Head-First Down The Rabbit Hole Of Insomnia

Benjamin Watson / flickr.com
Benjamin Watson / flickr.com

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and I’m awake. Rather, I’ve been up for the past 2 hours after an unsuccessful attempt to sleep. I have an entire hotel room to myself — 2 queen size beds, neither particularly comfortable. Nothing is on TV. I don’t want to get up to get my laptop.

I lay in bed and let my mind wander…following it along…

Did I lock the door? I think so. Maybe I should check. No. I definitely locked the door. Is that the faucet dripping? How long has it been doing that? No. It’s not the faucet…is it raining again? Did I plug in my phone? God, what if I die in this room? Why is it so hot in here? I should get up and check the door. I should lower the thermostat. I don’t want to get up. What am I doing with my life? Should I just get up? What am I going to do if I get up? What is wrong with me? Is there something wrong with me? Ugh…here it comes…

At this point, I surrender. I get out of bed, putting on my sneakers to avoid stepping on the hotel floor barefoot (I’ve seen the black light segments on Dateline), check the door, the thermostat, my phone. I sit back on the edge of the bed and begin taking deep breaths, the same measured ones I’ve practiced for years. It’s happening…the panic has settled in…I have to ride it out…

After a few minutes I pull out a book.

This will be a nice distraction. I’ll just read…

But I can’t. My mind is going too fast. It’s going into the dark, the spaces I try to avoid. I usually follow it for a bit, see where it might go this time. Tonight is one of those nights when I’m not sure I want to know where it’s going. Tonight is also one of those nights when I don’t seem to have a choice in the matter.

So, I follow it into the dark, holding the walls for safety, looking back often to ensure I know my way back. I always look for a way back. The journey down the rabbit hole demands an exit strategy.

I realize in these moments all of my insecurities and the depression that is always lurking in the background. All of my fears live here. Everything I’ve ever felt ashamed of calls this place home. Everything I try to keep hidden, pushed down, thrives here. It’s all there, waiting for me at 4:00 am.

Good morning to you, too.

I’m done with it now. It’s not constructive any longer. It’s useful for a bit, exploring the darkness, but after a certain point it just becomes a mess of self-pity — and nothing kills self-pity like self-awareness.

It’s 4:36 in the morning. The door is locked. My phone is plugged in. The room is cool.

I’ve climbed out of the rabbit hole…for now. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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