For the third night this week, I’m up at 3:30 in the morning. Usually I wouldn’t post to my blog, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
I’ve been assuming my inability to sleep has something to do with working from home. I figured without a commute, the walking around at work or the interaction with other people, I just wasn’t tired. So, this week, I’ve made it a point to get up, exercise, take a walk and do things besides working as a way to engage my brain and my body. Yesterday, besides a barre workout, I walked three miles with my family and did things around the house. That’s more than I would do on the average day. Yet, here I am wide awake.
Just before I started typing this, I was in the middle of yet another terrible dream. This has been a trend. Totally awful dreams. People I love are dying. My house is being taken from me piece by piece. Of course, there are vomit dreams, which are dreams I have about people throwing up. And for an emetophobe, yeah… I have dreams about lost people, hurt people, sad people. I wake up fully defeated from the night before.
Explaining my Insomnia
My youngest daughter is a terrible sleeper. Even to this day, at six years old, she has a hard time handling sleep. My husband would disagree and say I’ve created bad habits, but I’ve also been in her shoes.
I’ve always been a horrible sleeper. My mom recalls the early days when my parents were so desperate for me to sleep, they thought maybe I didn’t like the color of the ceiling in my bedroom and that was keeping me awake.
If that doesn’t scream sleep-deprived parent, I don’t know what does.
This continued long into my elementary years, when I was plagued by bad dreams, hid perfectly still under my blankets each night, afraid that someone would break into the house but if I was silent and still, they wouldn’t murder me. I was afraid of late night fires, people peeking in my window and the noises I could hear.
I would get up and sleep under a ledge of my parents bed every night. No blanket, no pillow, just because I didn’t want to be alone. They hated this. I get it now, but at the time, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t sleep and why they didn’t want me to lay under their bed.
As I got older, we changed methods. A TV in my room meant I couldn’t hear noises and I had light. College came and virtually no college student has a good sleep schedule. After college, it got better. I got into a consistent groove. I was in bed by 9 p.m. every night, 10 p.m. on Thursdays (I liked “e.r.”) I rarely slept in. But then I had a baby. Since then, nothing has been normal.
In fact, with my last baby, I had pregnancy-induced insomnia. I never slept. Despite copious amounts of Ambien, I would be up at all hours of the night, talking nonsense, making lists out of words that didn’t exist and just completely fading away. I was so tired and yet sleep never came.
Staying in Control of My Sleep
In order to avoid utter meltdowns, I know I require a specific amount of sleep per day. Whether that comes in the form of one stretch at night or naps during the day, I need the sleep to avoid anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.
In an odd twist of fate, if I don’t get enough sleep (and stick with me here because this is about to get CRAZY), IF I DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP, it spins up my anxiety and depression and I can actually do nothing BUT sleep, but only during the day.
I do not try and understand that at all.
And before you try to tell me that I ruin my night sleep by sleeping all day, I can assure you, the two are not related.
Insomnia and National Letter Writing Month
It’s 4:04 a.m. so you are probably wondering if I’m just going to tell you long drawn out stories about my sleep or if I’m going to make the connection to National Letter Writing Month. Well, here it comes.
Tonight, after I awoke from nasty dreams (and a little hunger) at 3:30, I couldn’t go back to sleep. The blog that I had planned for today…well, it wasn’t this. But as I’ve learned, if I just wait, it’ll all come together.
I’m tired of bad news. A nasty virus is plaguing our world. We are trapped inside. I’m have seasonal affect disorder and the weather is not helping. Usually my method of coping is to fight my inverted nature and get out to pep myself up, but I can’t. I cannot turn on the TV without more bad news. My dog has hurt his neck, and while he does this sort of frequently, I’m convinced (in the words of my husband) that he has one foot in the grave. An acquaintance was diagnosed with cancer. Another friends needs to separate from her family because she works in a hospital and she’s terrified of bringing home germs, yet she is traumatized by what she sees every day and needs her family. I had someone message me though a Facebook page I manage about needing help because she is trapped at home with her alcohol-abusing husband and she does not know how to deal. I’m worried about jobs, maybe not our jobs, but the economy in general. The mom and pop shops, the restaurants that aren’t part of a chain. And my goodness, how will Target stay afloat if so many of us can’t just wander the aisles and buy things we don’t need?
And somehow, through all of this, I expect to sleep.
So today, write a letter sharing something good in your life.
Spread Good News
Yesterday, my husband shared a video clip with me from John Krasinski of “The Office” and apparently some show named “Jack Ryan” or “Jack…something” anyway, he was Jim from “The Office.”
Let me find it.
In case you don’t want to watch it, and why wouldn’t you, he goes on for nearly 10 minutes not talking about the coronavirus, death tolls, political games or the negative effects of 5G networks. He talks about the good in the world. And then he brings on Steve Carell, just watch it….it’s worth your time. And, well, we have a lot of it right now, amiright?
Dang. What a novel idea! Let’s spread some good news!
Maybe you learned to play an instrument, maybe you picked up a really good book or binged a terrific (not Tiger King) show (not Tiger King) on (Not Tiger King) Netflix. Not Tiger King. Maybe you had a really great conversation with your grandma or got to spend more time with your brother, even virtually, this week than you have in a long time. Maybe someone just made you feel loved and happy and you just want to share it.
So, do it. Get out a pen and paper and write it down. Put it in an envelope and share that joy, spread that love and put something good and joyful out into a world that is gripped by fear, anxiousness and confusion.
I promise you, it will not only make the recipient feel better, but it will make you feel better to see some good in your life in the face of so much uncertainty.
And now, I will try to get some sleep.