Have you ever been afraid to go to sleep? I don’t mean afraid of ghosts or the boogey man or afraid of the dark, but afraid that if you do fall asleep, you won’t wake up? So you fight sleep as you lie awake in bed.
Recently, I’ve sometimes been afraid to fall asleep. No, I don’t mean that I’m afraid of the dark—although sometimes the dark can be pretty scary—or that I’m afraid someone is about to break into the house. What I mean is that I get these strange thoughts that I’ll stop breathing or that I’ll have a heart attack or some other health related issue like that will strike. Don’t ask me why. I think it is a combination of things actually.
First, I’m not a twenty-year old strapping young lad anymore. Second, I know that I don’t get the exercise that I used to get or that I need to get. I mean well, but for some reason the clock moves incredibly fast and I run out of time…and exercising tends to not be at the top of my list of things to do. Third, my kids are growing far too fast and I’m able to remember much of my own life at their age. A few years ago it wasn’t an issue because I really don’t remember being four. I do remember being fourteen! Further, it wasn’t that long ago!
BJ’s mom had a stroke when she was about my age. She lost partial use of one side of her body and she lost the ability to speak. Most of you that know me know that “talking” is something I’m inclined to do a lot of. There have been times when I’ve had a headache at night that I actually spoke aloud to see if I could still form words.
I don’t like that feeling, either, the one of being afraid of falling asleep.
It’s not that I’m afraid to die, either. I’m not afraid. No, I’m not saying I want to die now! I’m just saying I’m not afraid, not for me, anyway. I’m more worried about my family and what would happen to them after.
But I think that fear—some fear—is a pretty natural thing. Some people are afraid of heights; some of spiders; some of tight spaces. I even have a bit of claustrophobia myself. I don’t like getting on elevators. Let me rephrase. I don’t like getting on elevators by myself. If someone else gets on, I’m okay. Why? I dunno.
Maybe it’s just fear itself that I’m afraid of.
But every time I go that direction I’m reminded of the words of FDR: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
But sometimes, fear is kinda scary.