I've been in a weird space lately that I only seem to visit at night. I've been taking necessary sleep medications for about the last three years. I’m already taking several medications for various mental and physical reasons, so I hate that I must add these to the regimen. It’s a pride thing that bugs me out because I can't do what seems to be even the most natural of things by myself. Also, before you jump on a natural remedy high-horse, yes, I've tried it all. Yes, that one too.
Over the last month and a half my sleeping aides seem to be broken as I lie for hours at night staring at the ceiling fan. Tried having the TV and music off and on. Even took MORE than my prescribed dosage. Tired as hell, still no sleep. In those moments, I started having extreme anxiety, but too anxious to reach out to people who are up during those ungodly hours. My daytime mind knows they are there and care. However, my nighttime mind is like, "Ain't nobody tryna be bothered.” So, I continue to stay up late as fuck and suffer like shit at work the next day because of being exhausted and sad. Wash, rinse, repeat. Hi.
I don't know if the insomnia is because of the anxiety or if the anxiety is causing the insomnia. Chicken. Egg. Which one of those fools was first? I don't even care about the WHY and HOW at this point. I just want to sleep so I send texts to myself when the nighttime inconsolable anxiety begins. I send these texts under the guise that they will make great poems. The latest one said:
"I don't want anyone to cry when I die.
I want you to cry with me today.
While I'm here.
While I'm sad.
While I'm feeling alone.
I could use the company."
Yes, don't worry, I will discuss all of this with my psychiatrist. Unfortunately, the way healthcare access is set up, I can't get an appointment for another couple of weeks. Good times. All this rambling to say, mental health is not anything to laugh at. It is to be taken seriously, never to be minimized. This is just a snapshot of the inner workings of my mind and probably the least scary or jumbled of the thoughts I have daily. Also, having the space to discuss and express these feelings, instead of stuffing it deep down left to explode, is why mental health awareness matters so much to me. I'll keep writing and advocating for it until every space is a safe space. I deserve that. We deserve that.
Alise Leslie is a poet, author, blogger, spoken-word artist, and mental health advocate currently residing in Durham, NC. She writes at the blog, “In My Mental Mind: a black girl’s mental health journey," focusing on mental health issues, particularly for women and men of color, through essays, personal stories, poetry, and music. Alise's fiction writing has been featured on The Root. Her lipstick game is most likely better than yours.