Sorry for the #brag, but, I’m not one of those people who has trouble falling asleep.
On the contrary! I have more difficulty not falling asleep!
Yep, I’m the one who, at 9:30 on a night out, is wiping tears of exhaustion from her eyes and fidgeting on her chair to keep from getting *too* comfortable and nodding off. Then the headache starts to throb, then the stomach starts to go, and by 10:00, I’m a cranky mess who’s checked out of the conversation to put her head down on the bar table for a self-pitying sob. I’m fucking tired!
In contrast, lying down in my own comfy bed means I’m going to fall asleep almost immediately.
Except for this one night, the other night.
I laid down in bed…
I closed my eyes…..
I thought to myself, “Am I not going to fall asleep?” Which, oh no. I don’t even have skills to cope with insomnia! Difficulty sleeping due to period cramps, YES. But that’s just a matter of lying face-down and assuming the ass-in-the-air position of an isosceles triangle until my drowsiness wins out and I fall asleep.
I don’t have a lot of experience coaxing myself to sleep.
But I knew that it was only a matter of time before I started that vicious cycle of turning over my daytime worries in my head, then feeling guilty because I know I should be sleeping, then worrying about what will happen if I don’t get enough sleep, and thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts pile up in my brain.
So I tried to clear my mind…
and instead, my mind brought up the color pink.
It was bright and warm and soothing. I concentrated on the pink, and my mind was able to completely clear. I was asleep in my pink dreams within minutes.
I’ve tried, in a couple instances since, to reach that same mental place, and each time, it’s been by focusing on a single color: once it was orange, another time, purple. When I can feel myself getting overwhelmed, I’ve been thinking of the first color that comes to mind, and then putting all of my mental energy into concentrating on that color: appreciating it, contemplating it.
I’ve never thought I’d be able to meditate: each time I’ve tried to clear my mind, as soon as I start “clearing,” it’s like I’ve made space for more, worse thoughts. It’s like when you clean off your kitchen table: it seems like a clean kitchen table it a MAGNET for clutter.
But then, I remember my first therapy session after the election. I was, obviously, a total mess. My therapist led me through guided meditation to help me calm down because I was absolutely in hysterics. I was afraid to leave my house and take the train into the city to get to that appointment, for crying out loud! But she talked me through this exercise where I had to pretend to use my senses to imagine myself somewhere in my memories where I felt safe. Eyes closed, tears still flowed through my lashes and down my cheeks, but by the time we’d “returned” to the present, I felt almost entirely better. Calmed down. Grounded.
I didn’t think it would work, but at this point in time, it’s like, whatever works, you know?
pink via Public Domain Pictures