Deafening silence. Tinnitus. White noise. Eyes wide open.
This is my insomnia.
I grew up with sleep-stealing monsters under my bed.
They are not there. I know better.
I know the monsters are not there.
I check anyway.
There are never any monsters. But I feel them.
Do they feel me?
As a child, my bedroom was always the first in the hallway that bad guys could get into if they entered our home.
I was haunted by that growing up.
The monsters would get me first.
Would I be able to scream and warn the others that the monsters were real?
As an adult, the monsters got worse.
I became compulsive and was later diagnosed with PTSD.
I checked closets and behind doors and bathroom curtains.
I checked the basement storage area with a flashlight and a cat in my arms.
I checked the locks on my doors and car 10 times a night.
I peeked behind curtains to see if I don’t recognize the cars around me.
I came to know this was hypervigilance.
This is my PTSD.
Will the monsters be here forever? I think to myself in the shower.
All the doors locked, dead-bolted, and latched.
I better make this quick. Monsters can still come through doors.
Surely I’ll outgrow my monsters. Right?
This is my anxiety.
The monsters aren’t real.
The monsters aren’t real.
But when they are, what do I do?
Sweat, rapid heart rate, stillness, paralyzing fear, flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares, wetting the bed.
I check the clock. As if time even matters.
I do this until the sun comes up.
Like Groundhog Day, I’ll do this all again tonight and tomorrow morning too.
This gives me very little hope.
My medications aren’t working – what am I doing wrong that my meds aren’t working?
I’m on my last choice of meds. These need to work.
I have to get up for the day.
I have to leave this bed.
The bed where there are monsters.
The bed I feel safely tucked into.
I push myself up from the bed and take in the darkness from my blinds.
For a moment before I begin my day, there is a moment of clarity that brings me a glimmer of hope that today will be better than tomorrow.
It has to be.
I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.
But I am not like everyone else.
My eyelids are heavy.
I move at a snail pace.
The more I move, the more I talk myself out of doing things that day.
This is my depression.
My monsters don't just wait for me at night time, in the closet, or underneath the bed.
They are constantly present and I am hyper-aware.
I do my best to move on with my day and let the monsters steal as little from me as possible.
If I have a bad day, I know the monsters have won.
I do my best to fight the monsters.
I go to therapy.
I practice good sleep hygiene.
I wake up/turn down the same every morning and night.
But the monsters are still there.
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