Sleep, interrupted

Two nights in a row I’ve woken up, wide awake, at about 3am. Night before last, it was a sudden realization of why a scene I had struggled writing the night before wasn’t working. Last night it was a bad dream in which a bunch of my closest friends were upset and crying, and somehow it was my fault.

Neither interruption is being conducive to my recovery from the awful cold.

To be fair, the 3am wake up night before last was about the fourth time I woke up that night. I just couldn’t stay asleep! Sometimes I only dozed between moments of waking up. Unlike a couple of nights the previous week, I’m not sure why I couldn’t sleep. Last week I had body aches and severe sinus congestion because of the cold. The body aches are gone, and sinus stuff is just like normal low level hay fever, now.

Last night’s I can’t really explain, either. I mean, bad dreams usually wake one up. I don’t remember what actually happened in the dream. All I remembered by the time I woke up is that a bunch of people I care for were upset, most crying, others more angry. And I awoke with the very definite feeling it was my fault.

It would be nice if I had remembered enough to know what my subconcisous is feeling anxiety about. Then, perhaps, I could do something about it.

If you had asked me, before last night, to predict what I might have an anxiety dream about, it would have been work-related. I’m swamped at work, every department I interact with is shorthanded, and one reason for that is that there were layoffs a couple months back—so several people I was at least fond of are looking for work and not around for normal interaction.

So I have no idea what’s going on with the rest of this. Nor do I expect that whining on the internet will solve the problem.

A connection I would like to draw from this is: we are hardwired to construct narratives from the events we observe. A narrative is a means to make the world make sense.

So when I’m writing a scene for a long story, and something I’m trying to put in the scene contradicts something that I have consciously forgotten that I had put in an earlier part of the tale, my subconcious tries to tell me, and thus the dialog doesn’t “sound” right, or some other thing doesn’t work. Hours later, while I’m asleep, my subconscious can finally tell me what I had forgotten, and why what I was trying to do didn’t make narrative sense.

Similarly, we try to make sense out of all the bad or unpleasant things that happen around us. There has to be a reason these things are happening, right? So our subconscious puts together plausible explanations for the bad things, often conjuring up much worse things. Thus, bad dreams. And, knowing that, I’m now trying to figure out what anxieties caused the dream, why I woke up at nearly the same time two nights in a row, why I’m not completely recovered from the cold…

And maybe, just maybe, more of this is just dumb luck than I want to admit.

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