Have you ever been up until three AM, just because your brain wouldn’t shut up?
No matter how much I curled into a ball, snuggled into my pillow, hugged my blanket, kept my eyes tightly shut… I couldn’t sleep.
Bad and painful memories went round like gifts on a sparkly spiralling Christmas conveyor belt.
There’s a window between four and five AM where I get tired enough to sleep, but time was dragging.
Eventually I gave up. I wrapped myself up in my aforementioned blanket, and sat on the windowsill.
I regarded everything with a blank stare as my eyes adjusted.
The darkness usually triggers my anxiety, but I felt too empty to care.
After about twenty minutes of my mind circling like a vulture, pecking pieces out of my heart, it took pity on me and dropped me a tiny bone. An idea.
Count to one hundred.
Count to one hundred ten times.
That’s how I ended up sitting on my windowsill at three AM, my head spinning, my face and hair a complete mess, in my scruffiest pjama top… counting one thousand seconds underneath my breath.
I’m sure I looked mental. In every one of those counted seconds, I hated myself, so overwhelmingly much, but I was too focused on counting to attack myself.
When I’d finished, I slid off the windowsill and collapsed onto my bed.
Still not tired enough to sleep, but too spent to obsess, too tired to spiral.
I’ve come so far.
Only two years ago, that situation would have ended up with me in uncontrollable tears, outside in the cold, dragging wire across the backs of my hands and muttering words of hatred to myself – not to mention ready to end it all.
I’m proud of myself.
There, I said it. I really am.
My coping mechanisms have improved indescribably, and I don’t hate myself anymore, except in low moments.
Every second of every day is no longer spent hating myself, hating the world.
I’m not better. I doubt I ever will be.
But for once, I’m glad I decided to stay.