Most nights, I don’t get to sleep until the wee hours, and lay twisted up with fear of what the following day might bring.
‘Wooooo,’ howls my hypothalamus from a place where it is seemingly Halloween all year round, ‘beware sleep as it will only deliver you to the new day, where you will be eaten by a sabre toothed tiger, trampled by a mammoth or burned on the pyre by the rest of your tribe. You know they hate you. They’re talking about you now you know; I can hear them. They hate your new puma skin and say your cave’s a mess. Woooo….’
Hypothalamus, it’s not the stone age anymore, you twat. I’m lying in a bed, here?!
‘Woooo, do not close your eyes, there is still much danger,’ it insists, getting into it’s stride ‘those girls at school can’t wait to beat the shit out of you, and they’ll be there in assembly, right behind you, spitting in your hair and jabbing you in the back with a ruler, then they’ll get you at break time. And there’s no point in running home and expecting sanctuary ‘cos your Mum with scream at you, make you feel like shit for being so weak, and send you right back, and then….’
Hypothalamus, I’m 50! I don’t go to school anymore, and my Mum is dead! What the fuck is your problem?
‘Wooo,’ it insists ‘beware the night, as it will surely bring the day where….’
Where what? I sleep late, stay in, eat too much, lie on my bed with the cats and watch ‘Real Housewives’?
It is silent for a while but then creeps back just as I am nodding off.
‘…ooooo…oooo,’ it keens softly only adding to it’s menace, ‘you know that you can’t stay in that cave forever. And when you go out, such dangers and cruelties await you, the like of which you have never seen. You think you had it bad as a teenager? Just wait and see what the world has in store for an out of work, menopausal depressive with a bad reputation and a mob of ill wishers just waiting for you to trip so that they can fall upon you, spit in your face and tear your throat out. Night, fucking, night.’
No one can say that the ancient brain is rational, but in the cold, wee hours of the morning, it ain’t half convincing.
But I think I have turned a bit of a corner this morning.
I’m not going to promise anything or make any elaborate claims, as you’ve heard it all before, but I do feel that I finally know what has been going on for me. As in someone who has actually been slapped around the face, rather than remembering it in the long distant past or fearing it in an uncertain future.
And I’m hoping it might have woken me up.
My cheek stings, my neck aches and a white handprint emblazons my cheek.
But the day is fine, the cats are purring, and as yet, I see no monsters out there.
Only trees, people and the occasional fox slink past, it’s fur burnished orange in the Winter sunlight.