It’s 1 am on a Tuesday night. Your room is dark, besides the dull glow of the moon shining in through your curtains. You’re buried beneath your blankets, restlessly rearranging your pillows, trying to find a comfortable position. You’re completely exhausted, yet wide awake. Your mind is spinning with thoughts and your neck and head are aching from stress. Your body feels anxious, almost as if it’s electric.
You want to fall asleep. You really want to fall asleep. You want to sleep and sleep and not wake up until everything feels okay again. But instead, you look at the clock on your phone and realize that if you fall asleep now, you’ll only get five hours of sleep before your alarm blares.. You’re not ready for tomorrow to start in five hours. You’re not ready to face the world all over again.
Somehow staying awake makes reality feel more distant. As much as you want to sleep, you also don’t want to wake up in the morning. You want to draw out the time between now and the next day. But you want to sleep because your mind is on fire and your body craves rest. You want to sleep to give yourself some relief from how hard you’ve been fighting.
But you can’t sleep, because you have too much to worry about. You can’t sleep because today was so hard. And the day before that, and the day before that. You haven’t felt this bad in a while, and now, in the silence of the middle of the night, everything feels a million times worse because it’s just you and your thoughts. You feel so lost and so very alone. And once you start thinking about all of the things that are not okay, you can’t stop yourself from falling into an even deeper hole of anxiety.
How are you going to face the day tomorrow? How are you going to wake up and do everything all over again? And now, on top of everything else, you’ll be exhausted tomorrow. You pray that coffee will be your savior.
You feel trapped. You need sleep. The sleep will bring you solace, but now you are afraid. Afraid to sleep because of the fears of what tomorrow will bring.
But remember, everything is worse in the middle of the night. Everything is scarier. Everything is more painful. It’s just you and your thoughts in the darkness. And your mind is too tired to remind you of the good things. It’s too tired to give you the faith in tomorrow that you really need. And no one is awake to help you. So it’s just you and the night.
But remember, not everything that you are thinking is reality. All of your darker thoughts are winning right now because half of you is too tired to reassure yourself. Your mind is too tired to have hope. It’s too tired to find courage or hope.
But the courage and hope are somewhere deep down inside of you. You are going to wake up and face tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Because you’ve faced all your days so far, and you’ve gotten through every single one of them. And one of those days is going to be a whole lot better. Because life can’t feel this way forever. It just can’t. And I know that right now it feels awful. I know you are exhausted and completely overwhelmed. I know you are scared. I know your mind and heart can’t take much more. But soon things are going to look up for you.
And when tomorrow does come, you will be okay. You may be a little tired, but you can handle it. And if there’s anything that can make tomorrow even just a little bit easier for you, choose it. Take the easier path. Take breaks at work. Cancel something if you need to. And know that in the morning you can make adjustments. You can make the day a little bit better if you need to.
So for now, be patient. Don’t keep counting down the hours until you wake up. Turn on a relaxing podcast and focus on the podcast rather than focusing on trying to sleep and worrying about not sleeping. Or listen to a show on Netflix with your eyes closed. Do anything that will give your mind a little break and a little bit of peace.
You deserve sleep. And you deserve to be okay. Tell yourself this, breathe in and out, get your pillows just right, and let your bed feel cozy as you gently drift off.