Monday, October 17, 2016

The 4:30 Hour

It comes creeping--the feeling of sadness that I can't quite shake. It starts so small, just a tiny seed of a word or an action that isn't meant to be much, but immediately begins rooting itself in my heart. With each passing moment, I feel the roots tightening and growing. The plant begins to sprout. My anxiety is its water, my inability to snap out of it, its sun.

In the daylight, I am busy. I am surrounded by the things that I love. I tell myself to forget it. I don't want to be like this.

I can push the feeling aside. I try to ignore the rapping of my mind, the thoughts that are there behind the door threatening to burst through.

I know it's coming. I tell myself this is nothing. I tell myself that I'm being a fool. I tell myself that I am ungrateful. I tell myself that I'm taking all I have for granted. I tell myself that if I can't get over things and move on that is no one's problem but mine. I'm responsible for my thoughts and actions. It's no one else's burden to bear.

But I so desperately want someone to make it okay. I want approval. I want validation. I want love and company. I want to know that I'm not seen as a burden. I want to know that I'm valued and that I'm worth it, I'm worth the trouble, I'm worth all of this. How could I be worth all of this? How could anyone see past the storm inside me, sail the raging seas of my emotions, and continue to love me entirely? I want to know it. I want to be absolutely sure of it.

But I want to be alone. I deserve to be alone.
No people, no phone, no TV, no books, no lights.

I just need to go to sleep. If I can turn my brain off for a few hours, I can wake refreshed. I can have another chance at renewal.

But my mind spins. My body lies completely still, statuesque, barely breathing. Yet my mind is running, panting, tripping, nearly collapsing until it catches its footing and begins racing again. It's not fair. I want to scream. I want to cry. But I just lie there, staring at the ceiling or the blackness of my eyelids and wondering why I am broken this way.
There are too many things to think about. Too many things could go wrong. Too many things have already gone wrong and I refuse to let myself forget them.

If I can sleep, if I can just turn it off for awhile, I will be fine.
And I find rest in a bottle of melatonin and a glass of hot peppermint tea.

But hours later, I'm awakened by a soft, sweet voice. "Mama, can you fill my water cup?" He says "Be quiet, Xander is already asleep." And I chuckle at that word already because it's 4:30am and the world is already asleep, and I think I would certainly hope so.

I have every reason to be thankful. I have every reason to smile. And I tuck one of my greatest treasures into his Star Wars sleeping bag and stumble my way back to bed in the dark.

The dark. And the silence. And every reason to be happy and content and every unhappy and discontent thought circling my mind.
I tell myself to stop it. Why am I suddenly thinking of something that happened 8 years ago? Why am I allowing myself to relive hurtful moments and to reopen doors? And I know these doors have never truly closed, and I know these wounds have never truly healed, but I'm okay, aren't I? My God, look at how okay I am. It's over. It's been over.
But what about now? Aren't there so many reasons to feel inadequate now? I don't need to think of 8 years ago or high school or second grade because I have plenty of reasons to hate myself right now.

I don't want to. With all my heart and soul I don't want to. I want to let those thoughts go. I want to stand tall and confident in myself and my worth and my ability to love and be loved. I have so much love. Why isn't it enough? I feel guilty because it should be enough to keep me from ever feeling this way. How can I feel empty and sad when my heart is so full? How can I be on top of the world one day and drowning beneath black waters the next? The guilt pushes me into the darkness again.
I want to go back to sleep. I want to make my mind as silent as the house is at this hour. I want to drift peacefully into slumber and wake just as peacefully. Peace. I want to find peace.

But it's the 4:30 hour and I just can't do that. I lie awake, eyes shut, mind's eye wide open, tormented until my alarm goes off an hour later. I start my day. I never went back to sleep, I never fully woke.

Have I said I don't want to be like this?
I know you don't believe me.
But I really, really don't. I can't say it enough.