Well, hello darkness, my old friend and confidante. Funny seeing you here, at this time of night, in the middle of a wind storm. It’s a bit too nippy to be wondering about, don’t you think? Shouldn’t you be tucked away in bed where it’s warm, snuggly, and drowsy? But here you are! It’s strange seeing you up and about, but since you are, let’s chat.
It’s 3 AM, and I’m wide awake because the windows are rattling, the building is shaking, and two hours ago, the power went out. Unsettling? Sure, but it’s 3 o’clock in the freaking morning. I should be asleep! I want to be asleep. Why am I not asleep?
I’m tired…Correction, I am exhausted! I’ve had a migraine for almost a week, and my brain desperately wants to shut down, run diagnostics, and try rebooting the system. It’s either that or smacking the side of my head until everything works properly. Personally, I’d like to try the first option, but I’m clearly biased.
To sleep! Perchance to dream…As the saying goes, but no, I’m awake, sitting in the dark, and I’m feeling a tad bit crazy. I don’t mean that in the derogatory sense! No, I mean it quite literally. If you’re curious, I’ve written extensively about my mental health struggles. Feel free to check those out if you’re interested.
Alas, I’m sitting here in the dark feeling quite literally, crazy. Can you tell? Is it obvious? If it isn’t obvious, just hold on, and we’ll get there together.
I would gladly give in to the delicious temptations of sweet slumber, but my dog is scared of the dark. Just the dog? Shush you, who’s telling this story? Uh…You wrote both sentences, so…Shut it.
Where was I? It’s dark, my dog is scared, so, being the good dog mom that I am (humble brag), I got out of bed to light every candle and turned on every flashlight. Is he satisfied? No, he’s restlessly wandering around our meagre abode with his toy in his mouth, growling and whimpering. It’s kind of sad but also cute, which is why I’m sitting on the couch, typing these words and keeping him company.
Oh, here he comes, jumping up for a snuggle and a little reassurance. It’s okay, buddy. We’re safe. The storm is outside, and we’re inside. It’s just a power outage. We’ll be fine! I’m absolutely sure of it. Mostly. Kind of… Okay, fine! If I’m being completely truthful, I’m not a fan of the dark either so, let’s cuddle and wait for the sunrise. Maybe the clouds will blow away, and we’ll get a gorgeous red sky! Maybe, even a rainbow?
Oo, that’s fancy, and no my dog couldn’t give two figs about sunrises or rainbows. He’s shivering and holding on to his toy with all his might. I feel ya, little pup. I’m not a fan of this situation either. The darkness. The silence that’s occasionally obliterated but a gust of wind.
Was that a tree cracking and crashing against something breakable? I don’t know, I can’t see a damn thing, but it sure sounded like it. I love a good gust of wind, it’s very refreshing, but in the pitch black, when I can’t see what’s going on, it’s a bit unsettling. Oh, I really don’t enjoy the dark one bit. Nope, not at all!
It’s not the inability to see my own hand waving in front of my face. It’s not the scary things that go bump in the night. Most of the scary things only happen in movies and not in real life. Do. Not. Correct me, or point out the flaws in my reasoning. It’s dark, the building just moved half an inch to the left, and I have to believe that scary things are fiction and unicorns, magic dust, and fairies are very, very real.
Because I’m a grown-ass woman, damn it.
The thing that bothers me the most about the darkness is the silence that inevitably follows. I’ve never enjoyed the sound of nothingness. It feels heavy and suffocating. It pushes me down, I can’t breathe, and I can’t get away from it. It’s closing in, stalking me like a lioness on the hunt for a juicy, tender snack. I am juicy. I am tender. I am snack size!
Did I just call myself a snack? Huh, way to make it awkward.
Oh no, did something just growl? Never mind, it’s just my stomach. Phew, my imagination almost ran away with my sanity. And that’s my problem right there! My imagination is too vivid, and my sanity is tenuous at best. On nights like this, they play tug of war, and I’m the monkey in the middle.
Aren’t those two different games? Uh… It’s 3 O’clock in the morning. Cut me some slack.
I can feel the silence circling and moving in closer with every rotation. It’s slowly creeping in until it’s within reach. It wraps its tentacles around me, and I want to scream. Inside of my head, right at this moment, I am screaming as loud as I can, but my outside voice remains passive.
Screaming in the dark, just to break up the silence, would be insane. And, while that would mimic my current mindset, I’m not that far gone just yet. Emphasis on yet? Oh, I hate cliffhangers.
As tempting as it is, I will refrain from screaming out loud, purely out of consideration for those that live nearby. I’m in an apartment building, and it might create a bit of a commotion. It would wake the neighbours, and they’d come rushing. Would they come to help, or would they be carrying pitchforks? They’re cool. Well, most of them, but I can think of at least one who’d light a flaming torch.
