Sleep has evaded me this weekend. No matter how tired I feel – how much my body is saying, “sleep will make you feel better” – my mind, I’m guessing, is keeping me awake. I end up sleeping in fits and starts, then find myself awake for several hour stretches in the middle of the night.
I learned a long time ago to embrace the awake. To fight insomnia is to lose – only seemingly making it feel worse during the day – like in addition to not sleeping, you spent the night in a mental battle that’s left you exhausted in that way too.
So I have developed tricks to keep my mind busy so my body can sleep. I listen to audiobooks that I’ve heard 1000 times and could recite by heart. I play a word game that always seems to tire out my brain allowing me to fall asleep. But sadly, none of those things have worked the past few nights. At one point in the wee hours of the morning, I weighed the pros and cons of taking a Nyquil since I do have a cold that isn’t likely helping the situation. But it always leaves me feeling groggy and hung over the next morning, so o gave it a pass.
Friday night, I had a dream when I did sleep. It was that I had gone with a few other people in his life to cheer on the kid during a long cross country race. We wanted him to have people cheering specifically for him as he ran, so we planned out where we were going to be on the course so we could cheer for him many times. At one point, he stopped near us. He stopped and was sick and wasn’t sure what to do. We picked him up and got him feeling like he could continue, but he wanted to clean up first. We were near a stripmall like place with a restroom, so we sent him over to get cleaned up. As he was gone, we talked about how well he was doing. How despite the stumbles and all, he is still trying – he is still working to keep going. And as we were talking, we watched for him to come back.
Until we realized he had been gone too long.
We rushed over to where he had gone. We checked everywhere – the restrooms, the stores, everywhere. He was gone. We compared how long we thought he was gone – it wasn’t long, but agreed it was long enough apparently. We spread out and started searching with his social worker dialing up her contacts to find out our next steps outside of searching.
I was searching all over the place – thinking about all of the places he likes to go – places he is attracted to – and visiting each one as I texted G and the kids letting them know we needed to find him. No one was having success.
Until DJ called me. “He contacted me asking if I could help him. I think because of how he sent it, that I can pinpoint his location. I’ll check for sure and send you what I have.” A minute later after hanging up, I got a text with a map showing where he was at. I replied to keep talking to him. Then I called the social worker and the other person who was with us to tell them what I had found out. How are we going to do this so he doesn’t run again? We were so afraid he was going to run again.
And honestly, that is where the dream was at until I woke up – us trying to figure out what we could do to bring him back – keep him from making things worse for himself.
I know I have been sitting with that dream since I had it. It doesn’t take a dream expert who knows my fear. But it wasn’t until I wrote this that I connected it even more with what is happening.
The past 10 days have not been good for him. I cannot get into the details, but he did something, there were consequences, and he has retreated. He has pulled back in many ways. He is in his head. He is not talking much. While he may not have physically run away, he is clearly withdrawing again.
It is like in my dream – despite the support and all – he ran away from us. He ran back into his head. And now we are sitting here trying to figure out how to draw him out again – so we can help him.
So I guess that may be why I’m not sleeping. My brain is clearly attempting to find the answer – find the solution to getting this resolved. I know all of this will take time. He’s scared and vulnerable and not sure he can make it. All I can do is keep it a safe place to share when he is ready.
And try to find my own peace in order to sleep.