I think I've forgotten how to sleep for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time.
This is a side effect of my second life that really challenges me. I can feel the anxiety I've held at bay all day bubble up when I wake up in the middle of the night. It waits for these dark, quite, vulnerable moments to get a good foothold and then it's a battle between me and the anxiety.
I breathe deeply, in for four counts, hold for two, out for four counts. It only takes one or two cycles of this for my body to tense up again and my brain to swirl with worries. So I repeat the process again and again. Sometimes I can short circuit the anxiety and I fall asleep again. Sometimes the anxiety wins and I give up on sleep and read my book until the sun rises and then I get up.
The anxiety that tries to take over my brain isn't even specific worries. It's not like I wake up and think about all I need to accomplish the next day, or how I'm going to get through some difficult upcoming event. It's just generalized anxiety in a physical form. A racing heart, tense muscles and adrenaline-soaked brain synapses. It's a fuzzy, non-specific "life is in flux and I feel scared" sensation that sinks down from my brain into my chest and gut.
I want very much to not become dependent on medications to sleep through the night, but the truth is, without meds, It's 50/50 odds at best right now. Half the time I sleep a relatively decent amount and the other half of the time I barely sleep at all. I've adjusted to this in that I don't freak out about it as much. I don't think that I won't be able to function the next day and I don't cancel stuff so I can lie around and somehow make up for the deprivation during the day. I just keep going. I don't freak out as much in the middle of the night, faced with the fact that sleep just won't come to me. I've learned to let the insomnia in and adjust to it. I learned to think of it as extra reading time or something that won't last anyway.
The problem is, I know the one way to avoid it and that's the meds. So I want to take them every night, but I don't because I want to remember how to sleep on my own, so I'm trying to wean myself off them.
Maybe I need to consider that weaning myself off right now isn't as important as sleeping but I wish I could remember how to sleep without them.
How the hell do you sleep through the night again? I can't remember. I used to be really good at it.