Archives for posts with tag: awake at 3 am

It’s 3 a.m.

I woke unexpectedly. Like… fully awake. Even “rested”. Mind restless. I wander around the hotel room aimlessly for some minutes. Drink some water. Use the restroom. I finally just put on jeans and a sweater, my coat, and went outside into the fresh air for a few minutes.

The night air was mild. The city sleeping around me is quiet. There was a sea breeze carrying a hint of nearby ocean along with it. The sound of the wind pushing between the buildings overcomes my tinnitus for awhile. I stand in the twilight of street lights in the wee hours, alone. I enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the breeze.

For a moment, I am not in any pain at all. I stand quietly enjoying the moment without asking it any questions.

Back in the room, some minutes later, I open a fresh bottle of water, cold from the refrigerator, and take an antacid. Now, here I find myself, at 3 a.m., sipping water in the glow of the laptop screen, writing about a sleepless moment in the wee hours, alone in a strange city. It’s not any sort of remarkable moment, either. I’m just… here. Awake at 3 a.m.

My alarm is set for 5 a.m. with a busy work day planned ahead of me. I could stay awake. I could return to sleep. It doesn’t matter too much which I choose to do, really. If I don’t – or can’t – sleep, it’s not a big deal; I feel relatively well-rested as things are now. If I can – and do – return to sleep, it’ll be nice to get a bit more rest; these long work days take a lot out of me.

I sit quietly a few minutes. No agenda. No stress. Stalled for a moment, without stress, just sitting quietly. I sit. I breathe. Slowly I begin to feel the soft edges of sleepiness begin to wrap my consciousness in a foggy blanket.

This morning is a lovely cool sunny summer one. I’m enjoying my coffee slowly, listening to birdsong and watching the sun crawl lazily into the Sunday sky. I make a point of savoring this gentle experience, because this wasn’t likely to be the experience I’d be having this morning, just a couple years ago. This  morning, I wrote a very different post than what I might have written a year ago under similar circumstances. 🙂

A picture of night.

A picture of night.

I woke at 3:00 am to a dense core of raging anxiety consuming my breath. My body felt panic-tight. I sat bolt upright in bed, struggling for air, and wrapped in fear. A nightmare? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t remember a dream, and when I woke I was alert – too alert for sleep. Too anxious. My brain immediately attacked me with all the ‘nevermore’ idiocy available from the darkest and most insecure reaches of my consciousness, dragging me from panic to despair like a horror film monster. I sighed aloud. Got up without internal commentary, or external tears. I shuffled into the kitchen for a drink of water, like an uneasy child. I medicated (cannabis is safe to use as needed). I didn’t fight back my insecure thoughts, instead I took them with me to my meditation cushion, sat awhile watching the cloudy night sky shift and roil overheard, breathing, focused on breath. I breathed in the cool night air through the open patio door. I breathed out the anxiety, imagining it a fog that would dissipate as vapor across the meadow. I gave myself time without concern for the hour, and let myself settle down in my own time. I don’t know what time it was when I returned to sleep. The night sky was still quite dark.

Here it is, morning, and it is a lovely one. I never quite know how to communicate how much difference building a good meditation practice has been for me. Or how much difference it made [for me] to give up psychiatric pharmaceuticals in favor of improving my self-care, and getting real therapy. Pills didn’t solve anything, or even really improve anything; they slowed everything down. The Rx pharmaceutical drugs were poisoning me, impairing my ability to create, and stalling my growth as a human being. Without also having real therapeutic support of some kind they were chronically useless, and probably killing me very slowly. (My opinion here is related to my experience only, your results may vary, and I am not a medical professional; my opinion does not have the weight of scientific fact, and should not be used to make decisions about your own prescription medications and whether to take them! If you have doubts, please talk to your physician. If you don’t like their answer, please get a second opinion – this blog should not be considered medical advice of any kind!)

My first cup of coffee is finished. The sound of the wind chime through the window charms me into listening awhile. I lose the thread of my writing… I decide to move on with the day from here.

Today is a good day for a second cup of coffee, and a leisurely moment. Today is a good day to enjoy the value of incremental change over time, and a moment of celebration with the woman in the mirror. Will it change the world? I don’t know, probably not, and I am willing to wonder, and to enjoy today. 🙂