I wake up each night every two hours. I fall asleep quickly but two hours later these horrible mind games occur. I wake up, not groggy, but alert as if an alarm inside me has gone off like a very loud siren. Last night the ghost of anxiety past, present and future filled my brain so much that I felt confused and uncertain. My mind was a mixture of headlines and dark thoughts twisted together like a tree with very weak limbs. If there was a blast of wind I know the tree would ultimately go down, lying decrepit and lost by the side of the snow-covered road.
Why were there two teenagers admitted to the ICU with blood clots in an arm and in the brain. They are from the same town and know each other. What are the chances of that happening, and why? The messages that terrorists are likely to attack again, soon frighten me. I see the images of their faces in the newspapers and on television, over and over again. I felt uneasy rereading the thirty-seven pages I read of The Bell Jar for my son. The Methotrexate drug I take haunts me and hates me, as I do it. The intense images of my daughter’s presentation on Haiti sticks in my mind, mud and blood, and half-dead children, with red gauze across their eyes, mothers reaching out for their dead children, crying. Grandmothers and fathers stretching their arms out to pray while tears are flowing down their cheeks. I also dream about evil rats, dorm rooms and multiplying green and black snakes. Nothing is too silly to taunt me.
Every two hours I rise from my bed to try to shake the demons away but they will not go, they stick to me like honey and burrs and laugh when I try to shake them off. I am so tired that I try to stay awake during the day but sometimes I cannot. I don’t feel well physically, my stomach hurts, my body aches, my energy is at an all time low. I think about going back to the guru Dr. in the city and I feel like I am a failure. My body is slow but my mind is racing, on over- drive. I cannot adjust the two to be synchronized. I wish I could. My legs are jumpy and my body cold, I trek to the bathroom back and forth as if I was pacing for a baby to be born, except there is no joy.
I have tried everything from deep breathing, telling myself an imaginary story, drugs, walking around, having a cookie, but nothing seems to work. I lie in bed awake and tense, I try to pull my fluffy pink blanket close by just to finger its texture but that doesn’t work either. I find myself turning over and over, asking myself questions that I don’t know the answer to. I am too tired to go downstairs and watch TV and our house is too small for me to wander around without waking someone up. For the first time in a long time, along with these physical maladies is fear; and I don’t know where that is coming from.
I am not even sure of what I am afraid of. If I knew, I could sort it out and try to solve it. Except I am afraid that this pattern will continue and my lack of sleep will only ravage me further. I tried to sleep with the moon on my face last night but that gave me no sense of comfort either. I think I am going backwards in my physical health and that in itself is a nightmare.
I write now with a cup of coffee that I gulped down, fast enough that I don’t remember the flavor or the taste. I need to write but nothing comes to mind. Nothing but the puzzle pieces of my brain that are not fitting together. I ask for help in my silent plea to my deceased father but nothing comes and then I am left with pure longing. I cringe because I am forgetting what my father’s voice used to sound like and that makes me terribly unhappy and lost.
I am feeling a bit disoriented. Where is my peace? Why can’t I find my gratitude guide? Why is everything scary and troubling and unlike the nightmares, I am wide awake enough to continue to feel these emotions. I am scared of nothing and everything, I feel sad and anxious and confused. I want to destroy these night-time monsters but they are indestructible. I am not Max of the Wild Things, I cannot make these evenings an adventure. they are in control of me and I surrender because I have no strength left to fight. I try to talk to myself but I cannot listen.