What is it about nighttime that makes all my worries, hurts, bad memories, and all of the issues left unresolved from the day, seem so much bigger and more ominous?
There are nights when sleep eludes me, for whatever reason: a restless baby, a snoring husband, my own inability to just shut off my brain. I try to lie still, waiting for that drifting feeling, hoping that sleep will float down onto me. Sometimes it does. Sometimes, though, a thought or feeling that may have seemed vague during the day suddenly looms large. I worry it and worry it, teasing it as if it’s an angry dog ready to spring – not out of any sense of amusement, but rather an inability to stop myself from doing so. And before I know it, what felt manageable in the daylight now seems nearly insurmountable. And the cycle is then in motion: my mind is racing with bad emotion, and so I can’t sleep, and the not sleeping, the lying awake in the dark, makes everything seem bigger and badder.
And there I am, a one-woman band, playing all the parts of the conversations I imagine having, or replaying the ones I did have, or acting out all the parts of a scenario in my head, looking for resolution, and usually finding none.
It’s at night, when the house is quiet, when I am alone with myself (for even a restless baby and a snoring husband are not really present), when all the motion and distractions of the daytime are stripped away – it’s always then that I can get to feeling truly overwhelmed, when everything seems magnified.
No wonder children are afraid of the dark.
Eventually, though, the sun rises again and all those big, bad thoughts recede, waiting for another night to taunt me.