Taking Myself to Bed

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There are days when I wake up in the morning and am disgustingly perky, bouncing in and out of the bathroom, dancing my way to the kitchen, making coffee because I want it, and not because I need it.

Then there are the days like today, when I woke up aching from head to toe, feeling like my brain was wrapped in gauze, and that every movement required me to swim through pudding. I have these days about once a month, but this one snuck up on me, although, in retrospect it explains the meltdown I had via email with two good friends. Hormones are SO much fun!

Fortunately, today was a day where I had no deadlines, so I was able to take myself off to bed as soon as I’d finished wrangling the dogs (the three older ones have to be fed before the puppy can be let out in the morning, or no one eats the right food, and since the four dogs have three different types of very expensive grain-free dog food, this is an important part of my mornings).

I had every intention of doing some writing, but my brain and body joined forces and dragged me into sleep, and so, I spent most of the day curled up on the bed with a stack of books remaining largely ignored, the computers all turned off, and three of the four dogs curled up near me.

Around five, I began to feel slightly more human. Or at least, I felt hungry, so I had a tuna sandwich and part of a ginger ale, took a shower, read magazines for a while, and ran to the grocery store, though I still had that pudding-feeling.

The house is devoid of chocolate (with the exception of chocolate protein shake mix), and I made a point of NOT buying any at the store, but when we got home, I brewed some lovely Kusmi tea which had come in my last Birchbox. The flavor was called “euphoria” and was roasted mate with chocolate and orange. I added a level teaspoon of turbinado sugar, and while I didn’t feel euphoric after drinking it, I did feel a bit more grounded and centered.

Another mug of tea followed about an hour later, along with a cup of strawberry Chobani yogurt, and a ton of water.

And now? Now it’s just after midnight, and while several layers of the brain-gauze have been lifted, I’m still tired and sore, so I’m taking myself back to bed.

Sometimes sleep really is the best medicine.

Sleep: an Inn for Phantoms

I’ve never been particularly good at sleeping, and when Fuzzy is away for business my sleep patterns get even more skewed from the usual, fairly nocturnal schedule we generally keep. Why? Because in addition to being a reluctant sleeper, I also have a vivid imagination. Even when Fuzzy is home I’m often caught in dreams that are strange, disturbing, or just plain scary, but when he’s away the phantoms come out to play.

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To be honest, I’ve always been easily spooked at night. I’m not afraid of the dark – I actually prefer a room to be as cool and dark as possible when I’m trying to sleep, but that state of mind that comes just as I’m falling asleep leaves me stuck in a sort of personal Twilight Zone, albeit one without Rod Serling’s narration.

The thing is, it’s not every night, and it doesn’t seem to have a trigger. Instead, I have a kind of…eerie mood…and when it strikes I know I’ll be lying awake, quietly freaking out over every little sound. As a teenager, I would combat these moods either by reading until the sun was up or I literally fell asleep with the book in my hands (whichever came first), or by turning on the radio. Many nights were spent listening to the Larry King Show on AM radio, and I still remember some of the interviews. (That’s also the show that introduced me to the song “Talkin’ Baseball,” which remains a favorite even today.)

Larry King hasn’t been on the radio in decades, so on those nights when Fuzzy is away and the eerie mood descends upon my brain, I turn on NPR, which usually means that I go to bed hearing the BBC overnight service and wake up to Morning Edition. Except, I’m not really hearing any of it, because I keep the volume just at the edge of being able to discern individual words.

I’m not sure why the radio works for me, or why it has to be talk radio, specifically. I mean, music wires me, so I know why that doesn’t work but… Anyway, my current theory is that hearing live radio reminds me that there is a living world outside my head, and therefore the mental ghosts don’t have real power.

Of course, sleeping with three dogs in my room (at least two of which are usually in the bed with me) is helpful, as well. If I wake in the night, convinced that I heard a sound, I watch the dogs. If they don’t react, I know there’s no threat outside of my imagination.

The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest. The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being. Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows. ~Gaston Bachelard