Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quiet madness

That title doesn't really cover it, though. I'm trying to capture what happens most nights for me, sometime around 3 or 4:30am. That's the time I usually jerk awake. The house is still, my husband is breathing slowly and evenly next to me—and like an unwitting inverse correlation to his calm, I can barely catch my breath. I wake from bad dreams at times, but most often I simply open my eyes, feeling immediately anxious, worried about everything under the sun.

Why do I worry? It's pointless. It's unbiblical. It's a sign of weak or absent faith. I know all these things, consider them truths, yet there I lie, silently freaking out. Ebola will continue to spread thanks to unpreparedness in the United States, my family will be struck, some of us will die too soon... ISIS, having penetrated our borders, will begin systematically killing and capturing Americans in random places and the culture of sheep will permit it out of fear of offending someone... Our government will become even more corrupt and the society will crumble into martial law when bankruptcy must be faced and handouts are ended... And those are just the outside-of-our-home concerns. That's not even touching on the hours of darkness spent agonizing over illnesses and injuries, poor decisions and resulting chaos, and general mayhem and angst in the lives of people we care about. Not to mention the fear about my husband's job disappearing, the position replaced by a smaller team or simply deleted because the work has become obsolete, and then I will find that too many years out of the professional realm have rendered me stupid and archaic and worthy of only menial positions... (Thankfully, my dreams about my son disappearing seem to be diminishing.)

I'm driven by logic and reality. I know better, now, than to fill my mind with creepy books and movies about killers, and monsters, and sick-minded individuals—when I used to do that, I had awful thought and visions about those stories. Since I've sworn off that sort of thing for the most part, though, now my fears are always real. I can't easily discount them, especially not after midnight when there is no distraction from my own busy, disturbed brain. I pray, try to focus on other things, try to go back to sleep, and many nights it's all in vain.

I wish I could find solace and escape more easily. At least I think I do. Maybe I choose to be this way. Do we all choose to be the way we are? Happy? Somber? Thoughtful? Selfish? I do believe that sometimes we can influence our focus, but can I ever become a woman who wakes in the night and feels only peace? I want to be that woman. God wants me to be that woman. Becoming that woman is so much more challenging.

That's why I haven't written much lately. My skittering thoughts are still ponderous, albeit fast-moving. I don't know how that's even possible, but it is. And the older I get, the less important it feels to share them. To say anything, really, seems more and more futile.

Sorry for the downward spiral; it's fall, leaves are spinning down on my head, a harsh winter awaits, and I'm just being real. To quote a good friend, "it's part of my charm," you know. Carry on.


Facie said...

I just don't think you will ever be a sunshine and lollipops kind of gal. But I agree that it is part of your charm/who you are (sounds like an E$ quote). Sometimes I wish I could be less optimistic and more realistic like you (among other things). Those are not bad things!

But as for worrying? As my mom said (cursed): Once you are a parent, you will never sleep the same way. I think that is true for most people. I wish I weren't that way.

Mel said...

Facie, thanks for your honest weigh-in. And, boy,
was your mom right.

Cari Skuse said...

I'm right there with you! My usual wake-up time is somewhere between 4:30 and 5. Once awake, I usually will not fall back asleep thanks to the brain hamsters (aptly named by Mark who has the same problem, but his is due to poor sleep patterns), so instead of laying there thinking those morbid thoughts, I get up and do something like read or catch up on work. Not the best use of my time, but I think it is better than laying there and torturing myself!

Mel said...

I LOVE the term brain hamsters. Your plan makes much more sense than mine; perhaps I will give it a try. I'm always hoping for more sleep, hence my staying put—but often, if I do go back to sleep, I have weird dreams in that short span anyway, so really no gain to be had there... Thanks for the common sense idea. ; ) Although I am happy to report that I did not wake like this last night. Hurray!

Chris H. said...

I've been waking regularly between 4:00 and 5:00 -- it bites. I'm blaming hormones (increasing lack thereof). And being a lifelong worrier.