The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1781
It's bad enough I'm tired from the time change, but for the past two nights I've also been waking up around 3:00am and can't get back to sleep. The dead of night is the stuff of nightmare. Tossing, turning, rolling and writhing, my mind conjures up things best left in the Pandora's box of my subconscious.
My evil twin likes to float up from the nether regions during these times I am most weak, always ready and willing to remind me of mistakes, wrong choices, words of regret, agonies of twisted thought, both real and imagined. She's a critical bitch, ruthless and cold, strongest--like a vampire--in these nocturnal hours as she tortures me.
I resist as best I can. After all, I've had many battles with her over the years. Though she steals my sleep and burns holes like acid in my equilibrium, eventually I can banish her back to the depths. How long it takes as she picks at my brain and I fight to throw her off, depends on how quickly I can don my mental armor.
Long ago I learned a technique to reach REM sleep with colors. It's tricky, takes practice, and is very much like doing meditation, but it works. Six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. Visualize the first color--and they must be done in order--until all you see in your mind is red, then move to the next color, do it again, and on it goes. When it's done right, you rarely reach purple because you're fast asleep!
I always start this exercise picturing a bright red dress I used to have. It was a beautiful, vibrant tomato red. Last night the evil twin grabbed that red dress and dragged me kicking and screaming into the past. Next, I tried thinking of the brightest, reddest apple ever. She ate it. A can of red paint. Spilled. Red fingernail polish. Smudged. Red shoes. Scuffed.
Red fizzles in my mind.
So I got up, made a cup of hot cocoa, read my book for an hour or so, then went back to bed. It's approaching 5:00am now and damn, I am frigging tired. I plump the pillow, burrow under the duvet, spend some moments thinking about the coming day, then thank Morpheus, I finally fall asleep.
At 5:17am Ozzy wakes me. He has to go outside. When I let him out, Max wakes and wants out as well. For some reason, they think it's time to start the day.
I give up.