Last Night I Had A Party In My Bed

Last night I had a party in my bed.

No, this is not another essay about my dating life. This is a public service announcement that might revitalize the Just Say No campaign of the Nineties and is a good example of my non-perfect life. If you ever thought that I had a perfect life. Which I don’t.

This little story is for everyone who does things they are embarrassed about but don’t feel like they can tell anyone. This is for people who are occasionally haphazard and need an assistant to get from Point A to Point B. And the Point B I’m talking about here is Bed.

This is for you. Read it and your self-esteem will soar when you compare your life to mine.

Let’s back up.

It was my daughter’s graduation from college weekend. I was feeling an appropriate amount of emotion. A little sad, a lot proud, the usual amount of tired. I’d gotten through the orchestra playing the graduation march without sobbing, the humorless speaker without sneering, the conferring of degrees without falling asleep.

After the celebration dinner, I managed to brush my teeth and I thought, take my very unsexy progesterone pill (can you feel the tension building?).

I put my head on the pillow and fell into a deep slumber-and at 2 a.m., the trumpets of my central nervous system blared, “Get the F up Ann! You have a world to run right now!

I sat up.

Look, I know a lot of people wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, but I am not that person. I am the person who falls asleep and you wonder if I died until I turn over at 5 a.m. with a smile and a to-do list turned on in my brain.

I tried to suss out what was happening. Was this a delayed euphoric response to my retirement from teaching? A delayed stress response from realizing that if I have a college graduate it must mean I’ve suddenly aged considerably? Is the laboring of my heart a delayed response to my Diet Coke at dinner?

I had to calm down.

Attempting to go back to dreamland, I tried that deep-breathing thing. That works, right? In deep for seven, hold for four, out for eight. Nothing. Wide awake. I dialed up rain noises on my phone. Took two Tylenol because I was sure I had a pain somewhere that needed numbing. I tried to read.

And still, the horns blared.

Then I retraced the steps of my bedtime ritual.

Teeth brushing.

Medicine taking.

Uh oh.

This is when I discovered that instead of taking my very unsexy progesterone accidentally took an Adderall (yes mine, shut-up). For those keeping track at home, that was Point A.

[Tweet “Last night I had a party in my bed. This is when I discovered that instead of taking my very unsexy progesterone accidentally took an Adderall”]

Adderall, for those who don’t know of it, is a time-release amphetamine that helps manage Attention Deficit Disorder. I’m a words girl, but I did the math and it wasn’t good. I was in for approximately eight to ten hours of heart-pounding, house-party-kind-of-drug-induced-stimulation all by myself in my bed. No arriving Point B.

Party of One.

Here’s what I did with my time.

  1. I cut my hair (sorry, Liz) with nail scissors I found while searching for a facial scrub.
  2. I washed my face with the facial scrub.
  3. I cleaned the toilet, sink, and bathtub.
  4. I watched two videos on how to give yourself your own gel manicure.
  5. I bought a gel manicure blue light.
  6. I direct-messaged friends until I found someone awake. I chatted with them until they stopped chatting with me.
  7. I wrote several to-do lists that will take me through 2025.
  8. I wrote a Ted Talk on how throwing all your stuff away does not make you a good person.
  9. I considered running for president.
  10. I searched slang terms for Adderall: red dexies, red pep, lid poppers, beans.
  11. I Googled how to counteract the red pep.
  12. I considered wine but thought that was way too 1990.

In case you thought you’d like to try amphetamines sometime in your life.

This is what happens when a goody-two shoes accidentally take a mind-altering drug.

What I learned.

  1. I would make a terrible rock star.
  2. I will never over-use chemicals of any sort, except maybe cleaning supplies.
  3. Adderall is powerful, and while it really turns on your brain, it doesn’t do a thing for your critical thinking during the midnight hours.
  4. If you are going to jack up your central nervous system, hide your credit cards.

Why am I telling you this?

  1. We all make mistakes.
  2. If I can tell you about this ridiculous night of mine, you can tell someone about whatever it is you are feeling embarrassed about.
  3. The more we talk about our mistakes, the more we connect with people on the imperfect human level where we all live.
  4. Because shame is embarrassment hidden and baked to perfection over time.
  5. Because perfection is a trap where your sadness lives.
  6. [Tweet “Because shame is embarrassment hidden and baked to perfection over time.Because perfection is a trap where your sadness lives.”]

I love you guys. Let’s party, but with cake instead of pills.

This is going to be my presidential platform.


PS: if you want to read about my true drug of choice, Sugar, read here to learn why to kick it. 


  1. Sadira Stone on May 23, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Oh dear! I regularly wake up at 3 a.m. and alternate between urgent planning and worst-case-scenario spinning. You certainly made good use of your nocturnal burst of mental energy.

