I am no stranger to sleeping problems. I first developed insomnia when I was 16, and a couple of years ago I found out that my cortisol levels are backwards. They’re high when they should be low and low when they should be high which is why I’m exhausted in the morning and get one hell of a second wind at 10 pm. If I had complete control over my schedule, I would go to sleep at 3 am and wake up at 11 am. As I do not have complete control over my schedule, and we’re getting closer but haven’t yet fixed the cortisol problem, I do not take a good night’s sleep for granted. But of all of the issues I have with sleeping, I’ve always been grateful of the fact, that my problem is never a racing a mind. I’m either wide-ass awake with brain functioning normally, or I’m asleep. Being wide awake when you’re trying to sleep is bad enough, so I can’t imagine the hell of being exhausted but unable to get your brain to wind down.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end. I got a taste of this last night. Not the full-on anxiety brain, I had OCD brain. On Sunday, my laptop decided that it wanted to freeze up, never to work again. Yesterday it got sent out, likely for a new hard drive, which meant that I had lost all of the work that I’d done on Sunday. Argh!!!!! I need to finish my novel, and to do that I need my laptop, and I need to keep work that I’ve done, not lose it! Talk about feeling helpless and having zero control over something . . . cue my OCD. I couldn’t control what was happening with my laptop, so my brain decided to control everything else around me.
I immediately mapped out the rest of my evening in order to complete an extensive list of things on my to-do list.
- Stop by CVS, use coupon to buy birthday card.
- Stop by the store to pick up some forgotten groceries. Get exactly what I was missing, nothing less, nothing more.
- Take dogs out.
- Start my laundry.
- Cook my dinner.
- Prep potatoes while my dinner cooks.
- Eat my dinner.
- Cook potatoes while I eat my dinner.
- Move my laundry over.
- Pull out potatoes and let cool.
- Cook scrambled eggs and add the rest of the breakfast burrito ingredients while the potatoes cool.
- Assemble 8 breakfast burritos and wrap them up for the freezer.
- Put burritos in freezer and put away leftover ingredients.
- Fetch laundry from laundry room.
- Grab ingredients and assemble two pepperoni pizzas, wrap them up for the freezer.
- Put pizzas in the freezer and put away leftover ingredients.
- Chat with roommate – this wasn’t on the original schedule.
- Fold laundry.
- Do a sink-full of dishes.
- Realize that while the water is dirty, there’s still room in the drying rack for more dishes.
- Run more water and do another sink-full of dishes.
- Strip and remake bed.
- Take dogs out.
- Get ready for bed.
- Lie in bed thinking about the fact that while I folded my laundry, I didn’t put my laundry away which needs to be done. Then think about the fact that the dishes I did earlier should be dry by now, and thus can be put away making room to do the remaining dishes. And the counters and oven really need to a good scrubbing, and hey I can use that new spray I got!
- Start to get out of bed to do the aforementioned tasks.
It was at this point that I caught a glimpse of the time on my alarm clock, and realized my OCD had kicked in. I am not usually this productive after work. Especially when my evening starts out by spending an hour at the Apple Genius bar. But as I sat on the edge of my bed, taking deep breaths and trying to re-center myself, it occurred to me that I hadn’t wanted to do that second sink-full of dishes. I had simply been incapable of walking away until the precarious tower of Tetris-ed drying dishes was such that the addition of a single spoon would have sent the whole thing toppling down. I then reminded myself that while I always wash and fold my laundry on Monday, I generally put it away on Tuesday. So no, that didn’t need to be done at 2 in the frickin morning.
My entire evening had been driven by a NEED to clean, organize and plan the world around me. I had been working in such a frenzy, that my normally snuggle-tastic dogs were curled up on my bed against the wall so that they weren’t touching me. Honestly, I think they were afraid I was going to throw them in the bathtub and scrub them down if they made their presence conspicuous. Which I might have, so well played puggles. Even with the knowledge of what was going on in my head, it took another half an hour lying in bed wide awake to convince myself that I had done enough for the evening, and like the proverbial mouse with his cookie, if I got up to do just one more thing, I would literally be up all night. Ooof! So long story short, I feel for those of you with anxiety, because the racing thoughts thing sucks!