Nightwatch

My anxiety runs high today – I can feel it physically in my chest and pause, trying to observe. I can’t tell if I should ignore it or move around or eat something or practice breathing or continue doing what I’m doing right now, which is a lot of things, but could also be described as nothing very much at all.

My brain is working in jagged starts and stops. Usually the transition between one task and another is so smooth I don’t even notice it, which works out nicely since I am usually always doing several tasks at once – a busy bee in her flower patch, the petals from one flower touching the next so they all melt together – that’s what it usually feels like. But when I am running on fumes, the kind of restlessly wired exhaust fumes that feed midnight deadlines and toddlers who haven’t had naps, I am not a smooth buzzy bee. I am abrupt and clumsy and impatient with myself and the world. I am a hornet – mad just because I’m awake.

~~~

4 a.m. and I haven’t slept, though it isn’t for lack of trying. I try the things they tell you to do – make sure it’s not too hot, put on a sleep meditation, get up and eat a small snack and then stretch some, cat and cow pose, a fumbling downward dog in the darkness, hair tickling my face as I pedal the feet, feeling the tightness in my calves that never seems to go away. I lay down and try again. I can tell it’s not working – my body can’t seem to relax. I am too rigid, my breath too shallow – I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, even though I have no idea what the first shoe was.

I finally accept that sleep is not near and give in to it. I make myself a cup of coffee and turn on my laptop, bathing myself in melatonin erasing blue light. If I thought my brain was lagging earlier, I’m about to enter a whole new level right now. But it’s an opportunity to practice patience with myself, right?

“I want to live my life in the daylight,” I told my therapist the other day. I meant it, I did. And if it was up to me, I would be asleep right now. But….4 a.m. is an old friend of mine. I suppose we all need to visit old friends now and again.

 

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