Today I woke up in a panic.
I had gone to bed late after watching the movie “The Impossible,” the true story of a couple and their 3 boys who lose each other during the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. I liked it– it was well-directed and acted –but difficult to watch at times because the effects were so real and the fear so palpable. Apparently it took a year to meticulously recreate the tsunami hitting the beach and the aftermath of its violent devastation.
It was an intense movie experience but not exactly the chamomile tea of bedtime entertainment.
Wilson was on a business trip so I solicited my 7-year-old, Eli, to sleep in my bed to fill the void. I don’t sleep well when Wilson’s not around.
I must have dreamed about the movie because I woke up a mere 4 hours after falling asleep. Panting breath. Heart racing. Head pounding. It was almost like I was hung over, but I hadn’t had a drop to drink.
Thoughts were flying through my mind like race cars on a speedway. A worry would zoom in, make my stomach drop, and then zoom out, only to be followed by a different fear.
I noticed Eli was breathing heavily in his sleep and immediately decided he must have the flu. I had forgotten to give him his nightly asthma medicine before bed and was now certain his health was in peril and it was all my fault. He’s had a flu shot and his only symptom was a sniffle. But in my mind we were headed for the ER.
The mind plays tricks in the middle of the night.
Like everyone else, I have a lot going on at work and at home, but nothing serious or life threatening. I have some deadlines looming this week and Wilson being gone doubled some of the weekend duties, but nothing I can’t handle.
So why the hysteria??
Stress and angst are part of modern life, no? I’m not a type-A person. In fact, I’m quite the creative procrastinator who never sees the bottom of a to-do list because I’d rather socialize, read, or watch TV than do errands. But once in a while the tension builds up and it’s Panic Room city.
Some say these unwelcome wake ups are a sign of aging. As we get older, our sleep patterns fail us and the smallest worry ignites the mind.
Damn middle age.
This tweet from funny lady Allana Harkin of Babble.com made me feel better:
I'm not calling it insomnia anymore. I'm calling it - Waking up in the middle of the night for "me" time.—
Allana Harkin (@AllanaHarkin) January 19, 2013
I just wish the “me” time was more enjoyable.
Hard to embrace it when it feels like a heart attack and leaves me edgy all day. I know when I’m in that mode I need to stop my mind from spinning, so I turned on a pen light to read. When the sun came up I headed to yoga class. The breathing and standing on my head helped a little.
Does this happen to you? Let me know in the comments. And please share any remedies that don’t require a prescription!