I WANT TO SLEEP
I like winter. I like snow… My name is Aksinia. I live in Russia. My story started in the winter. It was January, 2014. How many stars are in the sky? I want to sleep…
— Mother, I don’t know where to work to decide the problem -Aksinia says.
— What do you like?
— I gonna think, think…
— I want to live in the world of numbers.
— Aksi, we have to sleep- the mother said.
The moon fills the room with moonlight. Aksinia began to spin on the bed.
“It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!” I can’t sleep now.
— Good morning. What hurting? -the doctor says.
— I can’t sleep. My legs don’t stop. They move.
The doctor is silent.
— I get out of bed. Walk around the room.
— How old are you?
— I’m 21 years old.
— You’re depressed- the doctor replied in a confident manner.
— But I don’t suffer.
It’s a beautiful day. I love Saint Petersburg. I walk around the city and dream. Why can’t I sleep? I can’t answer this question. I can’t control my body. I was visiting the doctors all the year. I feel legs attack every night. I’m afraid… The bed is my enemy now. I cry every night. What is it? The Doctors can’t name the diagnosis. The doctors laugh at me. The mother also cries every night. I’m tired. I want to sleep. The doctor said, “Restless legs syndrome.” (RLS) This phrase changed my life forever. But I don’t have the treatment for the illness.
I’m studying at the university. After my hard nights being in classes is difficult. Syndrome destroys my life.
In the afternoon Aksinia drinks tea with her mother.
— Why am I sick? — Aksinia asks.
— I can’t answer this question.
— I’m studying neurobiology.
— You will find the answer, Aksinia.
Mom helps me. Only she believed me. People think I’m lying. The sleep is an important human need. Deficiency in neurology is the loss of an organ or its function. I have a deficiency in the “organ of sleep”. The brain… Where does the sleep start? The sleep begins with …?
People like to advise. But if you don’t have RLS, it’s impossible to understand this pain.
Aksinia writes her diary every night. Aksinia: “I can’t sleep again. I visited the neurologist. He is tall, handsome man. I’m falling in love. I like this feeling. I’m glad. He conducted a survey. The peripheral nervous system is not disturbed. This news is good and bad for me. No one believes that it’s a problem. Neurologist’s name is Igor. What does he think about me? Igor thinks that I’m depressed. Doctors don’t want to understand Restless Legs Syndrome.
Does love consist of dopamine? Dopamine is a brain mediator, which means anticipation of pleasure. I speak about dopamine neurons. They give us movement. Neuroplasticity helps the brain to change its neurons. I can and you can. I like neuroscience. Science helps me understand my process of sleep.
Igor thinks that I’m crazy. How to prove the existence of RLS?
RLS triggers: neuroleptics, amitriptyline and other. Igor said me to take antidepressant. This medication increases the “pain”. Why Igor doesn’t know about this? The syndrome is torture of the 21st century.
Thomas Willis described the syndrome in the seventeenth century. In his opinion, the syndrome is an attack of hysteria. In the twentieth century K. Ekbom told people about the Restless Legs Syndrome. Nobody knows the cause of the syndrome now. How can you sleep?
How are you? Do you like autumn? I like October. That is a yellow world. I’m happy. The rain warms the soul. Hot tea and sweater.
My friends think that the syndrome is not a disease.