going nocturnal again I think


when i wake up, my hands are sore. i have had it in the past with my jaw, grinding teeth through the night in phases of high stress. I wonder if I am clenching my fists while I dream, because when I make a fist in the daytime, it feels familiar and sore.

i keep picturing myself in open water, unable to swim but wearing a half-decent life vest that keeps me bobbing on the surface. The waves keep dunking me and then I rise back up. water splashes in and back out of my ears. I hate it. and then the sun is on my face for a moment, and I feel happy with the parts of my life that are warm like that (I am a full time writer now, still in love). And my head disappears again under the water. I breathe salt water fast through my nose and it burns.

something has happened this month that happened last september as well. Instead of waking up and being able to just get up, make my breakfast, open my laptop and start to think through work while I eat, I wake up and I can’t move. It takes twenty minutes, an hour. Body feels like metal, head’s fell off, eyes are slow and yeah, just the whole of me is unmoveable. if there was a fire, I wonder if adrenaline would answer, or if adrenaline is out of office like the rest of me. horrible way to wake up. I hear people describe night terrors and I wonder if this is in the same realm. practically, I have no appetite but when I start to reach the one-hour-in-bed mark, I feel dizzy even though I am lying down. I slip downstairs in slow-motion to find something (anything) to eat. And yeah, this is happening now like it did the exact same time last year – it came on like a switch had been flipped, the change is night and day. A shift to the slowwwwwest start to the day followed by stillness for hours. I don’t do much of anything because I can’t; ask for any meetings to be late afternoon or early evening and then crash as soon as they’re done … but then evening comes and like magic I realise my body is feeling less metallic. The sun goes down and my stomach feels normal. It’s completely dark and I can think. I get energy to do everything, to move and think and feel happy. The day is completely on its head. It’s midnight and I sit down at my laptop to write the book we’re working on. I write for 5 hours straight and I love what I have written. Writing feels easy in those hours, there’s no friction! it’s as if I already know what I am going to say. I enjoy the feeling of not feeling bad so I stay awake later and later. It’s 6am and I’m feeling annoyed that I should probably go to bed – I’m also feeling dread because when I wake up, the cycle will begin again. I won’t be able to move, I will feel trapped, I will feel ill, and I will spend the entire day waiting for the night when I know I’ll feel relief.

It’s so fucking weird. it’s fascinating to me. night and day, underwater and over it. A delayed sleep phase disorder that definitely scientifically exists and that is definitely happening to me as a result of covid. Last winter, I was completely nocturnal and it’s happening again / happening to me. Makes me feel like an animal, like the sun and the moon and the calendar are deciding what I do and when i do it. I don’t think I have any choice because I feel like death during the day and like myself in the night. I definitely want to be alive – I definitely want to breathe. That’s understandable, right? Jet lag brain fog living, I’m just entering my correct timezone.

So of course I am not going to want to have meetings at 2 in the afternoon when it feels like I am sending somebody else on my behalf. in the day, it’s harder to speak and problem-solve, and it’s really difficult to make decisions, which means I’m useless when it comes to literal work. I want my nighttime version to be there instead. That’s when I feel most like my old self. It’s a shame that nobody else sees me in those middle of the night hours. It’s like 2019 gab, way better than my 2022 summer-heatwave POTS-wrecked heart and head – it’s who I wish I could still be. Last winter, being nocturnal and alone for months sent me off the deep end mentally but I’m enjoying the beginning again for all the rush of energy and freshness and life it is giving me. it feels like i am finally waking up 🌚