Anxiety & insomnia

It is 4:30 am as I begin this entry.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the reasons sleep is eluding me:

Aches and pains left over from a recent injury, which leads to,
Mentally making notes of things I should have written down before bed,
Worrying I will not remember said things in the morning,
Should I take some Advil now or after another hour of sleeplessness?
Why is Fab breathing so LOUDLY?!?
A lively debate with myself over how bad this insomnia is,
The memory of promises I made myself to make the most of insomnia!
Desperate attempts to repeat meditation mantras in my head,
Efforts thwarted by my daunting To-Do list,
An obnoxious Zumba song is stuck in my head,
What time is it?
The knowledge that Zumba songs are a bad omen for sleep,
Oh, yeah, the SYLLABUS I am trying to write,
Why isn’t it done yet?
The realization that I haven’t taught anything in almost two years,
Oh no, it’s Imposter syndrome!!!
Just call me Dr. I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing,
How can I make myself read faster and be generally more efficient at everything?
Will my students be nice?
Will I look like a fool?
How will I manage teaching and taking care of my son?
How in the world does anyone do it???
Will I ever get to just hang out with him and my husband?
Can I pull myself together and do my job(s) like a grown up?
And everything else?
Will my garden ever grow?
Am I tired yet?

Now here I am, staring into the iPad typing this, a well known way to make sure my brain stays wide awake. I know. But Fab is sleeping and I don’t want to wake him up by creaking around upstairs with my computer. Also, since my back is bothering me, I don’t want to sit in a chair. I’m pacing around the kitchen as I type, scowling at the disgusting cockroach I will never be able to kill without making a ruckus. I must trust that he will feast upon the Eco/child/pet-friendly bug murder trap I set for him and die a terrible death later after having passed on the deadly mixture of baking soda and sugar to his relatives and friends. That’s what the website promised! This is the second time I have dragged myself out of bed tonight. The first time, I did some reading and made my list of things I absolutely must do (or at least pretend like I will do them.) No luck. So, then I had some cereal. The washer is running, I swept the floor, washed the kitchen floor on hands and knees and folded laundry. At least I won’t have THAT stuff hanging over my head in the morning when I am totally exhausted and guzzling as much coffee as possible, hoping I’ll nonetheless be able to take a nap with the baby. The syllabus, however, will still be waiting…

How do you deal with occasional bouts of insomnia?


5 thoughts on “Anxiety & insomnia

  1. I’m not sure I’ve ever had it bad unless I’m totally stressed out about some deadline- in which case I usually can’t go back to sleep until I’ve made some progress, which might be something little, or I (in the pre-baby past) might stay up all night finishing the whole dang thing! But really, since we have to parent during the day, all-nighters aren’t really an option anymore!


    • I tend to have a night every week or so where I wake up and know it’s gonna be a couple of hours before I get back to sleep. If I were to analyze the situation, it probably usually corresponds to feeling overwhelmed by something. By the end, I generally wish I had just gotten up to do something about the problem rather than toss and turn for two or three hours.


  2. Oh, do I ever feel your pain. I used to have nights like this when I was teaching. I started to rely on sleep aids – Alitril is a good herbal one. My sympathies, my dear Dr. G. that sucks.


  3. Pingback: Building castles in the air | the PhD mommy


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