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      I hate waking up early–3AM is a nightmare. There is barely enough time to get back to sleep!!
      So different from when the kids were little and I was the only one in the house sleeping through the night.

      • Bonnelyn Thwaits on May 23, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Next time text me!!! I get up and putter around the house EVERY night. Laundry, dishes, grinding my coffee manually on the find setting, pre feeding all the dogs….

        • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 1:57 am

          hahaha Will do! God, I hope there isn’t another time.

    • Kelly on May 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      Love this Ann!! (And I am addicted to sleep stories from headspace —they are quite trippy and work if you ever wake up from chocolate haha or just worry and not the big A)

      • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 3:04 pm

        oooooo I will check that out right now!!

  2. Heather Bell Adams on May 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Oh Ann how I adore you!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      We need to spend more time together!

  3. denise on May 23, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Ugh! I can’t even imagine.

    I have insomnia, but it doesn’t come with energy. So, I can’t really relate. Hugs.

    • denise on May 23, 2019 at 6:25 pm

      ps. Congratulations on the college graduate!

      • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:40 pm

        Well, mine was drugged induced. Thanks so much for the best wishes. I can’t believe she graduated!!

  4. Bill Gilliland on May 23, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Ha! I laughed and laughed. Thanks for your “confession”.

    I never thought you had a perfect life. But it is, and you are, fun and interesting. 🙂

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      You’re welcome. Hope it made you feel like you’ve got it all together.
      Thanks so much, Bill.

  5. Christa on May 23, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Lol I take vyvanse and adderall. And I could go to sleep easily an hour after taking either. Maybe there’s something really wrong with my nervous system. It does help me focus, but I literally could take a nap on command even after taking them. I also recently learned that vyvanse has a decent street market value so I always feel like I’m on the edge of a crime when I take one. “I could take this, or I could sell it…” hmm.

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      Wow, really? There is no sleep for me after taking….and I’m such a tired person. I wonder what is going on in that brain of yours :). Besides considering a life of crime (count me in).

  6. Madeline Slovenz on May 23, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Did that happen Tuesday night? If so, it may not have been the Adderall. I had a similar experience awakening at 3 a.m., full of energy, though not enough sleep. When I shared that experience with a friend, she related a similar experience. Just sayin’ . . .

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      hmmmmm let me think….no it was Thursday but I do think the Universe messes with the masses that way sometimes. !

  7. Diana Taylor on May 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Hey My Friend!!! I was so excited when your name popped up in my email. I immediately opened it and began reading because I also knew I would be LOL soon (and I did!) Thoroughly enjoyed the read…and being the wonderful teacher and writer that you are, have been enlightened.

    Love you more, and ready to party with cake

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      I live in Madison now, Baby let’s do it!!

  8. Deb Cleveland on May 23, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Hi, Ann!
    Glad to know the world, no, not the world, who cares about the world? l’m glad to know that there are others living in the Madtown area that are not perfect. In our politically correct, step-on-no-toes, save-the-grass college town, it’s nice to have someone admit, that maybe we should just give each other a break and admit we’ve all goofed up from time to time and don’t do smart things, on purpose or not on purpose. I accepted a straw with my Coke the other day and felt like an earth-hater. I love the earth, yet I sipped on a plastic straw. I’ll do better next time, I promise. Thanks for living in my neck of the woods and making feel better about myself. Blessings….

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      I understand!!
      The straws…who knew it was the straws all along. The whole thing is just too much. It’s too hard to do it all right. I’m here in the world to say, it’s fine. Be imperfect. 🙂

  9. Colette on May 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Oh, my!! You crack me up!!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      That’s good. As long as I don’t get arrested!!

  10. Gwen Jones on May 23, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Hi Ann, thank you for sharing it was a great story. I find myself up at night from time to time going over in my mind what I could have said better that day! I hope Paris was fantastic for you!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Gwen…I understand. I do that too, wonder how I could have taken the high road or snapped back more quickly.
      I’m going to France on Sat! Collioure, down south of france!

  11. Carolyn Aspenson on May 23, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    At first I thought it was the hormonal hell called menopause. It does all kinds of wonderful (sarcasm) things to ya which I discovered one sleepless night. At least the Adderall wears off. The menopause sticks around. I figure my life is perfectly imperfect. And I’m still alive and kicking, which even some living people can’t say. Cheers!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 8:44 pm

      That’s exactly right!
      Here and kicking. I’m really, really, good at imperfection.
      Glad you are too.

  12. Deanna on May 23, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Oh Ann … just like our college days without the drugs! Love you, chica!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 9:14 pm

      Thank GOD we didn’t do drugs. xoxox

  13. Ekta Garg on May 23, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Ann for president!! Yes! I would totally work for that campaign (and other than voting, I have never done anything even remotely political in my entire life. Other than have an opinion, of course.)

