Insomnia is the tricksy little creature that hides itself in the shadows and unfurls to taunt me at about 2am every single night. It peels itself from the bedroom wall, all sinewy limbs and long curling fingers and, slowly, it swallows me up.
I’m wide awake except I’m not. My eyes stare but they’re blank because my mind is so, so tired. My thoughts race except they don’t because even they don’t have the energy after so many hours of awakeness.
2am is not the time to mentally right the wrongs of the world. Nor is 3am. Or 4am…
I pull back a corner of the curtain and peer outside at the world, everyone is asleep or in darkness and I stare and I stare. Sometimes a star blinks at me, pulling my glance up over the houses and into the sky. I look at the darkened windows of the old couple that live directly opposite, curtains never fully closed, a vase of fresh flowers always open on the windowsill. I look at the house on the corner with the dog and the front gate that swings open and closed with a creak and a thud in the wind. I look through the darkness at the trees springing into leaf and the cats that prowl and fight and climb and jump. Sometimes there’s a fox.
Insomnia takes me by the hand and somehow I brush my feet lightly over all of the floorboards that creak and find myself under the dazzling kitchen lights, mug in hand, not totally sure what I’m doing because what’s the time? How many hours until morning? Birds are starting to sing and there’s a gentle blue glow to the sky and I’m just so, so tired.
It’s the meds. It’s always something. It’s me trying, alone, to drag my withdrawing body off something that (I don’t think) it needs any longer, something that does more harm than good. Only it’s never straightforward, it means shaving tablets down to smaller and smaller doses and pretending that the dizziness isn’t really happening and I’m okay, really I’m okay, more to convince myself than anyone else. It’s realising that one glass of wine is bordering on too much when mixed with whatever drug I’m crumbling into myself every morning. It’s slowly welcoming the feelings back after years of numbness and being half excited and half terrified because this all feels so new. And I’m so tired.
Curled up on the sofa, even stood still for longer than a minute, if I allowed my eyes to close I would be asleep in an instant. Sometimes I nap if I’m blessed with a three year old who choses to do the same. Most of the time I have Things To Do.
I do all of the things and then I beat myself up about all of the things that I can’t do and my mind runs away with itself while my eyes try to focus through the sleeplessness.
I pull the edge of the curtain back and look again at the world. I can hear the wind blowing through the trees and the streetlight burns it’s yellow light out across the road and I look and I look and I sit and I wait, lost in the fear of what tomorrow might bring.
As slowly and as silently as it arrived, insomnia will creep off me and languidly stretch itself back into the shadows as I lay prone in the darkness, wrapped tightly in the duvet, waiting. As soon as I fall into a dream filled sleep I’m awake again because ‘morning time Mummy!’ and another day begins. Whether I’m ready or not.