When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Well, this morning I woke rather grouchy, so why don’t you just pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius.
I had bad dreams again last night. My body exhausted when I woke. These dreams fill me with pain and anxiety. My body produces adrenaline and cortisol but has no outlet for it because I’m sleeping. So I’m flooded with these stress hormones that my body has to somehow reabsorb. No wonder I’m grouchy AF.
Normally, I can remember and recount the particulars of my dreams. These icky ones aren’t like that. All I can call up is imagery and the way it felt.
There was water in my dreams. It was dark and rippling. This water made me fearful. I was frightened that it would drown me.
My one true pathological fear is to smother. Drowning is essentially the same thing. So what is happening to me that I’m experiencing this level of fear and anxiety?
The logical part of my brain considers this:
Every thought we have causes a ripple. Every choice we make causes a ripple. Every action causes a ripple. Ripples move away from the starting point out in all directions and pretty much looks like this.
The feeling part of my brain sees only that the water is dark and moving rapidly. I become frightened. I become overwhelmed. I begin to panic. Stress hormones get released. I go to my brain stem and enter fight or flight mode. I don’t understand what’s happening to me but I feel that water is going to overtake and drown me. I’m not frightened enough to wake. I’m trapped in this cycle of fear and anxiety.
Here’s the part that I cannot wrap my brain around. I never enter the water. I’m never swimming or fighting to stay afloat. I’m just paralyzed by fear at seeing the water. I absolutely know that it will drown me even though I’m not actually in the water.
What is happening to me that this is my sleep?
What am I struggling with so hard?
What needs to be done to quiet my brain?
Apart from today and of course, Monday, I’ve been feeling overall well emotionally.
Obviously something is stuck and whatever it is needs help getting sorted. This cannot be my sleeping life. My fear of smothering is something that rides with me every single day, I can’t have it decide to try and drive once I’m sleeping.
Sleep is supposed to give your body a chance to rest. To restore. To recharge. Right now sleep is making me its bitch and wearing me out.
Something’s got to give.
My instinct to run is present. And getting harder and harder to ignore.
So, when being alive and able to think and enjoy and love is precious privilege, you’re waking from deliciously restful and restorative sleep, not from stressed and scary dreams.
While I appreciate the sentiment,Marcus Aurelius, I’m not feeling especially privileged today. Maybe I’ll get lucky tomorrow.