Anxiety Doesn’t Sleep

The clock tells me that the time is currently 1:13 AM. My brain tells me I should sleep. My body tells me I should sleep. The fact that I have class in the morning means I should probably go to sleep. But I’d rather listen to podcasts, eat Wheaties, and play Project: Makeover. My brain doesn’t like this. At this point it’s become rather sick of this self-destructive little dance that I’ve done every night since Junior year. So my brain decides to go for the old reliable.

“Hey, John?”
“Hey, Brain. What’s up, buddy?”
“Would you mind closing your eyes for two seconds?”
“Yeah, of course I’ll close my eyes. Just to make sure, though, you aren’t trying to trick me into falling asleep, are you?”
“No, John, of course not! I would never do such a thing!”

I’ll wake up in about five hours wondering how I fell for it again. By the time I realize what’s happening, it’s far too late. I open my eyes and find myself fully-clothed and sitting at my desk. The sun is shining through the window. But I’m not wearing socks or shoes. Dream-Me never does. I’m staring at my computer and watching the cursor blink back at me. Blink. Blink. Blink. I try to write something, but my mind is as blank as the page before me. I raise my hand to shut the computer, and am shocked to find that it’s suddenly old and wrinkly. I gasp. I’m having my worst nightmare: a clichéd metaphor for never accomplishing anything! My attempt to wake up is foiled by a phone call from a friend. They’re telling me to come downstairs and we can go to the comic book store together! And how convenient! I just got a notification that The Flash comic I keep wanting them to publish came out! I run into the other room to put my shoes on, but they’re nowhere to be found. I tear the whole apartment apart in a desperate search, but come up empty.

Before I can lament the my footwear-fueled FOMO, I make the mistake of blinking. All of a sudden I’m in High School. It turns out we’re putting on another production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Everyone’s back, playing the exact same roles they did before. The stage is different though, because my mind likes to change up the scenery on me. The first song is coming to an end, and I begin to panic. I don’t remember a single line from this show. Because we did this show three fucking years ago. But my brain doesn’t care. I hear my cue and stumble onstage with fear in my eyes. I gaze out into the audience, and open my mouth to speak. But it won’t make a sound. As I stand there I can feel the Director glaring at the back of the theater. I think the dream is about to morph into something different, but my brain knows exactly how long to linger to make me think that I may not be dreaming. The other people on stage are desperate for me to say something, anything. But I don’t know what to say. It’s been at least a minute now. I can see my English teacher, who I invited to come see me, looking at her watch. I don’t know what to do! But wait! I’ve got it! I know the line! A sigh of relief makes it’s way through my body as I go to speak…

I really shouldn’t be surprised that I’m somewhere else, but I am. I’m walking down the street. Not going anywhere in particular. Not with anybody. I look to my left, and then my right. And then I start to fly. But not the way Superman flies. No, what I’m doing is running through the air. A good ten minutes later I’m having an argument with my father. Then I’m running away from some criminal I have incriminating evidence on. But after I beat the criminal, I meet a nice girl, and we fall in love. I’m finally hap-

It’s 5:30 AM. My alarm won’t go off for another two hours.

“Good morning, John!”
“Hey, Brain. It’s a bit too early. I’m gonna go back to sleep.”
“Hey, John.”
“Do you remember the Disney Channel movie Dadnapped?”
“Why are you asking me about the movie Dadnapped at 5:30 in the morning??”
“It’s a good movie, right?”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Did you make me think of the movie Dadnapped to trick me into waking up fully?”

So I get up and get ready for my day, knowing full well that the exact same thing is going to happen tonight and every night after. Because my brain is intent on making me worry about things all the time. I hope you enjoyed this insight into my insanity. I’m going to sleep now.

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