It’s 01:28 in the morning. I am wide awake. This is what happens when I feel uneasy about stuff. I spend the normal hours feeling anxious and tired and as soon as bedtime comes around, you lot are tucked up in your beds sleeping and me? I am up. Writing. Trying to not think about the things I am scared of.
So many people say to me, I am brave. I have been through a lot. I am still standing and you know what? There isn’t really much that could cause me to give up. I am either brave or stupid. But I am most definitely not strong.
Currently I am worrying about the future. Last time I was this worried was just after my marriage broke down and I discovered the kids and I were going to lose the house. This time? I am about to move back into a house that I am in control of. I should be happy. But I’m not. I am absolutely petrified of it all falling in on me. Not being able to earn enough money to pay for it all. Keeping organised. Keeping tidy. There was a time before I lost the house that I was happy living on my own. I keep reminding myself of that. But for some reason, that I don’t have, I can’t find the off switch at the moment.
So. I am left with wide awake eyes in the middle of the night.
This evening I have written an article. I decided that maybe I needed my brain to dumb down a bit so I would watch some shit TV. I started with Versailles, I enjoyed that, then made my way slowly to something I thought would send me to sleep. Coronation Street.
I haven’t watched Corrie for yonks so scrolled down through the episodes looking for something that might just numb my brain so much I conk out without even trying.
Anyway, I just watched Kylie Platt lying on the cobbles dying. She had been stabbed. David, her husband (He’s a bit of a toe rag if I remember rightly) had to go and tell the children.
It’s got me thinking. I know it’s not real. It’s all just pretend. No one died. But what I started to think about is actually, this sort of thing happens everyday to families.
My partner and I are like all of you, we argue over food in the dishwasher filter, fluff on the stairs, earbuds that have missed the bin. We get wound up over insults or how late one of us has gone out. Jesus, half the time I don’t even know what started our rows in the first place. My kids and I row over untidy bedrooms, swear words, boys, rules and with my daughter, her constant grubby fingers entering my make up bag. I swear whenever I go for my hair brush its never there. MILI!!!
All this stuff. It just kind of all seems so trivial when your brain is so worried you are genuinely crying over a soap character at 1am.
I met a lady once, in the pub – obviously – just after my life had started to fall apart. I remember crying on her shoulder as I rummaged through the mess and questioned how I was ever going to get through it all. After half an hour of my misery she said “It does get better. I know what you are going through” I looked at her comforted by her empathy “You’ve been here too?” I asked. She replied “Yes. My husband died a couple of years ago”
The rest of the conversation is irrelevant. All that matters was in that sentence I realised that honestly? What I was going through was nothing. Not compared to that. Death. The complete and utter loss of a husband. A father.
It stopped my misery train right there.
And watching Corrie this evening I have to admit to feeling a bit stupid about my worries tonight.
Life is more fragile than we care to admit. At the end of last year I was a smoker. I was fueling myself on Redbull and taking sleeping pills to scrape together a couple of hours of rest. I didn’t stop working day and night. I didn’t stop Mumming. I had more stress than I had had in my life. I was driving my car back from the school run and started to get pains. In my chest. In my jaw. I felt short of breath. Panic set in and the pains got worse as did the breathing. I pulled the car over and sat myself still for a moment.
It was a heart attack. I was convinced. Finally everything had caught up with me and this was it. No one would ever get to read my book, who would take care of the children? I’d never know what happened in the last episode of Downton Abbey, was I ever loved the way I had loved?
I suddenly became very aware that I was only alive down to this little organ pumping away in my body, an organ I hadn’t looked after at all. I became very aware for about 10 minutes that if something was going wrong then I had absolutely no control. If I was going to die. I was going to die. I started to think about the last thing I had said to the kids. It was a nag. I had told Oliver off for not having his football boots and I had been moaning at Mili for her room being an absolute horror. Had I told them I loved them? I must have. But I didn’t remember. Oh my god.
I called a friend. And as soon as I spoke to them and told them I thought I was having a heart attack, I instantly felt like an idiot. It wasn’t a heart attack it as an idiot attack. It was stress and anxiety causing a panic attack.
But. It was enough to remind me that life is a blessing and we ought to do all we can to ensure every last moment we are given.
I’m sitting here this evening. Panicking about my relationships. The future. The past. And I feel absolutely ridiculous because Coronation Street has bought me to this, what shall we call it? epiphany?
Why am I worrying about these things? What if tomorrow is the last day I get to share with my family? What if I die tomorrow worrying over a future I am not going to get to see? Or what if my partner died tomorrow and the last thing I said to him was “F**k off you idiot” Or if I lost one of the children after spending the day moaning about their noise, their untidiness?
You cannot live your life in fear that you are going to die. But likewise, you cannot live your life without respecting and treasuring each and every second of it. It’s time, and I’ll admit its unlikely I will get to sleep now, to stop worrying about the little things.
If you love someone, love them without fear.
If you want something, go after it without hesitation.
If you believe in something, don’t ever give up.
Smile more. Laugh more. Appreciate more. Be thankful you get to share your life with another human being, no matter how untidy or disorganised they are. Say more positive things than negative things. Never go to sleep on an argument. Always kiss your children goodnight. The world around you may tumble to the ground but you will be ok. It will be ok.
Because you never know when your David and Kylie moment is going to come and when it does? Don’t be left with the thought that you never really lived at all.
Morning folks. There are some happy words from an Insomniac. You’re welcome.