Friday, January 10, 2014

Night Time Worries

Post by Lily Harlem

Now there's a topic that's fresh on my plate. Worries! I'm doing Dry January, which many of you probably know makes the first month of the year a no alcohol month. Mr H and I do this most years, after the excess of Christmas and the New Year celebrations we always feel like we need a detox and to give our livers a good rest.

Not that we drink copious amounts but we do like our wine! He's a red man and I'm a fan of the white grape - fizzy if I'm lucky and if it comes from a certain region in France that begins with C all the better!

So with this health plan, which includes a return to normal eating with extra lashing of fruit and veg and a reduction in mince pies and chocolate, I thought I'd be sleeping better. Especially since the weather in the UK - unlike the US - has been mild, if a little wet and I've been spending a lot of time on the beach walking the dogs and generally sorting out my thoughts and planning some new plot lines.

However, I go to bed and all is good until about 4 in the morning and then ping, my eyes open and a bundle of worries tumble into my brain. They're not major worries, little things really, but they pull me from sleep and suddenly my mind is whirring away, talking to itself, going through all the scenarios of things that could happen, could go wrong. Not for me particularly, but for the people I care about. And my animals, well, I worry about them constantly, even though they're all absolutely fine and I care for them every day.

When the day breaks I make my usual cup of tea and, like pebbles slipping beneath the surface of a river, my worries go, they disappear. The light of the morning sends them scurrying away and although I'm tired and I know my emotions have been tossing and turning along with me, I can't really remember why, and if I do, it's not important.

Sigh... I guess it's just one of those things. Roll on February, a nice glass of Pinot and a romantic Valentine meal out. Though now I've said that, tonight I'll probably wake up worrying what to get Mr H as a little present, if there are any tables left at our favourite restaurant and, and, and...


  1. Sounds like Dry January makes Valentine's Day feel even more special :)

  2. I've always called those kinds of worries, "Late night willies", because things that you can rationalize away in daylight, ALWAYS seem huge and staggeringly frightening in the middle of the night, when you can't possibly do anything about them. I don't know what causes them, but they are truly unpleasant. My solution when this happens is to concentrate totally on the next chapter of whatever WIP I"m working on. BTW, now that both parents are gone, I obsess over my kids, especially if a nightmare about one of them is what woke me up! I think an intrinsic part of the "willies" is that you are worrying about losing someone you love very much.

    I also equate this with the "racial memories" thing that makes us all afraid to be alone at night. I may let the dog out into the same backyard that I'm in all day, but at night when I head out there, it "feels" eerie when I'm alone. And when we go camping, none of us enjoy walking away from the campfire, even when nature calls. After all, when cavemen left the warmth and light, there might actually be a huge critter waiting to eat you!

  3. Me too.

    I never worry about illness or dying, during the day. Somehow in the chill, lonely hours before dawn, I find myself terribly aware of my own mortal frailty, and that of my husband. What if there really is nothing but the flesh, I find myself thinking. The smallest ache or discomfort gets magnified into a potentially mortal ailment. My husband stops snoring for a few minutes and I worry that he has stopped breathing.

    Don't laugh, but my solution is to mentally recite a prayer. I'm not religious but most of the time, I am convinced in the reality of some sort of spiritual realm beyond the physical. Positive prayer rebuilds my conviction and soothes my anxiety.

  4. True to my extremist bent, I managed to drink my share (and a couple of other guys) share by age 60. My new liver hasn't had a drop since at least '04. When I was boozing, I'd often awaken at 3 am after passing out at 9 the night before. If I awoke during the night, it'd be okay as long as I didn't look at a clock. If I did, I'd be up the rest of the night, worrying about whatever there was to worry about. Sigh…. the 'good 'ol days'...

  5. 'Night time willies' - Fiona - that's what I'll call these worries forever more! And the WIP trick, yep I do that, but then get frustrated if I come up with a genius line (it probably isn't at all but it feels like it at the time) which I then forget the next day.

    Prayers are good, Lisabet, and soothing the soul is always welcome.

    Daddy X, I too wake at about 3 if I've had a few glasses of wine the night before, not sure what it is about that time. In the summer I don't mind, the sun is breaking over the horizon then and I think, yay, a few hours to get on with some writing with no interruptions, but in the winter, when I'm in my semi-hibernating state, I can't bear the chill of getting out from under the duvet!

  6. Lily- It's simply a matter of withdrawal. Alcohol is a depressant, so we go to sleep. As the booze wears off, the body counteracts the effects with adrenaline output and perhaps other nervous kickback.


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