[trigger warning] And Then I Got Up At 0515 And Went For A Run

A photo by Sonja Langford. unsplash.com/photos/eIkbSc3SDtITRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

The last few days have been super dark and truly unpleasant. So dark and unpleasant that I stopped writing.

Entirely.

Not even on 750words.com.

Last night as I was falling asleep at nine, setting my alarm clock for five, I started visualizing this morning.

Wait.

Too far.

Lemme back up.

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I used to go to bed at ten. And get up at six.

At one point YEARS AGO I was taking wing chun kung fu at six in the morning thirty minutes away from my house so I got up at five.

AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

I would roll out of bed, having slept in clothes for class, grab my day bag for afters, stumbled into the car, drove thirty minutes sipping water, and took a ninety minute class. Then off to the office, shower, and dress and glare at people staring at my beautiful layers of bruises.

DID I MENTION THE GLORIOUSNESS.

This became the ideal schedule.

Go to bed at nine. Get up at five. Exercise. Morning routine. Work. Repeat.

Which has NEVER happened since moving to the Netherlands.

Until today.

But, wait, there’s more.

A couple of week’s ago the doc and I decide to stop trying to go to sleep at nine and get up at five (cause I was sleeping until eight no matter what anyway) and go to bed at ten / get up at six.

Fine.

Then last week we work on some IMAGERY RESCRIPTING THERAPY to address the awesome nightmares. Oh, and also start a sleep journal. Specifically, start filling out this journal that includes lie down / get out of bed times in addition to sleep / alcohol / smoking / exercise / eating factors.

Two things happened.

One. NO MORE NIGHTMARES.

IRT totally worked. No more fucking nightmares. #BRILLIANT

And Two. All sleep habits went to shit.

I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t sleep when in bed. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t exercise.

I was suddenly stuck.

Paralyzed.

I wrote a bit about this the other day.

But then.

Last night I was lying in bed. Reading. (don’t do that. i know. i know.) And it gets to be nine fifteen. And I think. “Stop it. Turn off the electronics. Set the alarm clock for five fifteen. We’re doing this.”

The thing is, ever since April, when the alarm goes off. When my eyes open. WHEN IT’S TIME TO GET OUT OF BED.

“No.”

The voice in my head flat out says, “No.”

And I close my eyes and go back to sleep.

The nightmares kept me up all night and I’m utterly exhausted.

But. Eventually I can’t stay asleep any longer or I hear the AI call out and I keep the eyes open and roll out of bed. But not until between eight and ten. Then there’s no voice. Then I get up.

And last night I thought, what if I use IRT to rescript the morning?

So I closed the eyes and imagined the morning.

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The alarm goes off. I grab it and my glasses, throw the blanket back, roll over to the left side, throwing my legs over the edge and rolling up onto the left elbow, pushing to sitting, and onto the feet before I can think twice. Already walking around the bed towards the bathroom while I figure out how to turn off the alarm ringing in my hands.

I imagine Zoe’s in my way, snuggling, purring sweetly between me and feet on the ground.

She’s a cat, she’ll land on her feet when I grab everything, swing the blanket away and leap out of bed.

And she totally did.

And so did I.

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  • Helen Rayner-Karlsson

    Moving one foot in front of the other is always hard, even more so when everything inside is holding you to ransom. Everyday is a victory, every moment is a battle and you are always the stronger person for it. x