When I can’t sleep, I worry. About work done and undone, roads not taken, futures unknown. When I can’t sleep, thoughts churn in my mind, roiling and boiling in my brain until I jump out of bed, a complete nervous wreck.
Thankfully, sleep doesn’t elude me that often anymore. I fall asleep fairly easily, and mostly sleep through the night unless a hot flash or lonely puppy disturbs me. But the past two nights, troubled by respiratory congestion and fever, I’ve been thrashing around amongst the covers, unable to rest in body or spirit.
Nervousness runs in our family, I’m told. My mother has memories of her grandfather suddenly rising from the table in the midst of Sunday dinner and bolting out the door, probably driven away from his meal by the cacophony of seven adult children, their spouses, and innumerable amounts of grandchildren. “He was an awfully nervous man,” she says, and remembers him pacing outside the house, up and down the dirt road running along beside it.
That urge to bolt comes naturally then, the one I feel when all the worries and anxieties overwhelm me, when I have to sit on my hands to keep from throwing wide the door and running for dear life. Whenever I see movies of a runaway horse, I know exactly the feeling – that wild-eyed look which comes with the desperate need to escape.
There’s usually no escaping real life, no matter how nervous one gets. So I get in my car if the weather is fine and roll down all the windows, drive as fast as I (safely) can, until the rushing wind sweeps the anxiety out of my mind. On cold and dreary days, I might put on music (Jason Robert Brown, Bon Jovi) and turn it up loud, close my eyes and spin in crazy circles around the room.
These are only diversions, they solve nothing, yet somehow they soothe a troubled soul and put the wrecked endings of my nerves back together.
How about you? What makes you nervous? How do you handle those time when you feel a nervous wreck?