Sunday, November 9, 2008
Bed Dread and the Day Ahead
O bed! O bed! delicious bed!That heaven upon earth to the weary head.~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg
Some mornings some people wake up with a racing heart, and a feeling of being entombed under a wall of heavy concrete. Even the idea of getting up seems too much to bear. The day ahead seems so awful and daunting that it's hard to imagine even putting a foot out front under the blanket. Sometimes it just seems impossible to even want to think about getting up.
Add to that if it's cold. Add to that if it's dark out. Add to that if you did not sleep well. Or at all. Add to that if you are sad about something. Add to that if your mood swings from the trees like Tarzan. Add to that if you hate your job. Or hate your school. Or don't feel like you are particularly connected to anyone in particular.
And then there is the opposite of not wanting to get out of bed. Not wanting to get into bed. It's not the bed itself that's the issue usually. It's the sleep thing. If you have trouble doing it. Falling asleep. Staying asleep. Resting.
Different versions of bed dread. So there is the usual cast of suggestions for each side of the issue. Can't get up? You are suppose to try to find something in your mind to latch onto that is good. Some detail of the day you could look forward to. Anything. Even if it means getting some sun on your face, or watching the leaves fall. A stretch, I know, but when there are warm blankets between you and the cold world, you gotta give yourself a chance. Sometimes you just must tell yourself that all you need to do is get to the hot shower. You can dive back in after that if you don't feel any better. You can tell yourself that you are some stellar star for heaving yourself up when brain tells you that you can't. And that somewhere in the day, your efforts will be rewarded. And that you dread is not a fact, just a feeling. And feelings pass. The next right thing.
And the usual suggestions for sleeplessness. You've heard them. Write a list of all that's on your mind and put it in a drawer. Give yourself permission to rest, if not sleep. Forget the sheep. Try imagining redecorating a room, making up a good juicy fantasy. Take yourself to a tropical paradise for the night. Talk to G-d. Or get up. And don't go back until you are falling on your face. Read. Forgive yourself.
Truthfully, I did not mean to be talking about sleeping better. Though we all know that it's the cure for many an ailment. I really just meant to offer up some nuggets about how much we deserve to rest. Not just physically, but mentally. And that the two really do go together of course.
I think that somewhere is our psyches, especially when we are hurting about something, or in the throws of some addiction. Binging, cutting, purging, drinking, we just forget how to stop. Just stop.
And then the cycle. We get bed dread of one form or another. We can't get out: too much panic and mood drain. Or we can't get in. Too much too much. No way to settle.
It has to be that way underneath all the tricks of how to get up, and how to sleep, lies our beliefs about rest, and about life on rev, and about how we deal. If the backdrop of bed dread is our unquiet mind, then we have to cooperate with the small piece of our intellect that just knows that somehow someway we have to practice restfulness. That we don't have to solve all of our stuff, we don't have to have answers. And that really either which way, we don't have to be afraid to be calmer. We can manage with whatever comes our way. We can push ourselves gently to get up when we don't feel like it, and to lie down when our brain says to keep going.
And we can talk it. If we just can't figure out how to get restful, we can talk it out until we figure it out. That and some good deep breaths can go a long long way.