Insomnia

Why do demons loom so large at 3 in the morning. When the night is depth of dark and still and silent. Then, at that dead hour between the dawn and midnight, worries rear ugly shapes huge and I lie awake, my head full of loud voices and alarming faces. It is too late to sleep deeply and satisfyingly again, too early to rise.

Then, at 4 in the morning, I fret about time slipping by, I worry about not having achieved, I worry about the writing I promise myself I will do and the writing I don’t, I worry about mum, I worry that I am shrinking her world and not expanding it. I worry about aloneness and distance and how many more days I can cope in this peculiar hiatus of faraway living surrounded by walls and fences, tightly sewn up, claustrophobic, whilst Africa sprawls carelessly all around me. I worry about opportunity that has run away. I worry about never being able to catch up with it – with anything – again.

At 4 am I think I may never sleep again.

I do and I dream but my dreams are not peaceful places. Anxiety tiptoes around the edge of them.

I wake again at seven. The demons have receded a little. I can no longer hear them clamouring, no longer see their cruel profiles so sharply drawn.

But their footsteps are there to examine in the smokey grey of breakofday light.

They are big; have left a deep tread.

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4 Responses to “Insomnia”

  1. janelle Says:

    Remember this: If you’re worried about something and there is something you can do about it, then there is no need to worry. If you’re worried about something and there is nothing you can do about it, again, there is no need to worry. (Dalai Lama) Just remind yourself of that next time. And remember you are loved. Let those thoughts float through your mind instead, dear Anthea! XXXX

  2. MsCaroline Says:

    Years ago, I dragged myself and very ill son#1(then, about 9 months old- he’s 24 now) into the pediatrician, almost hysterical with worry and completely distraught after a sleepless night with a feverish, miserable infant. In short order, she diagnosed and prescribed, calmed my fears, and set things right. I apologised for being so emotional, and tried to convey a little bit of what the last 8 hours had been like. She was so kind and understanding, and the last bit of what she said has always stayed with me, which was something along the lines of: “Human beings are hardwired in a such a way that they are actually geared to perceive events at night as much more dangerous and upsetting than similar events during daylight hours.” It makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint, and I could see immediately (being a worrier myself) that it would apply just as well to past, future, or imagined events as it would to actual occurrences. It may not take the worries away, and I, too, have my own lonely 2 am anguish, but on some level, it helps me to know that at least some of it is my ‘lizard brain’ doing its best to protect me and mine from the sabre-toothed tiger. x

  3. Ellie Says:

    Insomnia is one of the worst things isn’t it?! I would far and away rather have to deal with anxiety in the daylight … {{hugs}}

  4. Sabine Says:

    Just as pain is felt so much more intensely, fretting achieves its climax in the dark night. Not fair but what is? You are not alone. In fact, we are a multitude.

    There is one thing about these nights that helps me in a strange way, that is the knowledge that so many others are in the same predicament all over the world in the silence of the night. If only we could pool our resources and work together to fight those demons that keep us awake.
    That and never checking what time it is.

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