The past couple of nights I haven’t felt my strongest.
As I mentioned before, my boyfriend, who I’ve spent nearly every day with since we first met, has left for Portugal for three months. Since I work freelance from the house, I find myself with more alone time than I did before I met Geoff. We don’t have a TV, so there isn’t the omnipresent media voice protecting me from my own thoughts.
Actually, that’s a lie. There is a TV. It’s upstairs in the bedroom, but I refuse to sleep there. I sleep on the couch downstairs because I feel safer there. Upstairs I have no control of what is going on downstairs.
This logic makes no sense.
But back to being alone with your thoughts. It’s a dangerous pastime when you have an overactive imagination. It can be paralyzing. You can absolutely convince yourself of something because all you’re doing hyper-focusing on that thought.
Every night, every damn fucking night, I’m convinced that someone is going to break in. I hear a noise and the color rushes from my cheeks, my heart skips a beat and nothing else in the world matters.
I’ve taken comfort in a bottle of red wine I hold between my legs and a cheap, disabling sleeping pill.
“What is the matter with you?!” my mother said to me the other day when I told her about my routine.
I don’t know.
All I know is that I’m scared.
Scared of what is outside my window at night, scared of going home to see my family and see the changes that have been happening to them, scared of flying overseas.
In becoming reacquainted with myself, I’ve discovered a little girl who has become fearful of change, fearful of the world around her.
Where is her sense of adventure?
Has being in a relationship made me lose my sense of self-dependence? I never wanted to be that girl. Never. And now when I find myself alone, quiet, no TV to distract me, nothing but the faint sound of the radio in the other room to keep the bird from feeling too alone, I’m paralyzed. Not helpless, but completely immobile.
And these times? They’re not good for my creativity.
All I want to do is sleep and wake up to the light. The day brings safety, but these sleeping pills to get me through the night are creating a daytime zombie. I wake up every hour and check my phone for the time. 2AM. 3AM. 4AM. Three more hours and the sun will start to come up. 5:30AM. 6AM, 6:20AM. You’re almost there, Lauren.
Every night I swear this will be the last night I stay here alone, but again, I find myself sitting here, the radio in the distance and every thump, snap and crack of the house sending me into a state of panic. My heart constantly races.
I can’t handle the silence. I used to live in the city, in apartments, not a big rectangular house full of windows. I used to joke to my therapist in LA that that I’d end up in a glass house, but I feel so exposed. Like a bird in a cage.
I’m sweating now and all I can think of is that I must get away from this house and from myself.
I feel ya on the fear thing. My husband has always worked late into the night, leaving me alone all evenings. When I lived in Chicago, I lived in a rough neighborhood, and any sound of someone outside made me nervous…..two things that helped: counseling — they give you coping mechanisms to realize that the anxiety is in your head, and it IS possible for it to go away. and dogs! — any time I get a little freaked out now, I force my big, scary looking dog to sleep on the bed with me. Totally puts me at ease cause I know he will bark and run after someone who tries to break in. It’s enough to get my mind to switch back to ‘normal’ mode, where I am not wracked with fright.
Don’t just stay holed up in your apartment and let the fear overcome you…you gotta be proactive in working through it. Anxiety is a bitch. good luck!
Sometimes the most dangerous place we can go is that seven inch space between our ears. We play movies there and treat them as if they’re newsreels.
Hey, sounds bad! Sleeping pills are not so good, they deal with the symptom and not the cause. Last night my dog (sleeping in my room) barked at something unexpectedly, so from 3am onwards I had the lamp on next to my bed. Just in case. Have you thought about getting a dog? They are the best company, they will alert you if there really IS something to be concerned about, and mostly, you won’t be alone. Hope it improves for you :).
I wake up every couple of hours every night, and have for the past 2.5 years. I fear so many irrational things at night, it’s almost unreal. the other night I was frozen in my bed, paralyzed by fear because of a couple of rustling noises. It turned out to be a june bug in my trashcan, but it kept me up for another 2 hours after I found it. Let me know if I can help. xoxo
My boyfriend is gone a lot. He’s been away two months now, and he’s been away before for just as long or longer. When he’s away I feel more lonely than I did when I was single.
[…] I wrote about how I felt like I was cracking up due to my nighttime anxieties. Trying never to give in and dwell on the negative, I decided I needed […]
Oh Jesus. That is probably how I’d be if I had a house with two floors. I’ve been complaining about tiny NYC living spaces for so long that I forgot how crazy decent-sized houses can make a person. If I ever get two floors, I think I’ll have to rent it out for my own sanity, which is just about the most counter-intuitive thought in the world.
I AM SO GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON LIKE THIS IN THE WORLD. i need to read this to my guy so that he knows too.