Come back to me, sleep.

I’ve been out of it the last few days. I’ve been able to function (somehow) on very little sleep.

I had a weird experience Monday night. I don’t really know if it was a nightmare, or a flashback, or something else. I don’t remember many details about it; I have a feeling I blocked it out of my mind. I do remember being confused between what I was seeing and where I was in the moment.

I remember someone coming through my door. This was the moment I “woke up” and was stuck between the vision and reality. I felt like I was actually there in my mind, yet consciously aware that I was actually not there at all, if that makes any sense. When I saw someone coming through my door, I told myself that was impossible because I had locked my bedroom door and no one could get in.

Then I felt everything shaking. I thought my room was shaking. Is this an earthquake? Is there a truck outside? What is happening? Then I looked at my hands and realized that I was the one shaking. My whole body had been trembling.

I looked at the clock. I checked my phone for the date. I tried to remind myself that I was safe. Eventually, the shaking stopped, but that was the end of my sleep. I stayed in bed the rest of the night staring at the ceiling, trying not to jump at every little noise.

I got up and went to work, and somehow made it through the day. I fought through the exhaustion. As I rode the bus home, I felt myself wanting to just go to sleep right there. I told myself I would try to go to bed early. Even though I had some tasks that needed to be done, I couldn’t do them successfully on such little sleep.

By 6 o’clock, I was in bed. I was so exhausted, I could barely keep my eyes open. I thought for sure I would easily fall asleep. But I didn’t. Hours and hours flew by. I could not get myself to sleep. I felt constantly on edge, jumping at every little noise outside, wanting to hide at every noise inside.

I sat in my closet, hoping I would feel safe enough to fall asleep there. That didn’t work. Nothing worked. I think I was afraid to go back to sleep for a reason, something connected to what I experienced the night before.

Two days now, I was running on empty. I filled up with coffee and sugar, hoping the rush would be enough to get me through the long day. I couldn’t wait to get home and just melt into bed. I got home, settled down, and tried once again to go sleep. A few hours went by before I finally nodded off. And then I woke up an hour later. I calmed myself back into sleep and woke up after an hour (again).

This cycle continued throughout the night, and I never got more than an hour of sleep at a time. But at least I got sleep. It was something.

I’m still feeling the effects. I’m still exhausted. I have a lot to write about, but no energy to write. I am hoping tonight will be better for me.

I remind myself I am safe dozens of times in hopes that it will just sink in. It hasn’t yet.

Why?

I’m exhausted, but I’m too scared to close my eyes. I’m afraid to go to sleep.

Last night was horrible. Nightmare after nightmare. At one point I woke up doused in sweat; my skin felt like it was on fire. It wasn’t even hot in the house. The heat was coming from inside me, like a fire burning whatever was left of my soul.

Whatever sleep I had was ruined by the nightmares, the memories, the pain. The day hadn’t even started and I was already drained. I cried walking to the bus stop. I cried at work. I cried on the bus going home from work. I cried at home. The tears don’t even help. They can’t take away the pain in my heart. They don’t stop the memories from invading my mind. They just give me a headache.

I don’t have time to cry. I have a job to do. I have essays to write. I have bills to pay, money to pull from the sky, and people to check on. There’s no time to cry. Suck it up.

Why can’t I just get over it?