While the sun is up, doing dishes in front of the kitchen window is so pleasant. But at night, I don’t like it. The impression is creepy; me, with the light shining over my head, and darkness on the other side of the glass. I am aware that outsiders can see me perfectly well, perhaps even better than I see my own reflection, but I won’t be able to see them at all.
During the day, I so enjoy the sunroom here. I delight in the birds, geese, ducks, and even a stray falcon visiting. At night, you couldn’t pay me to sit in that sunroom.
I suppose I could value my privacy? *she writes this in her public blog*
Maybe I’m afraid of the dark more than I let on? I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be scared of the dark. After all, it’s not the darkness that’s scary, but rather, what we can’t see. And I, personally, cannot see in the dark.
In the dark, I run into furniture and trip down the stairs.
One of the perks of my marriage is that before bed, The Mister follows behind me, turning lights out as he goes.
I could never live in a glass house. I see a glass house and I say, “Wow, that’s a stunning piece of architecture!” but I don’t think I would enjoy living in one. *regardless of stone-throwing, she adds*
While having deer and squirrels right outside sounds lovely in the daylight, I should think coyotes and bears in the dark are a frightening suggestion.
The darkness does cast a spell. In the dark, when our vision is impaired, our other senses are keener; we become better listeners, deeper feelers, and more intuitive with our touch. Ask mothers how bonded they are to those colicky babies they held all through the wee hours? Or refer back to nights when the slumber party slumbered, but you and your bestie talked til dawn. And the first time you spent all night with a lover? No small thing, all night intimacy. Without the common interruptions of daylight tasks, we focus intently on one another.
But alone in the dark is a different matter altogether. Alone in the dark, even if we move past the fear of what we cannot see, *she hasn’t* we feel our own feelings more profoundly. They’re intensified, magnified, and at times, unbearably severe. Regret and fear can tick away hours of a night. Sometimes I get regular ol’ banal insomnia, but I used to suffer from anxiety at night.
I was not alone in my suffering.
I was at therapy early one morning, checking in. The nurse on the left was writing down names and numbers from messages left in the off hours. She turned to the nurse on the right and said something to the effect of how she doesn’t leave messages with her doctors, she just waits until they open in the morning. She shrugged.
I enlightened her. People who need mental health appointments face most of their struggles in the wee hours. They have insomnia, they have panic attacks, they have bad dreams that shake them. They’re depressed, isolated, alone. How can you sleep when your heart is ticking like a bomb about to explode? How can you sleep if your head is swimming like a drunk’s? No one can rest while they’re full of adrenaline, and sleeping pills scare the Hell out of them, because they only bring on more fears.
“Is that right?” she asked me.
“Yes. That is right,” I nodded.
I should know, because when my doctor gave me Ativan, I was scared to death to take it. I had to cut them into quarters. I had no idea how to cut pills. I didn’t even know they made pill cutters. I didn’t realize pill cutters had to be washed. I could not bring myself to read the pamphlet. I am very sensitive to medication. My leap of faith was based on the fact that my neighbor had given her Boston Terrier a quarter so she would relax during travel. I figured I was probably no more high-strung than the dog, and I bravely threw back a quarter of a milligram of Ativan.
Then I spent weeks worried about whether I was taking too many, or how quickly I would build a tolerance. My therapist told me that I needed to take a quarter every four hours until otherwise directed, unless I wanted to spend some time at the hospital. “And take a half at night, or you’ll never get to sleep!”
I always thought my therapist was wrong, but I always did what she said, because you know, she had the license and I had the crazy.
My nights got easier. I learned that I can like going to sleep. It sounds too ridiculous to admit, but previously I feared sleep. The monster didn’t belong to the dark, it belonged to me. It’s a relief putting myself to bed, thinking about how good it is for my body and for my poor, addled brain. It took well over a year to get to that place.
I’m a decades-long sufferer of insomnia, but as I write this, I haven’t had insomnia in well over a month. *knocks wood*
I rarely take Ativan now. I’m not afraid of it anymore.
I’m still afraid of the dark.
— But I’m not gonna let some uncovered windows take me down. *rawrs*