His Lovely Heart

OK, fucktard brain – you win. I’m glad we don’t have these battles too often, but fuck me, you really piss me off when we do. I’m fuming actually, because just when I thought you were starting to get the hang of what might constitute a normal response to reality you go loco on me. What’s up with that? It’s approaching 2am and here I am having to baby-sit you when in fact we could use a little shut-eye.

Tried to read twice. Got sleepy during round #1, but oh no – within minutes of switching the light off you just had to turn into what I imagine an LSD trip to be. Nicely stressed because I could sense you had it in for me, I spent probably an hour so tense my jaw was aching. Reading round #2 and once again I turned the light off when my eyelids got heavy and the words on the page got blurry, but oh fucking no – same rollercoaster, only this time you seemed to be on crystal meth, you nut job.


Yes, there is anxiety and general pissed-off-ness around the counselling course – there are more applicants than available places for the next level. Ball ache, yes. But I’ve so far not only passed everything, I’ve also been told several times by the tutor that I’m in a very strong position and generally seem to be getting it not just right, but very right. This afternoon that was once again confirmed. Whilst there are no guarantees, getting a place on level 3 will likely be down to luck of the draw and not a reflection of my ability. There is simply nothing I can do about it, and certainly not now, at 2am. Should my portfolio be a little meagre in places, I have time to do more work. All of us are in this position, but only today I was reassured of having done not just well, but really well. So why the stress? Is this really where it’s coming from? Can’t be, surely? Only last week I surprised myself by feeling pretty calm about it all whilst most other people seemed a hell of a lot more stressed than I did. Delayed reaction and I’ve gone and suppressed all negative emotion as per usual? Turns out I manage to do this even without booze. Huh-fucking-rrah.

Yes, there was a curveball this evening. Mum rang and told me my stepdad’s had a mild heart attack. It was a couple of days ago and mum being mum she only told me once he’s in the clear – he is recuperating as we speak and he is fine. Terrible, yes. But he had already been referred to be examined for the pain and pressure he gets in his chest so they were already keeping a close eye, and so when he got poorly they got him in quickly, they operated and now what turned out to be a blockage is fixed with a stent. Yes, I love the man to the moon and back and yes, it is painful as hell to hear someone I care about so much being poorly, but bottom line is it was caught and they have fixed it. His heart has not been damaged and because he got poorly they could sort it out immediately before it developed into something that could have gone worse. Is this what has me spinning? That’d make more sense. But it’s not like I’ve gone and denied it, nor have I – hallelujah! – gone and got drunk to numb it out. I sat with it, I felt it and I am not running away.

Fuck you, brain, I’ve fucking got this. So why are you doing a number on me?

Perhaps I’ve got into a vicious cycle. I’m really annoyed because one of the biggest rewards of recovery and the one that materialised the quickest – almost immediately, in fact – was wonderful, solid, restful sleep. Oh my goodness, I’ve slept SO well since I ditched the booze. But somewhere just into the new year, two years into sweet, sweet sobriety, I’m suddenly having trouble. It’s been rare, but this kind of night has occurred once in a blue moon, sure. But lately it’s been quite often, as in the past two or three weeks. I get sleepy, but as soon as I turn the light off I can’t seem to fall asleep. Because of a handful of these nights I think I began to think “oh shit, what if I can’t go to sleep again” and then of course I’m doomed. Because of YOU, stupid brain of mine. I mean, to you that’s like a red flag to a bull. Can’t help yourself, can you?

In the mad torrent of crazy town you’ve thrown my way, I was even pondering whether it’d even be possible for an addict to safely use sleeping pills for a short period of time to get me back on track. No, it’d have to get really bad before I were to even consider that, but I was playing the conversation I’d have with my GP in my mind as I was tossing and turning. All the questions I would ask and the amount of research I’d have to do.

1) Surely it’d be the most idiotic idea known to man for an addict to take sleeping pills?

2) Do normal people get addicted to them? I’m sure I’ve heard of this happening. So surely for someone like me, this would be about as sensible as swimming in shark infested waters wearing Lady Gaga’s meat dress as a bathing suit?

3) Does the brain, and in particular a brain like mine, react like it does to e.g. alcohol and other drugs in that it’ll start to produce the opposite effect? I.e. if I were to take sleeping pills, would it become harder to sleep once I come off them because my arsehole brain is working in the opposite direction? You know, how you are tired before you’ve had your coffee not because you haven’t had your coffee but because you’ve been drinking coffee regularly? Yes, I know I’m rambling and probably not making much sense but it’s in the middle of the night and I’ve gone hyper. What I’m wondering on this point is whether sleeping pills put a spanner in the works even if you don’t get addicted? Although that’d be exactly like addiction, if the crap that’s caused the damn problem also becomes the only thing to alleviate it. Yep, I’ve gone hyper. I’m definitely on the dark side now.

