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.

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