Lurking in wait

Lately, I have been numbing with noise.

There are worse vices.

But it has become a diminishing factor in my life. I can’t seem to go anywhere without an input available, and I’m not being as deliberate about quality as I usually would be, either. I can tell it’s making my existing meditation practice as effective as pissing in the wind, and it’s also, most likely, a main contributor to the fact that I seem to have forgotten how to go to sleep. Like, literally; I go to bed, and then I just…don’t know what to do. And sleep reigns supreme on my list of everyday problems, so…this should be addressed.

Why am I scared of the silence? What lurks within it?

There is only one way to find out.

True motivations


I have a lot of it.

It sets in every time my son goes off to his dad’s house. I didn’t do enough with the time I had. I wasn’t kind enough, certain enough, thoughtful enough, engaging enough. I wasn’t good enough. And now he’s gone. A mini grief every time he walks out the door. If only things had been different, so we didn’t have to be apart for more than a day. So I had more chances to be better; so I didn’t have to face this vacuum that I pour all my regret into. If only he hadn’t been ripped from me for half of every week since he was only a year old; back when I was still his whole world, and letting him go felt so viscerally like failing him. How could I let his dad take him from my arms like that, just to put him in childcare? How could I be so weak? How couldn’t I fight for him? I have to make it up to him and I’m running out of time.

It’s a bit sobering to realise that script has been going on somewhere in the background and I’m only just really looking at it now. I knew it was there, but I didn’t look at it. Seeing it laid out on my digital page like this makes it so clear that it is but another iteration of old, worn beliefs. How easily I can now trace its provenance.

But, regardless of its pedigree, it’s stopping me from sleeping.

During lockdown, we had our own Golden Age – my son was with me for five whole days of the week. Everything was better. We slept well, we ate well, we went to the toilet on time, we had a great routine and we were joyful. The swirl of chaos it felt like we had been living in settled and we built a steady life. But, eventually, his dad wanted to return to an even split. I didn’t like it. Makaloo didn’t like it. He protested, he cried, and he begged to sleep in my bed in case he had ‘the dream where I wake up in daddy’s house’. I can probably count the times he’s made it a full night in his own bed since on one hand. And I can’t sleep well with him next to me, so highly attuned I am to every movement he makes; so keenly attentive to any potential call to action. I’ve tried every sleep aid I can get my hands on, but nothing chills me out enough to make it more than a couple of hours.

Yet I can’t bring myself to evict him. Because letting him sleep there, snoring, sleep-talking, sprawling onto me, sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night or whimpering gently before he rolls over; waking up at 4AM and declaring he needs to lie on top of me…it eases my guilt. And it’s impossibly fucking adorable. There are so many things I feel like I’ve been deprived of the ability to give him, but I can give him this, so I do. To my own detriment.

I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. I argue with myself over it routinely; there are good reasons to advocate for both positions. But understanding and acknowledging my true motivations is integral to making an informed decision. So I’ll keep digging until I find a place to stand that feels solid.


I basically gave myself an anxiety disorder to finish my masters thesis. I knew I was doing it. I knew I could fix it afterwards. I figured that’s what I’d use the month between submitting and results for, and it’s taken a little longer but it pretty much worked out. I didn’t like that I had done it to myself but it seemed the lesser of two evils. What I failed to reckon for, though, was the fucking sleep disorder. Another example of a side effect obvious in hindsight but completely overlooked by me in the planning phase.

I am ridiculously susceptible to sleep disorders. If I was to total up my childhood memories, most of them would probably be of night-time. In my early teens I became aware of ‘sleep phase delay syndrome’ which explained my night-time wakefulness and reluctance to rise at an acceptable hour. At university it progressed into full insomnia, which I honestly probably didn’t believe truly existed until I experienced it – night after night I’d just lie there, all fucking night, totally awake, bored out of my mind but scared to disturb my partner. The days were totally surreal, just like Fight Club had warned me about.

Then, after my relationship broke down, the exhaustion syndrome kicked in and I slept at every opportunity. For about six months it felt like all I wanted to do was sleep. Then the years that followed were just a chaotic haze of disorganised sleeping, a feature of the disorganised way I was living as I let everything I had built liquefy and tried to find a new path.

Years later, for sure oriented on a new path, hello pregnancy insomnia. And ever since, of course, I have enjoyed a more than standard level of parental sleep deprivation due to my new inability to sleep through any fucking noise at all because, as far as my body is concerned, I am on call and must be immediately prepared for anything should I hear a rustle in the night. So not only am I awake but I am fucking ready for action, adrenaline mobilised and awaiting instructions.

I had a few blissful months last summer where balance was restored and, oh my fuck, life was beautiful.

And I relinquished my peace to attain. Because that’s all I know how to do, really. That’s my unfortunate default mode. Achieve. Impress. Prove you deserve to exist. And I knew I could handle a little anxiety and depression; I have all the tools I need to see them off these days. But the sleep. I am not good at sleeping. It’s the sleeping I should have been worried about.

It’s 2:42am. I am not good at sleeping.

My slothful soul

I fell asleep yesterday evening right after putting my son to bed. I retreated to my room not long after seven, intending to unwind with YouTube for half an hour, and then it was 22:07 and I was groggily weighing up the pros and cons of dragging the laptop over and pushing out some words.

Cons won. I went back to sleep and woke up at about four-thirty with a trapped nerve in my neck as punishment.

It’s the first time in nearly three months that I’ve wilfully failed to post daily. Once, or maybe twice, I genuinely forgot, and a couple of times I technically posted after midnight, but this was different. This was ON PURPOSE. I must repent before the Devil of Lethargy claims my slothful soul!

Or maybe, whispers the Devil of Lethargy, posting once every couple of days works out better for you anyway…