This is me.
Not sleeping when I should be…
Thanks to an ear worm.
Now before you get all grossed out and think I have some parasite living in the depths of my inner ears, allow me to reassure you that an ear worm is actually not a living creature at all. In fact, it isn’t even a thing you can see or touch.
And actually chances are pretty good that you have had an ear worm or two yourself.
An ear worm is simply the term used for when you get a song stuck in your head. Most people have this problem from time to time. It can be extremely aggravating to live with while it is happening, but the good news is that typically the ear worm will go away within a few hours (perhaps a day at most) and life returns to normal.
At least, that is most people’s experience.
Unfortunately, it’s not been mine.
As luck would have it, I am one of those rare people who is especially sensitive to getting ear worms. Not only that, my ear worms like to stick around for long periods of time, sometimes for several days or a week. At night, the ear worms keep me awake because I can’t turn off the radio that’s constantly playing inside my head long enough to fall asleep. And when I do drift off, the ear worm will often wake me up in the wee hours of the morning, as if what I wanted most in the world was to attend a personal and private concert at 3 am.
Over the years, I’ve been given all sorts of advice:
“Why don’t you just change the station in your head,” some clever friends have commented.
“You could mentally turn down the volume,” others have said.
Try singing the song out loud.
Listen to the song all the way through.
Trick your brain by doing something else like counting backwards from 100.
Just stop listening to music.
I’ll admit that I’ve tried most of these. Some of them multiple times. Although I have to admit that I didn’t stop listening to music altogether. Not only do I enjoy listening to music, but the are far more songs that haven’t given me an ear worm when compared to those that have. It seems silly to ban all songs when such a small percentage are causing the problem. Besides, even if I wanted to stop listening to music, I’m not sure how one could possibly go about such a thing in today’s society. Music is everywhere!
Regardless, none of these tricks and tips managed to kick the ear worm out of my brain. In fact, the harder I try to make it go away, , the worse my ear worm actually becomes.
This is me.
Expressing how I feel about ear worms.
And about being up all night listening to songs I don’t enjoy.
Because generally it is the songs that I don’t particularly enjoy that get stuck in my head. But that’s not always the case. Occasionally a song I like gets stuck in my head, too. (Well, at least I liked it before the ear worm started, and I was forced to listen to it ten thousand times without stopping.)
You might be wondering exactly what sort of songs get stuck in my head. So here is a sampling of recent ear worms I’ve dealt with:
One of the most frustrating ones was the song Fix My Eyes by For King and Country. A couple of years ago, it received a lot of playtime on our favorite car radio station, KLOVE. That particular ear worm was so incredibly bad (keeping me awake for nights on end) that for about 2 months, I wouldn’t turn on KLOVE at all simply for fear of hearing it and risking the ear worm starting back up. To this day, I still refuse to listen to this song.
Not long ago, I got just two lines from the Bryan Adams’ song Everything I Do stuck in my brain. Jon laughed when I told him that the worst part was I couldn’t even get my brain to play the rest of the song for me! This happened to be one of those songs that I don’t mind hearing. However, I prefer to listen to the entire song, and not just two lines repetitively.
It’s not just the radio music either. The theme songs from TV shows or even advertisement jingles can get stuck in my head too. Jon and I love to watch Father Brown on Netflix, but Jon has to mute the intro or I find myself unable to get the theme music out of my head.
And then there is this little gem … The Alef Bet Song by Debbie Freedman. Now you might be wondering how this song even got into my head in the first place. The answer is that I am currently taking Hebrew lessons, and the teacher insists upon playing this song during every single class. The class meets one evening a week. I leave each class with my personal radio brain playing The Alef Bet Song on repeat. By the time I finally get that annoying song out of my head, it’s time to go back to class … where the song will once again be played, and my ear worm will be reactivated. At this rate, I may not sleep again until after Hebrew class ends sometime around the last week of April.
The truth is, I don’t even have to hear music for my ear worm to activate. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to simply mention the song, Within second, my ear worm starts up, and right then I know for the next few days I’ll be sleepless in Louisiana. A prime example is the theme music to The Andy Griffith Show. I swear all it takes is for someone to mention Barney Fife, and the whistling begins in my head.
Once it wasn’t even a song that got my ear worm to going. It was a silly board game we played as a family. Afterwards, I was awake all night long mentally playing Ticket To Ride, mapping train routes all over Europe and trying to draw the right cards to complete the routes in my imagination. Thankfully, this ear worm only lasted for one night.
Obviously, I have a serious ear worm problem. While it might be a relatively common source of frustration, it seems as though I struggle with this to an extreme level. I wondered if this might be indicative something … like, say, a sign of superior intelligence. Wouldn’t that be nice?
After doing a bit of research, I am sad to say that the answer to this questions is no. Ear worms are not a sign that I am smarter than you, or possess any special brain powers.
But, according to several internet sites, it can actually be a sign of an anxious brain.
Lovely. Yet another thing for me to worry about.
Perhaps this is you.
Maybe you are thinking, “Gosh, Paige! That ear worm thing is terrible! But why are you writing a blog post on ear worms? Surely after such a long hiatus from blogging, this isn’t the best idea you had. Isn’t there a better topic?”
Yes, I agree with you. There are probably many far more interesting and worthwhile topics to write about, especially after one takes a year long break from blogging. In fact, I’d say this probably is a really poor choice of topics for a come-back post.
But the truth is that I haven’t felt like writing much over the last year or so. Often times, I feel guilty about that. Lately, I’ve been praying for the desire to write again. Today the urge hit, so I decided to go with it.
The strange thing is that not only did I have the urge to sit down and write, but I knew exactly what I wanted to write about … Ear worms.
You see, writing has always been a catharsis for me. Whenever I write, I am generally working my way through an issue in my life, although usually it is something far more significant than ear worms. Perhaps this will sound strange, but quite often God speaks to me through the words that He gives me to write. It’s as if I look back and wonder where the words came from because I know I wouldn’t have thought those things on my own.
So ear worms are a HUGE issue in my life right now. I would love a solution. I suppose that part of me is hoping that God will provide insight into my problem as I write. But that’s not the only reason I chose to write about ear worms.
Humor just so happens to be a great way to battle against frustration. Last night I was a captive audience while my brain played The Alef Bet Song on repeat for more than 4 hours straight. As you might imagine, today I am feeling deeply frustrated with my ear worm problem. So this afternoon, when I suddenly found myself wanting to write about ear worms, I realized I could probably do it with a bit of humor. In the end, my sleep-deprived brain got several chuckles from the words that flowed out of my fingertips and onto the computer screen. Hopefully , it wasn’t just funny to me and you have found this post somewhat humorous too.
But if not, then perhaps you at least are experiencing a feeling of relief that you don’t suffer from a massive ear worm that randomly takes over your brain for days on end. That’s something to be thankful for, right? And if I can help other people live a more grateful life by writing about ear worms … well, all I can think is, “How amazing is that?!”
But there is one more reason I wrote this blog post.
It’s deeply personal and quite selfish in nature. I am almost afraid to write it, but as I have already bared my soul this much, I’ll take a deep breath and type the words with all the brave hope I can muster.
I wrote this post hoping that if you are ever with me, and I happen to politely ask if we can please turn off the radio or mute the TV, you will understand I am not trying to be rude or controlling. I’m only asking because an ear worm lives inside my brain.
And trust me …
If that nasty feller gets fed, I don’t sleep.
Maybe not for nights upon nights.
And sleep, my friends, is never over-rated.
** all images in this post were downloaded from Clipart-library.com