Thus Falls the Night

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I’m at that critical part of my evening where my mood is darkening. It comes with fatigue, the sense that I should have accomplished more with my day, and the feeling of disconnection as people I know are retiring for the night. My mind races, trying to find anything to do to keep me alert and awake and aware. There must be something to do in this apartment.

Dishes are done. The dishwasher just needs detergent and a turn of the dial to do its duty this evening. The counters are cleaned, the coffee is made for the morning and the timer is set.

The house is, for the most part, clean. I could, in theory, dust and vacuum, but it’s late at night and I don’t want to disturb the adjoining neighbors.

My checklist is designed, in part, to give me that permission to go to bed. As of right now, I’m missing yoga, a quick brush of the teeth, and my list of good things that happened today and I’m done. There’s no more list, there’s nothing else left to do today. I can sleep.

And yet I can’t turn my mind off.

Tonight may need to be spent with the relaxation app running. It’s a programmable sound machine that can add as many sounds as I like to create a safe space for my mind to focus on as I drift off to sleep. I can have a babbling brook amidst crickets and frogs, or I can create a loop of Chinese music with the wind blowing through the trees. I always forget that I sleep better with the machine on, but tonight, I might need to create that sanctuary for me to ease off to dreamland.

I wish my mind came with a switch. Hopefully yoga will help. I might surrender to a long, hot shower before bed.

Please, let me get some sleep tonight. It already feels like a rough, lonely night going in.

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The Sunset of My Mind

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I’m awake dealing with a headache. It really hurts. I’d give it a solid seven on the pain scale. But that’s important to note: I’m in a lot of pain. It’s also important to note that it’s about to turn midnight as I write this, and I’m currently sitting on the couch in a dimly lit apartment. It’s quiet, and I’m alone, and there’s not really anyone to talk to.

This is a dangerous combination for someone with depressive tendencies in their mental illness.

Science tells us that the more pain someone is in, and the longer they’re in pain, the less jovial they’ll be. That’s a given, really – if you hurt for a long time, you tend to get grumpy about it, and then you tend to get grumpy about other things, and eventually you’re so grumpy you get your own Friskies contract and a Lifetime movie. (Yes, I specially crafted this sentence just to have a reason to post the header pic above. That’s me and Grumpy Cat at SXSW last year. She’s actually a delightful kitty with a wonderful purr, but I didn’t tell you that – she has appearances to keep up, and they’re just awful.)

Science also tells us that there is something called seasonal affective disorder, wherein the lack of natural sunlight during the long winter months leads to environmentally induced depression, what many people refer to as “the winter blahs.”

Nighttime tends to affect me very much like the darkness works against those with SAD. Without the distractions that are available when other people are awake, with the perceived need to stay quiet in the apartment, I’m left to sit in silence interacting with no one. And that’s when the negative thoughts and self-talk start to rear their ugly heads like zombies rising from the grave. (Great, now I have “Thriller” stuck in my head. Way to go, mental jukebox.)

That depressive tendency is compounded by the toll that pain exacts on the body, and the two work in tandem to try and tear me down.

“You deserve the pain you’re in, you know. It’s punishment for being a bad person.”

“If you do anything to try and pull yourself out of this, you’ll wake your wife up and she’ll be pissed, so you might as well just sit and suffer.”

“Why are you even bothering to write a blog? No one reads it anyway. You should just delete it altogether.”

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve actually had a good day, and I have someone that I’m talking with, so my thoughts aren’t as dark currently. But I do feel lonely, and loneliness can very often spill over to depression.

So I’m blogging to try and process some of what I’m experiencing while it’s at the early stages and can be more easily dealt with. Sharing what I go through and why I go through it is a cathartic thing, and self-analysis tends to remove the emotional impact from the experience. “I’m feeling down, but why am I feeling down? What happened to make me feel this way?”

The answer is simple. It’s past midnight, I’m awake and in pain, and the darkness looms in the wake of the sunset of my mind.

And with that explanation, I’m off to find something to distract me. Maybe some Grumpy Cat memes.