyone has his or hers own special quirks, looks or talents, that doesn’t mean your biology works in a different way.
Most people with Special Snowflake Syndrome have spent a lot of their time on Google and medical websites, checking out if any of their symptoms have anything to do with some rare disease only one in a hundred thousand people get (or less). Then, they come across some weird neurological disease, and the symptoms are summed up pretty nice next to it.
And wouldn’t you know it? You’ve got some of those symptoms!
- Trembling hands? Yeah, my hands tremble sometimes!
- Problems sleeping? Duh, it’s the reason I’m here!
- Problems remembering things? OH MY GOD I FORGET THINGS A LOT TOO, I MUST HAVE THIS DISEASE!
Of course, there are more serious symptoms too, and while you might exhibit some of those, that doesn’t mean you have a weird neurological disease. And when people are watching House M.D. a lot, they think they get a solid medical education from TV. Guess what folks: doctors get years and years of intense medical training. They know a lot more than you do, with your Google University degree. And while they are people who make mistakes too, when you have not yet been diagnosed with a disease by a medical professional, don’t start believing you’ve got something weird.
Another aspect of this is, of course, is that a lack of sleep can cause a lot of these symptoms. Because your brain isn’t properly able to function due to a lack of sleep, you’re going to feel weird or have memory problems or have problems talking or thinking, or tremors. And a whole lot of other things.
In any case, I used to have Special Snowflake Syndrome as well. But as a matter of fact, I actually have a neurological disorder, a lighter form of epilepsy. And I used to think my insomnia must have been somehow related to this as well. I learned later that this was totally not the case and now I sleep just fine.
So even in my case, I couldn’t call myself a special snowflake even if I wanted to. Sucks to be me, I know.
However, not being a special snowflake makes life so much easier, because being a normal person without any weird medical issue going on makes your problem much easier to fix, as long as you know what to do.
More importantly, it can give you hope. Hope that you’ll get better.
Of course, in some rare cases, people actually can be rare, unique and special. There are people out there who have something going on with their brain, who have a special defect. But don’t go assuming all too quickly that you are amongst those people.
To find out if you’re a special snowflake or not, you’ll have to do four things:
A. Check your body temperature during the day. If it’s significantly lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 Celsius, you’re probably not a special snowflake, because you just have a lowered metabolic rate, causing your stress hormones to go up, which is easy to fix.
B. Are you overexercising, on some kind of restricted diet, or under a whole lot of psychological stress? Congratulations, you’re not a special snowflake!
C. Do you either have an inconsistent wake up schedule, an inconsistent day schedule, do you do shift work, do you stay inside all day, do you eat shitty food or sit on your ass all day? Nope, you’re a just a regular, run-of-the-mill snowflake.
D. Haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor with a special disease that might screw with your sleep? No Special Snowflake for you!