Archives for posts with tag: checking for monsters

I’m awake. It’s 1:37 am.

I’m not awake for some wonderfully cool reason, like a late night out with friends, or not yet home from a concert, or anything like that. I’d intended to be sleeping, and until some moments ago, I was.

I woke abruptly from a deep sleep, heart pounding hard and beating very fast. I felt short of breath, and fearful. Panicked. The world was quiet, so I could pretty safely assume whatever woke me was internal, rather than external. I didn’t struggle to find a solution to my racing heart and gasping breath; I immediately, gently, eased myself into a very comfortable relaxed position, and began slowing and deepening my breathing, and soothing my consciousness; there was nothing obvious to be so frightened about. I started letting that go, first, with firm reminders to remain in the moment, there in the darkness of a space that, after 4 months, finally feels more or less familiar, most of the time. I turned on a light. I sat up. I continued to support myself with soothing practices. I got up and took an antacid for my very acid stomach and quietly cursed my acid reflux. I got a glass of water and added some Calm to that.

Over the next few minutes, sitting down to write a few words, using even that to help me “sort myself out” in the quiet hours of night, I sip on my glass of water, and feel the chill of the room start to play a part, too, cooling me down.

It’s been a long long time since I let myself make any effort to “figure out” a waking moment like that one. I just don’t do it any more. It’s like digging at a scab, just barely gratifying at all, and definitely not actually helpful, just very compelling. So, I don’t. Because doing so wasn’t useful in a positive way, and it tended only to mire me in a whole assortment of shitty crap loitering in the dark corners of my consciousness waiting for a chance to be weaponized and turned inward. So… I don’t know what woke me. I don’t know why I woke so frightened and overwhelmed. I don’t know what the anxiety was about. I have made knowing such things not a priority of any sort. And… since I’m not “picking at that sore”, the fear and anxiety are already dissipating. With practice, not hours – minutes. It is 1:51 am. I may actually get back to sleep at some point, soon. 🙂

I’m still feeling restless and weird. So, some yoga next. Just postures that promote relaxation and calm. I keep the lights dim. Each small practice picked up along the way has value right now. One by one, I step through the most relevant practices I have learned over time, and I feel myself begin to calm, to become relaxed, to settle down through and through. I’m okay, right now. It’s enough.

I think I’ve mostly come to terms with the likelihood that some portion of my symptoms of PTSD may linger for the remainder of my life time… I sure feel more able to deal with them, generally. Even two years ago, a night like this might have evolved into something more serious, lasting days, destroying my sleep, eroding my judgment, damaging my relationships… this seems better, not perfect. There is no “perfect”. I’m not “cured” – but I am far better at caring for myself in such moments. That’s something pretty wonderful.

I finish my water. Run this post through spellcheck. Then, head back to bed. 🙂


I woke at 2:46 am. I didn’t plan on making that a thing, but an hour later of quiet rest without returning to sleep makes the decision; I am awake. I woke wary and vigilant, and inclined toward anxiety. No point taking that personally, I remind myself, and shift gears. Yoga. Meditation. A cup of coffee. Morning.

Sitting at the table, sipping my coffee, I relax – and begin to feel sleepy. I could try to take advantage of it…but it’s already after 4 am and basically my usual waking time (although the alarm is set for 5), it isn’t likely I’d actually sleep, and if I did, the short nap would likely result in being groggy. The excuse-making is enough to assure me, I’m up.

The darkness before dawn.

The darkness before dawn.

The morning feels ordinary enough, although this place feels less safe than it did. I put a painting in the location the TV had occupied. I make a point to bring my work laptop home with me, and I don’t have to write using only my phone each morning. I am more acutely aware of the sounds of movement or conversation outside my apartment, and less easily able to ignore them. My experiences shape who I am – but so do my choices. I’ve been through much worse than coming home from work to find my house had been broken into. Seriously. A lot worse. …And those much worse things are behind me, I survived even those, and here I sit too early on a Friday morning, feeling just fine, and sipping my coffee. I’m okay right now. I smile. That’s kind of a big deal for a much younger version of me from a long time ago – I wish I could let her know. 🙂

I spend a few quiet minutes over my coffee. My mind wanders. I don’t stop it, and let my thoughts drift contentedly without directing them. There is so little reason to hurry the morning. There will be ample time to be purposeful later. I make a second cup of coffee.

Taking time, making room for this moment, now.

Taking time, making room for this moment, now.

Today is a good day to take the time to enjoy the moment, fully present, awake, aware; there’s no knowing how many or how few there will be.