Sleep Will Come: Anxiety, Insomnia and Doing our Best

“Most of the time the problem is not the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.  Pause, and breathe, again. “
– Angel Chernoff,

It seems as though every time I sit down to write, I’ll get so far, read it through and think “Nah, I can’t post that, it’s not uplifting enough, it’s not in any way motivational, this won’t make anyone smile…I can’t put this out there, what good would it do..”, (Debbie downer much?!)  so I keep it in my drafts and reassure myself with “I’ll write something when I feel better, when I have something more important/interesting/valuable to say..”.

And of course day after day goes by and that spark of “I know what I want to say!” seems to drift further and further away. I seem to be talking myself out of posting anything, quite why, I am unsure. It’s all rather unlike me.

It’s this somewhat uncharacteristic line of thinking that has resulted in a real blogging absence. A slump. If we’re talking peaks and valleys; a valley. (Peaks and Valleys, a self-help book I read once..)

See, as of late, I have not been sleeping well. And when I don’t sleep well, I am not myself. I am not sure who I am exactly but I am a very different person. I am simply unrecognisable personality-wise. I am weepy, emotional, sometimes fiery, there is an abundance of over-thinking, I can’t concentrate or make decisions, I want to eat absolutely everything or absolutely nothing.
I go to the dark place. Nothing good happens in the dark place. Contact with other humans should be kept to a minimum or better yet avoided completely.

Of course it is catch 22; the much feared vicious circle. The more you worry about getting enough sleep – because you know that’s exactly what your mind and body need to heal and feel like yourself again – the less likely it is that you’ll be relaxed enough to fall asleep when the desired time arises.

“Oh Angela I’m not surprised you’re finding it hard to fall asleep, you’ve got a lot on your mind at the moment..Sleep will come…” My Dad could not be more relaxed about my grievances. It is in every way, the most comforting thing I could possibly be told. – Basically, given current-life-circumstances, a feeling of restlessness and trouble falling asleep at times would be considered a somewhat “normal” response, for just about anyone, and in particular a person partial to a spot of overthinking.

See, I’m not a complete insomniac (loathe that terminology). I’d say for every night that I don’t sleep as well, I get a good two or three to follow where I sleep like an angel. An exhausted Angel.

Some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Others will wonder why I don’t just stick Netflix on or read a book and Zen out. (Which does occasionally do the trick).

Well turns out, sometimes, no amount of running, meditation, journalling, reading, conversations with friends, dancing in your bedroom, nutritious meals or any other recommended form of sleep-aids can really help.

Sometimes, you just have to ride it out. And by it, I am referring to my old friend, anxiety. In my case, I have to accept, that at the moment – for several reasons that I may delve into in a later blog post, mainly related to the general stresses of being a single Mummy coupled with the scary-life-uncertainty-thoughts – some nights I will sleep better than others, and that’s okay, because this is just a phase.

This is by a long shot one of the most challenging phases since Maia was born.
For one thing, I am no longer breastfeeding, which may seem like a random and irrelevant remark, but I breastfed for just over three years, and got the full force of magical oxytocin running through my veins, making me feel all calm and happy. It was wonderful. (Until it was no longer wonderful and was well and truly time to stop, read all about that journey here...)
She’s now four and a half, and obviously a lot has changed externally, but internally, I am just not at the happy-calm-place I was this time two years ago. I feel very different within my mind and my body and it’s not always a pleasant feeling.

I am currently in between projects/jobs/paths and balancing the job-hunt with motherhood and finding something that works with her nursery hours/childcare arrangements is proving to be a challenge. I’m still figuring out how to manage this overactive mind of mine, but thankfully the thought of paid work fills me with excitement and a sense of independence and purpose, and not a feeling of dread. Excitement is almost an understatement, I CANNOT WAIT to come home at the end of “a long day at work”, or in my case probably: “a long and busy shift”. (More on all this later). 

So when it comes to my little corner of the internet, the plan is to simply write each and every day, and post as often as possible, with limited filtering, regardless of how anxious I may feel that day. Because I am not here to pretend to be someone I’m not, I refuse to stay quiet every time I doubt myself. I am still learning and I am here to say:

 “Look, we’re all just tired humans, trying to figure our shit out, no one really knows what they’re doing, we’re all just doing our best, laughing and smiling, cursing and crying. It’s not easy, but we don’t have to make it ridiculously hard. Get a good night’s sleep and you will feel better in the morning…”. 

Reading: Daring Greatly – Brene Brown 
Re-reading: Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig 
Blog Post of the Week:  31 Reminders that will make calmness your superpower




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