I’m struggling at night.
Walking around our garden multiple times is how I start my evening bedtime ritual. 5 or 6 laps are meant to tire me out, followed by a long, lazy soak in an oil bath. (I am extravagant with this bath treat and decided with all that’s been taken away, it’s not so outrageous.) Crisp sheets, the right temperature, and no more social media are meant to create the mental haven I need to fall into a deep sleep – and a couple of chapters of a current novel.
Guess what? It’s not working.
These happy rituals help me fall asleep but my subconscious wakes me every night in the early hours. I don’t wish to and I have even cut back on my jasmine tea and chocolate intake, hopeful a caffeine reduction might get me through. NO.
Deep within I imagine world events are causing a trauma I may be able to disguise but not avoid. I don’t want to diminish this crisis or hide from it. I believe it is important to understand, comprehend and deal with these emotional repercussions, but I would rather not dwell in the darkness. Everything is so much worse at night. I think it is the contrary nature of this from where I am sitting; my life feels the same, looks the same and yet nowhere is or can ever be the same. What I read is the stuff of nightmares and then I look up and see the beauty around me and find it hard to equate the two. There is an unreal quality to this pandemic when you aren’t facing the frontline.
What helps? I have found some life saviours.
Audiobooks. They are my new best friends in the middle of the night.
I have divided them into two categories – biographies and autobiographies for the small hours and fiction for my extended walks around the garden. The reason non-fiction works are because when I do drift off, it is very easy to find the correct place the following day; not so easy with fiction and somewhat ruins the tale.
Secondly, the narrator is everything. Sorry but some voices are plain and simple irritating and I learned the expensive way. Now I preview the narrators before I click away. These audio versions have been life saviours when my anxiety threatens to overwhelm; the conversational tone is relaxing and the content interesting.
So far I have spent evenings listening to Michelle Obama and learning more about the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I have been enthralled by Anne Glenconner and discovered all about The Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly. Natalie Wood, what a tragic beauty and sorry tale and then there is the fabulous Tara Westover’s Educated. Yes, I don’t sleep much.
And fiction? Finishing To Kill A Mockingbird was like saying goodbye to a best friend but in a sharp turn, A Good Neighbourhood sounds promising three chapters in.
Audiobooks and I will never part, even when my sleeping patterns do regulate, they really are small joys in a distressing landscape. If you have recommendations I would love to know. xv
My Life Saviours