Middle of the Night Musings
(Sleeplessness in Action)
It is the middle of the night; and, I cannot sleep once again. No matter how far along in our healing journeys or if one has not even formally traveled on a healing journey, almost all of us have to contend with a night of little sleep or a cluster of nights of little sleep. Insomnia can cause us to google remedies, drink herbal tea, ask friends for suggestions, or maybe go it alone pretending we are fine.
Do you fall asleep fast and then wake up only to feel cursed by not falling asleep again? Do you lie in bed not falling asleep until finally dreamland begins for you? What do you do? How do you handle your nights when sleep eludes you? Does this lack of sleep cause you to worry you will not function well the next day? Do you lie in bed worrying about the future? Or is it the past that is running through your mind? Are you spending time considering if you could have handled a situation, no matter how small, from the previous day in a better manner? Are you concerned about a child or a parent or a friend? Are you concerned about yourself? Maybe you are worried about your ability to handle life well on life’s terms?
One sleepless night seems harmless enough. Two causes a bit of consternation. More than two and some of us may wonder if we will ever sleep well again! There are times in my life when I deal with sleep issues for a period of time. This is definitely one of those time periods. I know from past experience that eventually my sleep patterns will return to a healthy balance. In the meantime, I have to deal with the actual present moments of sleeplessness as well as the effects the next day.
During this 2:00 hour, I decided to take this topic to you, my readers. A friend of mine recently made a comment about the hours we spend at night feeling we are alone. Isn’t that part of the scariness of not sleeping? Even if you have a significant other sleeping at the moment that you are awake, suddenly or not so suddenly, you feel alone in the world. Whether that alone-ness is a true state or not, sometimes it does not matter. Alone is what you feel at this moment in time …
An hour ago, I made the decision to get out of bed and perform some mild exercises (along the lines of yoga). Thought this would get my body relaxed and my mind focused on the present. It worked. I am fully present; and, my mind is quite focused as I write this! (I’m not sleeping though!) At least a slight bit of humor has appeared. This act of getting out of bed to cope with insomnia is a temporary solution to a temporary problem. It is not one I would recommend for myself or anyone on a regular basis; but, it is not a harmful one either.
Many times I turn to prayer or contemplation or meditation when I cannot sleep. I try to let go and let God. Quite frequently it works. Not tonight. Tonight I feel called to address my alone-ness by sharing it with others who may deal with the same struggles at times. I know you are out there … and that gives me a sense of peace, a sense of unity, and decreases my sense of being alone and unique in this minor suffering. Face it; if you are a survivor of abuse, you have lived through much worse than sleeplessness. I, as a survivor though, know that comparing what we have lived through versus the present moment does not always or immediately bring us comfort. Yet, deep down, we know we can survive a lack of sleep. It is the alone-ness that we wonder if we can survive. That deep hurting, the wound that was formed during the abuse, surfaces during certain moments of time. That alone-ness, those feelings that we will always be alone, and that nothing can fill that hole within us surface. Those fears most likely took hold during the abuse. For many of us, including myself, the abuse is ended. I am free of the perpetrator(s) and free of the abuse. As I write those words, I experience a sense of release in my body. Maybe I need to remind myself sometimes that I am free. Tonight I as I exercised in these wee hours of the morning I noticed my gratitude to be able to get up and do something as simple as exercise. There was no one to prevent me from taking care of myself. I am free.
Now as I make the transition from writing this to returning to bed to sleep (or at least rest); I do so with a grateful heart. I sense your presence … the presence of those not sleeping tonight … I know I am not alone.