Insomnia is draining me.
After reading stories, brushing teeth, and sometimes a bit of singing, the girls and I all settle down to go to sleep. Lately everybody sleeps with me. Terra is typically asleep before I turn out the light, but wakes up several times throughout the night needing to be calmed and taken to the potty. Amara flits about for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep, but she’s peaceful until morning once she’s dreaming.
I cannot sleep.
Exhausted, but wide awake, I lie in bed listening for heavy breathing. Every sound conflicting with their respiring jolts me from near-sleeping and I am vigilant once more. Is there someone outside of my door? Outside of my window? Will this be the night that the house catches fire? That the phone call will come? That he will seek revenge and we will not be ready to run?
If I do fall asleep I usually have nightmares. They are horribly vivid and unshakeable upon waking. Waking is constant. When did I fall asleep? How long was I sleeping? I try my hardest not to think about how impossible it will be to fall asleep again. But I cannot help wondering what made me fall asleep? That meditation technique? The white noise and fan oscillating? Will I be able to stop thinking about not being able to sleep long enough to let the sensation take over me?
I cannot sleep.
Thinking about my inability to fall asleep solidifies my failure. I stare at my ceiling, rehearsing for the courts, replaying my marriage, imagining the birth, recalculating expenses, trying to make a plan for the future, trying desperately not to commit to thinking, because I want NEED to get some sleep. After I’ve spent a significant amount of time changing positions, making trips to the bathroom, kissing my daughters’ cheeks, watching the sky change colors, and narrowly avoiding dreaming, I admit my defeat.
With the sun just starting to rise, the girls will still be sleeping for three to five hours. I do have a lot to get done, so I drag my feet and make my way to the living room to handle the business that danced around my head while I lie in bed. But of course, now the ease of remembering details and coming up with brilliant schemes does not come. So I sit, slumped in my computer chair, clicking random news stories, looking at blogs, filling online shopping carts with things I cannot afford, and debating on whether or not I should retry sleeping. I sit that way for hours, until finally the girls are awake and there is motivation to start my day.
I try not to contemplate sleeping, but I’m yawning while they’re eating breakfast.
By bedtime I will have the renewed strength to fight fatigue; that insanely-helpful-during-a-battle built-in defense to keep me going, that which will ruin one more night of possible peace. I suppose I could talk to someone, or take melatonin, but medicine worries me. I don’t want to be in a deep sleep if my children need me, it’s a risk that is not worth taking. I suppose being a zombie during the waking hours isn’t healthy either, but at least I’ve gotten the hang of doing that safely.
I suppose I should at least keep trying. Every once in a week I get a decent amount of sleep and do not wake up with haunting images from my dreams. Maybe tonight sleep will come easy. Maybe the calm of meditating will not be overrun by the jam-packed to-do list and the unpaid bills. Maybe I won’t drive myself crazy worrying about possibilities. Maybe…maybe…
I’m getting sleepy.