4) No. Just no.

That’s not going to happen – I absolutely wouldn’t and I’m not seriously considering it, but my mind is still racing and I can’t freaking switch it off. And I’m getting a little worried about this blip in my hitherto magical sober sleep. What is this nonsense?

Possible reasons:

Anxiety over the counselling course progression plan? Yes and no. Either way, there is nothing I can do about any of it AT FUCKING 2AM! Grant me the fucking serenity, brain – I’m following the rules here and have mostly been very at peace with this. Even if it all goes totally wrong, the worst that can happen is I find a different college and because I’m covering my bases I have one lined up with an interview coming up. There is genuinely nothing to be catastrophising about here. At worst, it’ll be a little amendment to my route to get to my goal but it won’t stop me. If this is what you’re being loco about you need to stop, brain. This is stupid.

Stepdad’s lovely heart? I feel sad and powerless but not panic stricken or worried, because he’s in good hands and they’ve got it under control. I can’t do anything about this but the doctors who can HAVE. This is real and it isn’t stupid. It’s not just OK to be anxious and stressed about this, it’s totally natural. But do you think, brain, that you could just let me sit with this feeling and reflect on it and not go off in all these other, insane directions?

Is it all these smoothies we’ve been making? We did get tonnes of fruit, berries, spinach and other greens along with these health powders like spirulina and something called maca powder, which apparently is “Peruvian ginseng” and what soldiers would eat before going into battle. Perhaps a huge glass of apple, spinach and warlord fuel wasn’t such a good idea?

Is it the book I’m reading? ‘One of Your Own’. It’s a book about Myra Hindley. I’ve read it before but have recently churned through a bunch of serial killer books of that ilk, the one I finished before it about Rose West. I mean, it’s not exactly a pleasant read and it does contain harrowing details of abuse and murder. Lots of it. But I have always been fascinated by evil and my book shelves are full of stuff like that. Oh good, I’ve gone from not just being crazy but sounding like a complete psycho too. Excellent.

Maybe it’s all of that.

Fuck. I’m not getting tired. In fact, this is just making me more awake. I could literally go for a run right now. I don’t want to go back into the bedroom and read because Hubby is sound asleep and turning the light on AGAIN would probably wake him.

By the way, my language seems to get especially foul when I hit a night like this one. Too many f-bombs in here, definitely.

Well. Just gone past 2am now. I’m just going to head back to bed and try again. I’m so, so irritated. I did not need this, brain. You suck.

Today’s little happy thought in all my crazy: imagine how much worse this would be if I was still drinking! Pouring booze on anxiety would be worse than that Lady Gaga dress in aforementioned shark tank.

Well. I still win, because even though there are still technically 22 hours left of ‘today’ and I’m clearly bat shit crazy, I can say with conviction and a fair amount of sass too, that:

Today I’m not going to drink.

14 thoughts on “His Lovely Heart

  1. Sounds like you’re inside my head Anna. Miserable to not be able to sleep. I have used very sparingly and consciously Lorazapam (a benzo type med) for 10 years . Started before I gave up alcohol and was concerned that when I got sober my use would increase and I’d be trading addictions. Hasn’t happened. It’s a very personal call. I, too, go through periods of sleeplessness and for me it’s just not an annoyance, it’s dangerous. The trauma in my past makes me especially susceptible to imbalances in thoughts, behaviors and judgements which are made much worse by lack of sleep. p.s. I could also put a sailor to shame with my mouth.😂 I just try to save others ears from it. Going to try writing those rants out- seems like it could be very satisfying! Love you lots, sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am currently going through a period of sleeplessness, mainly due to the fact that my husband is on a five month deployment. But it is SO disappointing to realize not all sleep problems are caused my booze and they happen to sober people too. I broke down last night and took a melatonin tablet, and it helped me not wake at 2 am with a wired brain, like has been happening. Hope this is short-lived for you! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Have you tried making friends with your anxiety? Shit, sounds like it’s been around for long enough to pay rent anyway might as well make friends at this point


  4. Hot flashes at night keep me awake.
    I was on sleeping meds for years. They are very hard to come off of, and messed up my sleep cycle.
    Actually, I quit drinking and stopped sleep meds, and I had to see a sleep psychologist. Best thing I ever did.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the f-bombs
    Love the fact that you are describing insomnia so vividly it helps the rest of us know we are not alone
    Love the honesty
    Love that we are all crazy but sober crazies are cool
    Love your post – thanks for sharing.
    Hope you finally catch some Zeds
    Claire xx

    Liked by 1 person

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