Insomnia. For those of you anticipating life after menopause, start anticipating random nights of insomnia. And it's a strange kind of insomnia too. Not so much a restless "Oh, me, oh my! I-can't-sleep" kind. It's more of a "Crap! Here-it-is-again-and-my-energy-won't-let-me-sleep" kind.
Estrogen. Elixir of youth. Who knew the wonder of you until you dwindled to nearly nothing?
I really can't complain. Since shortly after my 40th birthday, I have enjoyed the wonder of life in "those years." Somehow I slid right through peri-menopause and straight to post-menopause with little-to-no discomfort. Of course, I had to convince the medical professionals I'd arrived at this feminine destination years (heck, more than a decade) ahead of schedule.
I can probably blame it on the inherent stress of my life, but I don't want to. That seems to allude to an inferior capacity to deal with chronic stress. (Just so you know, having a child with physical and intellectual disabilities qualifies you for that illustrious category: chronic stress.)
I don't like thinking I might have an inferior capacity for anything, so I choose to ignore why I got here while simply navigating the how to manage being here phase. Frankly, I feel I'm doing that fairly well – other than the 13 pounds I packed on courtesy of a job I held during nearly the same period of time. About .81 pounds per month. Amazing. And because I'm not the calorie burning machine I once was, that means I'll be suffering through the physical after effects of that job for quite a while to come. Lovely. (Sometime I'll share the emotional after effects associated with that job as well. That will be a fascinating endeavor, won't it?)
Anyway, unlike centuries of women who navigated this transition before me, I have the benefit of the Internet to keep me company on nights that my body is having a difficult time shifting gears without the aid of Sister Estrogen. I've discovered that a day of sleep deprivation will kick me back into gear, provided I maintain my exercise and soy milk routine. I'm counting on the fact that tomorrow I'll be begging for bedtime. Until then, I'm blogging past bedtime.
Tonight, before I gave in to my condition, I laid in bed - eyes fully open - thinking about trying not to think. When I have a light version of insomnia, that can work. However, if my mind kicks into full productivity mode while wrestling with insomnia, I've lost the fight. An hour or two of real productivity smack dab in the middle of the night is the best remedy.
So, tonight, when Christ's frustrated words popped into my head, I knew it was time to get up. He understood what stress-induced insomnia was about!
"Could you not stay awake with me one hour?"
The disciples could not.
I wish I had a way of knowing who else is awake at this hour.
• A spouse who has recently lost his or her soul mate.
• A parent who has lost his or her job.
• Sons and daughters living with fear because of choices that found them after they attempted to avoid a choice at all.
• A supervisor who spent part of his or her day letting workers go - or who will do just such a thing in the morning.
• A mom contemplating the outcome of her radiation treatments.
• A dad contemplating the outcome of his surgery.
• A nurse.
• A doctor.
• A security guard.
• A police officer.
• A new parent.
• Someone unbearably depressed.
• Someone unbearably lonely.
• Someone holding a feverish child.
• Someone rubbing the back of a child doubled over in pain.
• Someone who is reading this right now.
Could you not stay awake with me one hour?
Well, tonight I could. I have been with you and have thought of you - whoever you might be. I hope you have not felt alone.
I believe someone else has been with you as well.
38 Then he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me." 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want." 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. Matthew 26:38-43
The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Hang in there. Sometimes this is what life is made of. Fortunately, tomorrow always brings another chance to - if not get it right - at least try it again, hoping for a new result.
I bet I don't have insomnia tomorrow night. I hope you don't either.
You know what? I'm tired now. Finally. Horray!
- dedicated to Greg, Emilie and Skitch (all who have joined me in this hour tonight)