I’ve always believed that sleep is a compulsory waste of time. For this reason, I’m almost always awake, filling my bed time with music, books and creative hunts on social media. It sucks that our brains need sleep to function. I only retire to bed when my body screams “bloody murderer!” and every time, I get pissed off that I must respect Mother Nature and Aunt Physiology.
It’s hard to admit that my bad sleeping habits are born of the fear that creeps into my bones with the night time. My problem is no longer darkness or as they say, the absence of light. My problem is the relinquish of consciousness and control of my body to the universe and what not. I hate not being in control.
I managed to convince myself that sleep was only a necessity and anything exceeding 4 hours was a luxury one should not indulge in. Eventually, my sleep adopted a frightful pattern.
It began with hypnic jerks, was disturbed by nightmares and was ultimately interrupted by laboured breathing.
Do you ever fall asleep and then start to feel like you’re falling down, awakening with a fright? It gets your heart racing and it’s hard to believe that you weren’t actually falling from your bed. It is called a hypnic jerk and is described as an illusion of falling experienced by a person as they fall asleep. Evolution also proposes that this phenomenon could be nature’s primitive way of alerting an animal that it was actually falling off a tree.
Understanding that both the illusion and reality of falling is so frightening has led me to conclude that…
We live most of our lives as a series of hypnic jerks withdrawing ourselves from any situation that is unfavorable.
A person recently observed that I am ‘too scared of being ridiculed’ and while I agreed completely, the monitors in my head were flashing with the question “Who isn’t ? ” Show me one person who at some point, wasn’t scared of failure or ridicule or uncertainties or the harsh opinions of people or even ‘falling’ in love and I owe that person a date. For this reason that we’re all scared of uncertain and unfavorable situations, we have built a system, similar to a hypnic jerk that forces us to withdraw ourselves from a situation that begins to seem too challenging.
The only fault with this system is that just like a hypnic jerk, we have no idea what was awaiting us. What was at the bottom of that hole? What new things would we have learnt? What dangers would we face? We’d never know! And it sucks.
This begs the question.
what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
My answer is not to jump off cliffs or to kiss strangers but boils down to simple things I deny myself.
If I wasn’t afraid, I wouldn’t have taken that long route last week to avoid a group of guys conversing along the corridor. If I wasn’t afraid, I would run for more political positions. If I wasn’t afraid I would tell the truth everytime I’m asked the question “how are you doing? “. If I wasn’t afraid, I’d dance in public. If I wasn’t afraid, you would have read this post a week earlier.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Life can be a nightmare and most times, there’s nothing you can do about it
This is a sad reality and I so detest it. No matter how much hypnic jerks we employ to pull ourselves out of unfavorable conditions, the nightmares find us. They steal our peace. They haunt us.
A child may whine and cry and refuse to go to bed because of the fear of having nightmares but he would eventually fall asleep. Mother Nature and Aunt Physiology are quite possessive.
A man may also whine and cry and fill up his space with distractions like excess alcohol and sex, refusing to face life because of the fear of overwhelming responsibilities and extremely unfavorable situations such as poverty or death of loved ones. But he would eventually face reality. Life is a bitch! Pardon my French.
I’ve come to accept that every now and then, life would throw me in sticky and uncomfortable situations which just like my nightmares, I have no control over. And just like we rely on our bodies to wake up, I rely on the universe to bring me out.
Time heals they say. Time heals, I know.
Breathe lover, Breathe.
There’s nothing deep about this. Breathing hard after a nightmare never takes away the fear and dread. Telling yourself to take steady breadths when faced with difficult situations does nothing to ease your difficulty. But still, it is important to remind yourself to breathe. Why?
If you’re breathing, then you’re alive. If you’re alive, then there’s still hope.
You may have had a rough week. You may have lost a loved one. You may be battling with depression. You may be caught in a love triangle. Nightmares that you have no control over.
You may not have all the answers. But what you do have is your breath, your life and hope.
Breathe lover, breathe.
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