The Season of All Natures

You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
Macbeth (3.4.167)

My sleep pattern of late, of the last month or a bit longer, has been disrupted and wildly inconsistent.

Generally, on a work night, I can manage to drag myself to bed around eight and a half to eight hours before the alarm is set to go off. As I crawl into bed, I will congratulate myself for leaving myself enough time for a good night’s rest, plenty of time.

The next hour or two, however, is spent trying to get to sleep. I toss and turn, fretting about money, about the stresses of my commute and the fact of being a contractor, but especially worrying about the politics of our time. This is usually when I realize my sleep has been horrible at least since around Election Day.

When my mind spins off into those bouts of anxiety, I will try again to drag it back to a blank state so I can drift off to sleep. After many tries, usually several hours after getting under the covers, eventually, sleep comes.

Then I dream.

I don’t have recurring dreams; it’s never the same scenario that plays out, but the dreams are haunted, and anxious, and upsetting. They’re dreams of disconnection, dreams of fear, dreams of loss; and they force me back to consiousness, repeatedly.

Once awake, I’ll check the time, or not, and roll over and try to go back to sleep.

At some point, typically with only a couple of hours until the alarm is set to sound, I will usually fall into a deeper, more restful sleep.

And then I dream. But this time, it’s nicer.

They’re not recurring dreams, but these dreams, the dreams I have when I’m at what feels like the deepest level of sleep, the level I only reach after what feels like hours of effort, share a theme. They’re dreams of connection. Dreams of peace. Dreams of warmth.

Then the alarm goes off, and I am dragged away from that gentle place to the real world, the world with a long commute to a job in a giant corporation where I have no guarantee of a future to earn only a little more than I need to pay my bills.

And it’s all I can do to not just roll over and try to go back to that warm, welcoming place I was just dreaming of.

These days, every once in a while, but more and more often, I do just that. Type an email to ask for a sick day, a mental health day, and then pull the covers up and try to go back to the safe, connected, loved place I was dreaming of.

Sometimes I reach it again. Mostly I don’t, though either way, I end up spending 12, 13, or more hours in bed those days.

Which is a problem, of course, of course. I can see that. I will work on that.

I have to work on that, because this isn’t working.