Lately, it gets dark and my anxiety levels start to rise. I watch the sun set below the the tree-line, casting beautiful pink and orange light and instead of joy, I feel my heart rate pick up. The list of things I din’t manage to get done throughout the day mounts and I start to beat myself up. Tell myself off for once again not sending that email, not dropping into the accountants. My heart races.

We prepare dinner, eat it and pack everything away. I settle into the night time routine with Hubby and relax into his arms for an hour or two. Curled up on the couch with him wrapped around me, settles me. Calms my thoughts, reminds me today was enough. I did enough. He boils some water and brings me a tea. The cue to signal his impending bed time. A kiss and he’s gone. To bed, to sleep, to rest. He wakes early.

Not me though. I have more to do. I’m wide awake anyway. Data to enter, emails to send, parties to plan and choices to berate. I know that this tape, played on repeat is a red flag of something deeper. I blame the lack of exercise this week and promise myself to go more often. But I know, for now, the damage is done. I’m out of balance. I’m out of whack.

When I finally drag myself to bed, with alert eyes and a weary head, I don’t sleep. I think and toss and turn. I hum and later sing along to the tracks that normally have me drifting off. I stare at the ceiling and make grand plans. Big ideas that will never see fruition while I’m here. They add to my anxiety as I plan these adventures. More things to do, more commitments to make, more of everything but sleep.

So I count. Deep breath in. One. Exhaaaaaale. Two. In. Three. Out. Four. I slow my breathing and let the focus be on the counting. I push other thoughts aside, brush them actually, let them float on past and count. In. Fifteen. Out. Sixteen. On and on it goes. I count higher and I breathe, slowly my eyes begin to close, grow weary and my lungs stop aching because for now, they have all the oxygen they need. In. Five hundred and three. Out. Five hundred and four. And then finally. I sleep.

Sometimes there is nothing for me to do but hold on, be aware of what’s happening and wait for it to end. Self medicate with sleep, good food and bone jarring, red faced, sweat inducing exercise. I watch myself for the signs it’s ending. I wait for them. I long for them. They aren’t here yet. So I make lists, I tick things off and try to relieve the pressure with every trick I have.

For me, I’m lucky, the dark days pass quickly.

  • Gayel

    Take care of yourself Melissa. You are such an inspiration to so many.

  • I have lots of days and weeks like this too. I also blame lack of exercise, and then feel guilty and mad at myself even more! The modern world is difficult to remain balanced in sometimes. Take care.

  • Malene

    I know those days all to well. When the signs don’t go away after a week or so I get really worried. Luckily, so far.. They always dissapear at some point.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • Cbrain

    I have to write my ‘to-do’ list done on paper. I can’t type it…it has to be hand written. I then have to mentally think about putting in on a shelf in a cupboard and lock the shelf….otherwise I just keep thinking about it. I used to be able to think of my niece and nephew to when I was tossing and turning at night….but alas my brother is still not treating them rigt so they stress me out. No screen time and hour before bed either….now I know why babies are such hard work to get to sleep. I’m an adult and I have to work at it.

  • Love your posts Melissa. You are not afraid to share the raw and emotional. You are not afraid to stand up for what you believe in. I’ve only been a follower for such a short time, but you’ve really inspired me. Keep believing in yourself and take care. xx

    • Thank you Kylee. I’m glad you’re enjoying them! I think if I can tell someone how it is for me and they can see themselves in that, we all get to feel less alone. And that’s a gift.

  • Catherine

    Look after yourself – you give so much via this blog, wish I could offer something in return. Thinking of you

  • I find saying “goodnight” to my body helps me to fall asleep. I start with each toe and work my way up.

    • I’ve tried that. It doesn’t seem to work for me. I get distracted and keep coming back to the same parts of my legs or arms. It’s madness.

  • Patrick weseman

    If I feel anxious or have a lot of clutter in my mind. I will lay one the couch in the dark and de clutter the head before I head in the bedroom.

  • If I know I have those nights due, I have podcasts in my iPod, I put one earplug in the ear not on my pillow, and I lay and listen to the podcast till I fall asleep, It stops my mind from heading of on its own adgenda.
    Works pretty good for me!
    And I have also learnt that subliminal learning is a load of crap, lol
    I must have listened to hundreds of my podcasts in my sleep and didn’t learn a thing!

  • <3 <3 <3 Love you and hope that you're ok?