What is it about darkness and nighttime that magnifies our fears? Is it the blackness? The quiet? The way ordinary, everyday objects acquire mythical, beastly proportions?
Last night, I lay awake for what seemed like several hours. I failed to understand why. We’d been swimming so my body was tired and would normally have fallen asleep easily. I couldn’t put it down to a myriad of thoughts rushing around my brain looking to disembark at different stations either. I wasn’t aware of feeling worried about anything.
Usually the fact I was finding it difficult to sleep the night before a work day would stress me out more but now I realise that I try not to get worked up about it knowing I’ll catch up on my sleep at some point. Although it will mean I’ll have to layer on the make up the next day to pass for vaguely human and not frighten people!
I rarely suffer from insomnia but on the odd occasion I can’t sleep I have a couple of coping mechanisms. I search my thoughts to see if I am worried about something. If so, I pray about it and then make a conscious effort to let go of it until the next day. If this doesn’t work then I try this and it’s a bit weird so you may want to back away slowly. I count, not sheep, to 100 repeatedly. This usually works to send me into the land of nod.
In the end, last night, nothing seemed to work. I lay there in the dark with my eyes closed, willing myself to relax, resisting the urge to check my phone because I knew it would over stimulate me again.
I’m a fairly rational person but nighttime is when my fears attack. I worry about dying and leaving my children motherless, I worry their coughs and colds and sniffles are serious illnesses. I worry about household bills and if we’ll make the rent this month, even though we always do. I think about all the things I’ve yet to finish. I replay conversations and interactions in my mind and examine how I could have played them differently.
I think about how old I am and wonder how many minutes I have left…
I’m sure I’m not alone in this, these deep, morbid thoughts. It’s just there is so much going on during the day these thoughts get swept aside.
Perhaps next time I’ll try a warm glass of milk!