It’s almost 1:00 am. I should be fast asleep, and yet, here I am, writing this post. I write because, after an hour and a half of trying to sleep, I am giving in and admitting defeat.
Tonight I am Spinning.
I never used to have problems sleeping. From my childhood until my late 20s, I usually fell asleep soon after my head hit the pillow. Now I find that I am a fairly regular insomniac.
I know exactly when it started. Just over 3 years ago my life tore apart at the seams. They say that bad things come in threes – for me it was four. One right after the after. Every time someone said it couldn’t get any worse, it did just that. In a matter of weeks, the life that I knew was completely shattered.
It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And it was in the aftermath of these 4 devastating events that I became intimately acquainted with the dangers of insomnia. Because in the dark hours of the night it becomes increasingly difficult to escape the dark places of your mind.
You see, during the day you can find things, actions, and people to distract you. When you catch yourself Spinning about certain topics, you can make the decision to stop and pull yourself out by turning your attention to something else. At night, lying in bed in the silence of your bedroom, this becomes much more difficult. Even when you try and discipline your mind, there is nothing to help pull you out of your thoughts. It was in these moments that I learned just how scary of a place your mind can be. And how quickly it can spiral into the depths of the despair. The dark thoughts and places that I visited in those months after the shattering are places that I hope to never visit again.
With time, healing has occurred. Eventually I learned to not fear going to bed. And yet, unfortunately, my insomnia occasionally rears its ugly head – a gift of the shattering that doesn’t want to be returned. While the thoughts are (thankfully) never as dark or scary as the ones of those first few months, the general experience remains. Nowadays it only occurs when I’m extremely stressed. Tonight, it is due to work. As I said in yesterday’s post, this week has resulted in an extremely unfortunate and undesirable situation at work. Tomorrow (or, I guess I should say, today) I have the meeting to determine the outcome of this situation. I’ve been preparing for this meeting for two days, and was putting together some last minute information before going to bed. Which was my first mistake. When I finally called it a night, I found, as is typical, that my mind no longer wanted to shut off. And so the Spinning began…it started with my going over every possible piece of information to make sure that I was prepared which turned into trying to guess every possible conversation that might occur during the meeting which turned into my trying to prepare every possible argument that I could make.
It’s a good thing I’m not a lawyer. I’d never get any sleep.
Of course, the more I try to stem the tide of thoughts, the more they tend to Spin. Looking at the clock and seeing the passing time only serves to stress me out, which causes the Spinning to intensify as I add in the worry of not getting enough sleep.
And so I write. I write because I believe that I’m not the only one that suffers from this problem. I write in the hopes that getting this on “paper” will be the positive choice that somehow helps quiet my thoughts. I write because, frankly, if I didn’t do something, I was going to drive myself mad.
It’s now after 1:30. I find that I am reluctant to close this post and return to my bed. I confess that I fear the prospect of several more hours of frustrated awakeness. But I know that, if I am ever to successfully vanquish this foe, then I must find a way to control my mind. Because only then will I find the peace – and rest – that I seek.
To sleep I go.