    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement, Ann. This is why you’re awesome!

    • Ann Garvin on May 23, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks Ekta,
      You, too, are awesome. xoxo

  14. Carol Dukes (aka #OldAFCarol) on May 23, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    I needed this today! I’m an Adderrall girl myself. I was diagnosed at age 62 as having lifelong ADHD. Suddenly my life made sense! If I take it past 5 PM I’m up all night, so I can imagine your “most productive early morning.” I used to take Ambien to get to sleep and that’s a whole nother set of stories. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 1:57 am

      I KNOW RIGHT? So much is clearer now.

  15. Robin Shilman on May 24, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Lol you are awesome. Just a side note to much allergy meds can do that also. I know that from experience unfortunately. Hope you are fully recovered.

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 1:58 am

      Oh yes, I know. UGH. It took me a day or two but I recovered. 🙂

  16. Kathy Harris on May 24, 2019 at 1:30 am

    I remember many, many (too many) years ago seeing Gena Rowlands acting in a Cassavetes written and directed show. She was portraying a used up hooker, testifying at a murder trial. Her classic line in the story reminds me of what you went through.(not the hooker part!!!) She said, while sobbing, “All night, it just got worse and worse until I wondered if it would ever stop being three o’clock in the morning.”

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 1:58 am

      Classic. That is a classic line!!! Love it.

  17. Sonya Day on May 24, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Ha! If this is what my week in Madison would look like in your class, I’ll take no substitute. I hear laughing can add hours to your life, and I have too many books to write. I need any extra hours I can get. Plus, you know, hilarious. 🙂

    I don’t often wake in the middle of the night, but I DO get energy bursts around 9pm that keep going till very late. Totally helpful if I have something to finish, but complete horror when I have to be out of bed by 5am! Thus why I don’t wake much in the middle – there is NO middle, just falling asleep to wake up what feels like minutes later. Yikes.

    Perfectly imperfect. That must have been what drew us to each other on that shuttle bus! You can sense that in others, right? 🙂

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 2:00 am

      You totally can, I think we all find each other. It’s CRAZY that it was a shuttle bus…wow

  18. Collin Kromke on May 24, 2019 at 2:00 am

    I so want to hear more about, and maybe even see photos of cutting your hair with nail scissors! Thanks for sharing, Ann. Love the vulnerability.

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 2:01 am

      I actually have photos. hahah

  19. Lisa Harvey on May 24, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    You are just way to funny! absolutely love your writing! Can’t wait to hear the Ted Talk…lol!

    • Ann Garvin on November 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      hahah So glad. YES a TED TALK!!

  20. Pam Gardner on May 24, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    You should have messaged me! I am always up in the night. I love you- you are so REAL!!! , and you make me laugh and .

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      hahaha I will but I do not want a next time!!

  21. Susan Peterson on May 24, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Oh my god, you made my snort my own Diet Coke!

    • Ann Garvin on May 24, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      hahaha . good you deserve a good laugh.

  22. Alicia Haney on May 24, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Wow, just reading this exhausted me!! You were pretty busy there for awhile, and yes we all make mistakes for sure! I’m glad you are back to yourself. 🙂 Have an Awesome day! take Care.

  23. Barbara Linn Probst on May 24, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Ann, someone just sent this to me and it is beyond hilarious!
    (Though I am like this w/o the Adderall. Really.)
    Can’t wait to see you in June! 🙂

  24. Tracey Phillips on May 24, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the LOL! After a long day with my suspense ms, I needed it! You’re the best!

    • Ann Garvin on November 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      awwww Thankyou!!

  25. Michelle Donofrio on May 25, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Loved that, Ann. Please tell me you drove home after the graduation and that you did not clean the toilet and tub of a hotel room……

  26. Susan Gromis on May 26, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    So next time I wake up at 2am I am likely to vote for you to be president…just because you are my Tall Poppies hero!
    So, I just took a new job – totally out of my comfort zone – and I MAKE LISTS! My job has many details so I make MANY LISTS. Many days I finish everything on my lists – yay for me; my problem is that my 2am adrenaline shot is the ten lines of subtext under each item completed on my original list, that couldn’t come to mind as I was making the list, but suddenly can’t be contained at 2am, each line waving its little arms saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”
    Anyway, I also know sugar is evil: my quandary isn’t knowing I need to abandon my dependence on it, but how… I have all the knowledge I need, but my resistance and willpower seem to have headed on a long term vacation and didn’t ask me to go with them….
    Anyway, you are fine, we love you and will sit by you anytime!!

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