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Mental Health Track 013

A good night’s sleep, I think. It certainly feels like one of those nights when I have fallen asleep and remained frozen in place for hours. It’s left me feeling vaguely stunned and as if I haven’t flexed my spine in seven or eight hours. My eyes still feel tired though, and I don’t know if this is not quite enough sleep, a little too much or simply a different quality of sleep from what I’ve had before. My assessment of whether I’ve had a good night’s sleep is completely dominating my idea of how I feel. They aren’t the same thing, but I suppose I’m so focused on its importance that it’s bumping other things out of the way; I imagine that’s OK for a while. One of the nice things about being awake early-ish and getting a little writing done is that I’m often joined by our littlest cat, Pixie, who likes to audit the world from a higher vantage point while snuggled in her window nest. This feels like a thing we do together.

I did acquire some additional bits of technology to assist in my sleep improvement, because even if they don’t work, retail therapy is soothing. First a pair of Loop quiet earplugs. I have some of their general background sound dampening earplugs which are pretty great on a train for filtering out the mechanical and chatter noises that otherwise surround you. But those are made of metal (plus silicone ear tip part of course) and really very uncomfortable to sleep on, and not as good at cutting all the sound out. These are entirely silicone and seem to both sit comfortably and block an awful lot out. That offered potential complications for the second acquisition – a Bluetooth sleep mask (this one, in fact). One of my friends has been swearing by hers, and since my preferred white noise audiobath seems to provoke a degree of anxiety in my partner, making it a private wind-down might be a good idea. These have excellent eye coverage – a lot like pulling a very thick snood down over my eyes – so blocked out all traces of light. They have very thin speakers which I had to shove around to put directly over my ears. As an habitual side-sleeper I was a bit worried about the disc-shaped speakers jabbing the earplugs right into my ear, but it was all fine. I have to put the white noise on rather louder than I would normally because of the earplugs of course. I like to wake up to white noise too, so set that up pretty high. I then woke up ten minutes before my alarm because I thought I could hear music. I blame dreams. But on dozing off again, it actually did work! I imagine that the near-total sound and light deprivation could make one’s brain do fun hallucinatory stuff, especially since I couldn’t really hear my tinnitus either. An interesting experience. Tonight breaks some of the routines, because we’re catching a rare showing of Aliens at the cinema so we’ll be getting home at a weird hour. Now I have routines plus tools. There is no stopping us/me/I.

Fun dream with very little detail from last night: my siblings and I are joining a skiing/hunting party, presumably somewhere in Sweden where everyone speaks perfect English and only the children have an accent of any kind. The ski group is made up of either older and serious looking men, and young kids. There is a lot of discussion of appropriate footwear, and the trip begins with us all trekking through the snowy woods of a city-centre park. There is no evidence of either skis or rifles for anyone in the party, even though it’s all anyone talks about. We stop briefly at a huge Tesco, whose ceilings are so high they’re lost in mist. My brother and sister and I amble about happily, gathering items for an entirely different occasion, in which it seems like we’re going to spend most of a weekend absolutely shit-faced, thus much of the shopping is to be made up of snacks and toys. We dawdle at the checkout as each of us finds yet one more thing we must buy, even as the rest of the skiing party departs the supermarket. I race to catch up, and spot the last of them turning a corner up the hill. Impatiently I go back for my siblings and urge them onwards. There’s definitely no snow at all now and we walk up the hill and down a gravel drive towards what looks like a wooden cabin you might find out in the wilderness, but made of concrete and sunk into the ground like a bunker. There is a short flight of grey stairs leading down to double doors, guarded by a child. Older teenagers loiter on either side of the steps, but pay no attention to us. The child guard demands answers of me before he’ll let us in. This is what happens when you get separated from the main party. All the questions are easily answered until he seeks to establish that we know where we are. He’s bewildered and frustrated when we can’t give him any road names – we’ve only just got here and this is an unfamiliar city – the best I can offer is that I know how to get back to the Tesco we’ve just left. “Can you even ski?” he asks sceptically. I shrug and say “sure”, thinking confidently of the literally one time I’ve ever worn skis. It’s good enough and a big man emerges from behind the kid to lead us all down into the building.

So that wasn’t particularly disturbing, and it was nice to hang out with my brother and sister in a dream setting, even one so very mundane as a supermarket.

Mental Health Track

A purposeful daily attempt to track how I feel and what I’m doing.

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