Autofiction: Morning Horrors

Panic FlowerThe Ghastly Future

There’s something about the morning that just feels rich with the potential for horror. For a start I don’t like the morning. It seems an unnecessary part of the day that, given a choice, I will usually skip. It’s perfectly normal for us to wake up at eleven or so over the weekend. It feels better. I know there’s a slice of the day where no one is around very early on, but I’d rather experience that same peace at say, two in the morning. I certainly perk up again in the evening, or quite late at night. It’s a kind of alertness that I rarely experience before the sun’s at its zenith.
As far as I can recall I’ve always been a night owl rather than an, well I don’t know – morning pigeon? Bloody things hooing down our chimney. I’m grateful for sleeping tablets to shade out that sort of distraction to an irrelevance. As a very small child I was apparently quite prepared to sleep through the night. I never saw that much Saturday morning TV either, and despite the rosy-hued nostalgia they were probably fairly awful. It also means that Operation Yewtree isn’t haunting my memories of childhood as badly. There’s nothing that happens in the morning that couldn’t just as well take place in the afternoon or night. I used to endlessly reset my alarm in the mornings and after showering would huddle in a comatose heap next to a radiator. Thinking about it I had the same problem with swimming, but maybe that was the sheer exhaustion of the activity followed by being suddenly cold and then hot again. It’s a transition that I still despise – again, I can see no good reason why it can’t be pleasantly cool all the time. Bleedin’ world.

Sleep and Drugs and Belly-Aches

Maybe it’s that my mind gets neatly closed up by amitriptyline in the evening, so that even if I go to bed with that unsettled internal sensation of tension it’s only a few minutes until I’m asleep, but when I wake up it can come rushing back. I think it’s the prospect of the future – night and sleep are an end (in my mind); conclusions to the day with no prospect of further waking. I’ve always liked the idea of simply dying in my sleep – slipping from one state of non-existence into another. Before taking the delightful drugs I was plagued for years by awful sleep and heavily involving semi-lucid dreams; I’m grateful to be presently spared those exhausting experiences. It’s possible then that the waking is the awful part that I dreaded most after an abysmal night’s sleep – all that potential for refreshment and rest is now gone and we’re cruelly injected into another endless day.
Of late I’m waking with a gnarl of tension in my belly that I recognise as a vague but very real concern about future events. They don’t need to be serious prospects or problematic ones to generate that tension. It’s something I’ve never managed to resolve. For a long time I wasn’t able to distinguish that sensation from hunger, which seems weird now. Maybe eating can be sufficiently engaging to distract the mind from other worries. Not a good road to go down though. It makes the day hard to look forwards to. If I have responsibilities, places to be – fun, nightmarish or mundane – they all generate that same sense of boding tension. Eventually routine activities do become anxiety free, but I don’t know how to cleanse myself of that. For example, next week I’m going to a five day residential improv course – that’s good right? Nonetheless it’s burning a hole inside me that won’t be assuaged until at least the third train transfer on the way, and probably not until I’m arranging junk in my room. It makes it very difficult to want to do new things or to go to different places.

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