Before Cipralex and therapy and blah, blah, blah, I would pull regular all-nighters. What would happen was that I would get very very tired, and go to bed, and then just as I was about to fall asleep – WHAM! (Obligatory George Michael Joke Here) I’d be wide awake, running through all the things I had to do, should have done, failed at, etc. Very annoying. So I’d get up, make tea or whatever, and read downstairs or write or take the dog for a midnight stroll.
Actually, the hours between midnight and about four a.m. are pretty magical. It’s a lot like being the only person in the world – a little eerie, a little bit fun. Sort of like a Steven King novel, without the evil fog.
Of course by the third or fourth night in a row, I’d start to get a little bawling-while-pulling-out-hair tired, but that’s neither here nor there.
It hasn’t happened more than twice since Cipralex was introduced to my brain, shook hands and went to work, but it happened last night. I went to bed (having already fallen asleep on the couch after work – it has NOT been a good sleep week) and just as I was falling asleep, I suddenly thought:
Dammit, I didn’t do those audio transcriptions.
Transcriptions which, my sane-brain argued, didn’t need to be done. But still. I didn’t do them.
That’s when you know. That’s the kicker. That’s anxiety rearing its bloody ugly head. Wake up! You have failed at things and we must THINK ABOUT THEM ALL!
I laid in bed and tried what my therapist calls the ‘Kind, limit-setting parent’ technique. This is where I say things like, “Well, you could have done this or that differently, that’s true. Still, you can try again tomorrow.” Frankly, my anxiety can steamroller right over her.
I tried ‘Treat yourself as you would a friend.’ This is where – well, duh. So I said things like, “Look at all the great things you HAVE accomplished!” To which anxiety sneered and said, “Do you even KNOW what some people are capable of accomplishing in a day, because they’re NOT lazy?”
So I got up. I did some yoga, I drank some tea. I wrote a bit. And I went back to bed. At this point, I had reached about 2a.m., and was starting to have that oh-so-useful litany of ‘You’re going to be so tired at work! And THEN imagine how useless you’ll be!”
The lovely thing is, due to the hours of therapy, I can look at that little voice and smile kindly and say, “It’s okay, little voice. I know you’re just insecure and scared that I’ll waste my life. I give you comfort and a safe space in which to vent your feelings.”
But due to it being TWO IN THE MORNING, my response was shifting more towards the “And how the fuck do you think this is helpful?!” variety.
At this point I kind of gave up and thought, “Okay. All-nighter. Done it before,” and settled in to read my book. Actually, to re-read ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora‘, because it drags me completely into the story and leaves no room for little voice to blither away about, presumably, the fact that I haven’t washed my shoelaces.
(I’m still mad at you, little voice.)
The dog jumped into bed with me – she doesn’t like it when I’m awake past eleven – and promptly fell asleep, to my disgust. Clearly she achieved all of her goals for the day. (Sleep. Eat. Shit. Chase ball. Pee on things that other dogs have peed on. Repeat.)
I was right at one of the most enthralling parts of ‘Lies’ when a coyote howled. Full on baying at the moon howl, and suddenly my dog has gone from seventy pounds of comatose, snoring, kicking animal to seventy pounds of wide awake what-the-fuck-was-that-I’ll-kill-it! snarling animal.
And she fell off the bed, kicking and flailing and still trying to kill whatever animal was in the room, except the only other thing in the room was my cat, who decided to attach herself to my skull in terror, at which point I began flailing and shouting and laughing and trying to close the damn window so that the dog can’t hear the stupid coyote, who is still howling, and in the midst of all of it I’m vaguely aware that the joint sounds of a dog in kill-mode and a coyote howling at the moon are very, very creepy when it’s – what? –
Four thirty in the morning.
So I got up, and made coffee. The hell with it. I’ll try again tonight.