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In my heart there was a kind of fighting  That would not let me sleep. — Hamlet (the original overth
 

Beautiful Voyager

January 20 · Issue #41 · View online
Inspiration for overthinkers in an overstimulated world.

In my heart there was a kind of fighting 
That would not let me sleep.
Hamlet (the original overthinker)

Hello dear fellow beautiful voyagers,
When I first learned I had generalized anxiety disorder, I studied the diagnosis with the zeal of the newly converted. I loved to talk about what I was learning. My favorite insufferable party trick was to predict symptoms in likeminded friends and acquaintances, asking them if they ever suffered from stiff necks or shoulders, dizziness, tingling arms, or sudden back pain.
Since many people don’t talk about these symptoms, rarely acknowledging them even to themselves, their responses tended to be laced with disbelief and surprise:
And when I really wanted to feel magical, I would predict their pre-bedtime rituals.
“Do you find yourself taking 600 mg of ibuprofen every evening?” I’d ask. “Do you down a short whiskey before bed, followed by a few hits of weed?”
Inevitably, they would be shocked that someone knew their routines without being told. I, in turn, would feel…
As magically insightful as Abed.
That was three years ago. I’m so much wiser now (lol). These days, I want us all to be magicians, not just me, revealing the signs of anxiety with magical panache.
You can be the magician
Self-medicating pre-bedtime rituals are filled with useful information, if you know how to spot them. If someone you love is taking a bunch of over-the-counter medicine, mixing it with alcohol or cannabis, then lightly topping it with an opioid or benzo in order to get to sleep, you’re looking at someone who could use some support for their mental health.
Self-knowledge can help with sleep
Right before I was diagnosed, in 2015, I was waking up around three times a night. I’d do most of my writing from 3 AM to 6 AM, which was great for Medium, but terrible for my health. I was always tired and my nights were filled with dread.
These days, I tend to wake up once or twice a night. Better, but not perfect. Something’s changed, though: Now, when I wake up with a racing mind, I’ve learned how to untangle it and lure it back to sleep. I reach out a hand a pet my dog’s soft fur, feeling her deep breathes, following them with my own. I use visualization exercises. I am committed to waiting out my nervous mind. I observe my mind, then I figure out a way around it or through it.
These days, I fall back asleep.
What about you?
Are the pre-bedtime routines I described above familiar for you or someone you love? Are you a magician? Email me. I’d love to share useful tips and tricks so we can all get better sleep.
Love, Meredith
A short questionnaire for therapists
Therapists can get a free t-shirt for 2 minutes of their time Therapists can get a free t-shirt for 2 minutes of their time
Reading Nook
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
I Spent My Life Worrying about Being Liked
This Poem Resonated With Other BVs
Thank you Mary Oliver. We will miss you. Thank you Mary Oliver. We will miss you.
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