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WriteOut of Her Mind

by Kelly Waterhouse




Witching hour

It happens most nights around 3am. The witching hour. Random and uninvited, it is the moment my mind wakes up and insists I do the same. Add in night sweats, a snoring bedmate and  the bright blue glow of the digital alarm clock whose numbers countdown my sentence under the witching spell of insomnia.

For the next few hours I know I’m going to endure a mental debate that will exhaust me, but rest assured, will not let me sleep. It doesn’t matter that I have to go to work tomorrow. It doesn’t matter that my already tiny eyes will be mere watery slits of hazel sinking in fleshy, sagging blue bags of sleep deprivation. In the morning, my eyeglasses amplify those dark circles. Fabulous. 

Good thing I am on deadline.  Tomorrow, I will be scattered in thought from the bewildering reality that I haven’t slept. Again. And now, I have fodder for more anxiety as the night slips away.

I lie there, eyes involuntarily open, in the darkness of the room. I kick my legs out from under the blankets, to rest them on top of the coolness of my duvet. Seconds later, my skin feels prickly cold and I tuck myself back under the weight of my blankets, only to repeat this same cold-hot game about a dozen times. I no longer stare at my sleeping spouse in these moments of anxious consciousness because I’m pretty sure my love for him isn’t enough to spare him from the ensuing anger I feel that I’m wide awake and he is peacefully oblivious. Sometimes, if he senses I’m awake, he pats my arm like I am the dog, rolls over and, just like that, returns into the bliss of ignorant slumber.

Not me. My mind is swirling with random thoughts of inconsequential matters like why is my wallet full of points cards for every conceivable store I have ever entered? If I redeem my points, will that make Christmas shopping possible? Did I really just think of Christmas shopping? Holidays. Finances. Stress. Tack another hour onto this crazy train ride to nowhere.

My mind moves to unravelling the universal mysteries of interpersonal dynamics and complicated friendships. I imagine an island where I am all alone, free of Wi-Fi and human contact,  but then I dream up an annoying monkey in the tree throwing bananas at me with impeccable accuracy.  I smile at this temporary comedic interlude in my obsessive thought patterns, but I’m grumpy. Change thoughts. I play mental ping pong of every conversation I had the previous day and prepare a pre-emptive strike of every conversation I’ve yet to have. I ponder my caffeine consumption. I conjure happy thoughts. I pray for no thoughts, at all, period.

That’s when the cat meows at the door because she wants in. Then the dog wants out. And I’m standing at the door in the dark, because I’ve got nothing but time.

Eventually, I will stumble back to bed. The mind will quiet. The body will rest. I will settle into a deep sleep.  And then, without fail, the Carpenter’s alarm clock will go off like the sirens on the Titanic. Such is life. Insomnia makes naps necessary and who doesn’t love a nap? See? There’s a silver-lining under my dark circles. Yawn.

 

Vol 51 Issue 43

 
 

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Linda Westrik
November 1 2018 | 07:38
Good morning Kelly, Please do not think of this email me as meddling in your life. After your column writing about your lack of sleep, I felt I should share a sleep help a member of our house uses. Said member falls asleep no problem but does not always stay asleep. One awake, the mind is usually fully engaged and falling back to sleep is not usually an option. We were introduced to Sambrosa sleep juice. It is a natural sleep aid which helps him to stay asleep until morning after taking only about a 1/4 teaspoon. He only takes it as needed (not every night). If this is of interest yo you, I can forward you the contact information of the local sales rep. She also has sample packets from time to time which usually contain 3 -4 doses. Respectfully, Linda Westrik
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