Everyone building has that one person who’s seems like they’re itching for a chance to break out their medieval hobbies and, in my building, it’s not me! I’m a history buff, but I haven’t taken my love of antiquities to that extreme. Ah, but there is one man who might. He has— how do I put this nicely?— unique bumper stickers on his old truck, and he grumbles a lot of questionable things under his breath.
He’s harmless, I think, hope…Probably, it’s fine. But if I randomly started screaming? Well, we should let the old man sleep peacefully. You know, just to be on the safe side.
To be fair, how would you feel if you were woken up by the sound of your next-door neighbour screaming bloody murder in the wee hours of the morning? It would be startling, to say the least, and quite jarring. There would be an emotional response, and you might have to do some laundry when the power comes back on.
A few years ago, it happened to me, and it shook me up, to put it mildly. A woman had gotten stuck in the elevator after her dog ran out as the door closed. The leash was caught in the door, and the dog was nearly hung as the elevator started moving. Thankfully, we got to the precious pup before it was too late. Dog and dog mom were okay but that sound, that scream for help….I shiver at the memory.
Great, that’s the image I need rumbling around my head right now. As if the storm, darkness, and silence weren’t bad enough. Now I have that horrific memory banging about. Sigh, why do I feel a little crazy right now? Golly gee, the mystery might never be solved.
It’s so quiet! My ears hurt. They physically ache because the silence is so complete. Then there’s a gust of wind, the building shakes, the windows rattle, and I almost peed myself. The sudden shift between absolute silence and gusts strong enough to move the building; it’s making my teeth itch. My eyeballs are pulsating. Is it normal to feel these body parts, or should I seek medical attention?
At least I have my dog! He clearly needs comfort and reassurance. Yeah, my dog needs it. Not me, nope, I’m aces.
I have a theory that’s been tested thoroughly, if not scientifically, and it states: Out is better than in. I usually apply it to bodily fluids that accompany certain illnesses. Nausea, for example. Once I empty my stomach’s contents, the need dissipates, and I feel better. Usually, but not always. It’s a working theory! It’s also almost 4 AM, and I haven’t slept in 24 hours.
I am slowly going crazy 1, 2, 3, 4 switch! Crazy going slowly am I 4, 3, 2, 1 Switch! Did you sing that as a kid? When I was little and had to have a medical procedure done, my mom and I would sing that song. It distracted me from the pain and made me giggle. Mom would rub my head, we’d sing, and before I knew it, it was all done.
If I sing it now? Nope, it only works if my mom rubs my head.
Anyway, back to my theory! It also applies to emotions and wobbly thoughts that make my stomach eat itself. When I get a case of the crazies, like now, saying it out loud is better than screaming silently inside my head. It takes away the power because these thoughts thrive on secrecy, and they love living in the shadows.
If I give that secret away and turn on the light? They stomp off in a huff and leave me alone. Out, therefore, is better than in. So, here I sit, trying to get it out.
Except I’m horrible at getting my emotions and thoughts out of their protection program. I drown them out with loud noises and bright lights. I run away from the darkness and the silence. But in moments like these, I’m forced to face them, and I just don’t want to. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. My thoughts, feelings go bump in the night, and they scare me more than the ghost living in my closet.
But right now, I’m sitting in the dark, feeling a little crazy, and the only thing I can do is face my feelings. Ew, nope, I don’t like it at all, but if I’m going to get some sleep?
Fine, I’m feeling a lot of conflicting emotions that I can’t fully articulate. Some of them? Yeah, I can tell you I’m scared, angry, and a little lonely. Life is messy right now. There’s so much going on and, with our global situation, I’m trying to do it alone, which sucks. I just want someone to sit in the dark with me. Is that too much to ask for? Nope, no, it is not. But hey, I’ve got my dog so, uh…Sigh.
It figures, I finally get to a place in my life where I feel like I can open up and connect with other people. Yay, and about time. Then a pandemic takes over the planet, my immune system is useless, and I have to isolate. How’s that for lucky? Isn’t it ironic! And if you can read that without humming the song, then you’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep.
Well done, you.
On the other hand, over the last few months, I’ve talked to a few of you, and you’ve given me a sense of connectives that I’ve rarely felt. It’s through our conversations that I’ve found a hopefulness that’s new and unexpected. You’re helping me open up more and get used to the idea that there is safety in a community.
Look at me, growing and evolving. One day I might even be a real person and not…Whatever I am now. I could even become a slightly less neurotic, hyper-vigilant, loner with an unusual sense of identity and realism? There’s hope for me yet!
Or, I need to sleep. Yeah, that’s a good start. I need to go to bed and sleep. Yes, that would go a long way to stop this case of the crazies.