I lost my sleep in 2006. My deep, uninterrupted sleep, that is.
In 2006, my first marriage to the love of my young life fell apart, thanks to actions on my part and inaction on his. I was living overseas in Sri Lanka, where I was a humanitarian worker. When he left the country, I moved into a new house in an old part of town. And, every night, at 3 a.m. on the dot, I would wake from vivid, adventure-filled dreams, my thoughts racing with questions of “What have I done?” and “What is going to happen?”
My life did not get any less chaotic during the next 13 years. I moved to three different states and three different countries. My father passed away and my mother was diagnosed with two different types of cancer. In addition to the failure of my long-term relationship, countless smaller relationships failed, as did my two pregnancies — one ectopic and one miscarriage.
I became resigned to the idea that sleep would forever elude me and accepted the effects that this poor sleep had on my energy, concentration, mood, skin and weight.
But then, as suddenly as it had disappeared, my deep sleep unexpectedly returned to me in 2019. I was 45 and had survived yet another particularly trying year of depression, 40-pound weight gain, foot surgery, job loss, another divorce and yet another move.
Slowly but surely, I either bypassed the 3 a.m. mark or woke up but fell right back to sleep. It was almost as if, now, as I tried to navigate my strange new life – I had a new job in a new city; was newly single, broke and a single dog mom to three pups – sleep had returned. It seemed almost like a peace offering, to counter the feeling that I was in constant quicksand with nowhere to turn.
Now, when I slide under the sheets at night, with my three dogs curled up around me and soft pillows under my head, I know sleep will heal all the mishaps of the day. All the swirling thoughts and endless inner chatter will stop. And then I will wake up, rested, at last, and full of hope that everything will be OK.