Insomnia is horrible. I hear all about how awful it is from my sister, Scarlett. She has been diagnosed with insomnia and some nights she does not sleep at all, or she may fall asleep at 10 pm and is wide awake by midnight. Or she might be up until 6 am and sleep until 2 pm. Her sleep schedule is never consistent, she is always tired, but can never fall asleep or stay asleep when she actually wants to.
I have had my fair share of nights where I struggle to fall asleep. I feel like most people have that every once in a while. I usually just pour myself some chamomile tea and then after maybe an hour or two, I am fast asleep. Even more rarely, I have had times where I was tossing and turning until 3 am before I fell asleep. However, until the other night, I have never had a night where I literally could not sleep a wink.
A couple nights ago, Matthew and I went to bed at around midnight. Earlier that night, someone very close to me said something that hurt my feelings. It shocked me and I could not stop thinking about it. As I laid in bed, the words that that person had said were still in the forefront on my mind. I could not sleep due to that one comment. It wasn’t even a very hurtful comment, it was just the way it was said and how the person acted towards me that day. But since I have severe social anxiety and I am such a people pleaser, I blew that comment way out of proportion, took it so personally, and literally could not sleep because of it.
I began thinking: What if I deserve this? What if this person hates me now? Is this the end of our friendship? Do all of their friends hate me too? Will I lose all of my friends now?
Then those thoughts progressed into me beating myself up for being so shy. I thought: I’d have more friends if I just talked. People would like me more. Why am I like this?
I was still awake in bed, my mind riddled with anxiety, until 3 am. That’s when I decided to get up and make myself some chamomile tea. That stuff usually knocks me out. But then I made a fatal mistake: I got on social media.
I’m usually pretty good about social media. I unfollow those who make me feel less than I am. And I truly do love my life and everything I have, so seeing what others have doesn’t make me jealous or upset… usually. This time, however, with me already beating myself up, and my mind filled with these negative thoughts, I was comparing myself to everyone I saw. I would compare my pictures to others’. My life to others’. I began thinking: I should post something that makes me look better than those people. I wanted to post about my new car and share all of its details. I wanted to show it off. But I knew I would regret that later. I like being “real” on social media. I hate “showing off”. Which is why I instead posted a picture of me and Pappi on our little front porch in front of our dirty muddy house. I needed to humble myself. And to remind myself that I absolutely love my life, mud and all!
However, I didn’t have that moment of clarity until the morning. So all night I was battling with comparing myself to others, beating myself up, fighting anxiety, and just trying to sleep. It was about 4 am when I began to cry. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t stop the thoughts. I went into the front room so that I wouldn’t wake Matthew up. Pappi woke up, followed me out to the room, and put his head in my lap. So I got on the floor and Pappi snuggled up against me. I just laid there and cried with Pappi by my side.
At 5 am, I was contemplating doing something productive, like laundry. But I was too stubborn and decided to keep trying to fall asleep instead. I was still having those intrusive thoughts, but instead of them making me sad, they just made me angry. Eventually, I did what I should have done from the very beginning. I prayed. I asked God to humble my heart. I asked Him to give me the strength to just trust in Him. He made me the way I am for a reason, and He loves me with all my flaws.
After praying, I truly felt better. I woke Matthew up at 7 am, told him about my night, and he just held me in his arms until I fell asleep. Then we both slept until 12:30 pm. We had originally planned on celebrating Valentine’s Day that day, because I work on the actual holiday, but he told me he’d be happy to reschedule and just have a chill day with me since I had had such a rough night.
Then later that day, I posted the picture of me and Pappi. Because I was reminded of how much I love my life, my house, my husband, my dog, and my family and friends. And most importantly, I love my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I am blessed by the best and wouldn’t want my life any other way.
It is OK to feel sad every now and then. It is not natural to feel happy all the time. Obviously it is not natural to feel sad all the time either. There needs to be balance. If I had nights like the night I had just described more frequently, then I would probably be seeking help. But it is a decently rare occurrence and it’s OK if you go through nights like that every once in a while. I felt so good after that night. I let go of things I had been holding in for a while and truly felt relieved afterwards. Ultimately, I should have prayed immediately once I started having those intrusive thoughts, but it’s hard to think about God when you’re already in such a negative place. Praying was definitely the turning point in my night and helped me to let go of the negativity that I was holding onto.
I am very happy now. I am usually happy. Like I said, what happened last night does not happen regularly. But I just wanted to shed some light into what it can be like for those who struggle with severe anxiety and people pleasing. If you have nights like that regularly, please tell someone, seek help and comfort. It is not OK to go through that all the time and you deserve so much more.
Thank you for reading my story, and again, I hope I was able to spread some knowledge on what it’s like for people with very bad anxiety.