I am now three months into this current bout of insomnia. This morning, as I rolled out of bed after spending most of the night tossing and turning, I realized I had hit my limit. I can't do this anymore.
Sleeplessness has been my good buddy for all of my adult life, and I have come to believe that it is not merely a physical problem I'm dealing with; it's an emotional demon - or rather, it's a product of my emotional demons: my stress, my anxiety. I believe strongly in the mind-body connection, and I feel that if I can let go of my mind, the body will follow.
But the mind, that's the tricky part.
My mind feels like it's a force of its own. I don't feel like I have any control over where it goes or what it does. It's like a TV switching between channels constantly, an iPod searching for the perfect song. I don't know how to relax or sit still or do nothing. And when I need to most, I don't know how to focus.
Sometimes I can get myself into a good trance state. Doing something like slicing a ton of lemons or shredding paper or anything repetitive like that has allowed me to enter into a nice calmness in the past. In those moments I have found myself in a pleasant state of nothingness. I need more nothingness in my life.
Instead, I am distracted. Perpetually dazed by all the stuff that I need to do. By the noise. The incessant hum of my mind.
I know this is the reason I can't sleep. It's too fucking loud inside my head. It's loud in there because the outside world is loud but it's loud outside because it's loud inside. The only solution to all this is to unclutter. To pare down to what's most important and let the rest go. I've been working on this feverishly (when I have the energy) on a physical level, as I prepare for the arrival of the baby. I've been hoping that my mind would catch up. But instead my mind becomes fixated on what's left to be done and how much time we don't have left and how that makes me a failure and how I will never escape all this exhaustive noise.
And on the cycle continues. You see, I don't really know how to let go or be still at all. But I can clearly see that I need to learn how, and that I can learn. Just because my mind has always gone a mile a minute doesn't mean that I can't slow it down. I really believe that I can. It's just going to take practice.
My mom gave me some advice today: while relaxing, I should imagine a big fenced area full of horses. The gate opens, and one by one, the horses run out, until only emptiness remains. Tonight and every night after, I will do my prenatal yoga. I will have a warm bath along with some chamomile tea. I will do my Bradley relaxation practice. And I will look for the horses - and the emptiness beyond. And in that emptiness, I will find rest and peace. It may not be tonight or the night after or even two weeks from now. But the quietude will come and sleep will be mine.
In the meantime, if you have any relaxation tips, please share them. I need all the help I can get.