Never underestimate the power and value of sleep.
I have always placed importance on sleep. Right throughout my life. I cherish my ability to be able to fall asleep quite readily until I can’t.
In my late teenage years I would lie in bed waiting for sleep to come. It always came later than my bedtime. It infuriated me. At the time I didn’t recognise it as insomnia. I didn’t realise that my time clock was functioning a couple of hours behind. This is normal for teenagers. Again I didn’t know this at the time. I didn’t really think about turning on the light to read in the space between awake and sleep. During those years I had turned my back on reading, I was more interested in drinking and trying to fit in. Luckily I found my way back to books a few years later. And sleep came as easily as it did before.
Now I again treasure books and surround myself with them as if my life depends on them.
The other time I couldn’t sleep was right after giving up alcohol. I would lie awake and wish for sleep to come. Sometimes it never came. I kept saying to myself to be patient. Close your eyes. Sleep will come. But it didn’t. I must have gotten some winks because I woke up exhausted and wreaked. Becoming sober was difficult because I lost so much sleep. I had bad insomnia. I didn’t get dry horrors. I didn’t suffer from hallucinations. I didn’t really crave alcohol too much. I was tired of drinking and I could see an early unnecessary death at my lack of ‘stop’ when drinking. It must have been about 3-4 months before my sleep got back to normal. It was a tug of war between is it worth giving up drinking to feel so wretched with the lack of sleep. I persevered and kept believing in it will get better, sleep will come back. Thank God it did. I do not think light of my ability to sleep well. It is a habit practised everyday. It is something to be looked forward to and enjoyed. Sometimes we get less than we need. We adjust and make time to get to bed earlier. To make sleep a priority.
Sleep. Invest in a comfortable bed. Good sheets and blankets, duvets that you can afford. You will spend a third of your life in bed. So it should be enjoyable. A good night’s sleep gives you the strength to face the next day. It revives. It restores. It allows our body and mind to rest. Although they don’t seem to rest at all. The body is forever mending itself. The brain is dreaming. Most of which we never remember and can’t make head nor tail of it. Regardless sleep is important.
I am thankful I have a roof over my head. A warm bed. There is no war or violence that prevents me from waking up at any sudden sound of danger. I am grateful for the softness of the sheets. The more you wash them the softer they become. The rituals the cats perform before sleeping is as peaceful as can be. The mandatory circling. The mandatory licking and preening. The stretching and the final position chosen. Sleep achieved. They don’t overthink, they no longer worry about their next meal, they feel safe. They are home.
Our rescue kittens have transformed into relaxed cats. Sure they run and hide with the occasional stranger in the house. They growl at cars from the windowsills. They dash in the opposite direction at the sound of an engine when outside. For that I am glad. Protection from cars is instinct.
I watch them sleep. It brings me joy. With the cast on my leg I seem to go to the loo more often at night. And with that, the movement of the duvet, the light turned on, the sound of the knee scooter making its way to the bathroom. One cat has dutifully woken up and accompanied me each and every time. Her care for me just warms my heart. Lately she comes sometimes. I put that down to the fact that she believes she can trust me to be alone on the loo. She believes the bone to be healed. She believes that I am okay.
Watching them sleep, one curled up into a ball, neat and tidy, tail encircling the body, the other one sprawled out, underbelly showing, untidy and relaxed as cat-possible, as I said it brings me joy. They no longer bother to wake if I roll over, or adjust the pillows under my leg. They carry on sleeping. They feel safe. They feel protected. They feel loved. They are content. They have a home. That is all.
This vignette with the cats was so tender and heartwarming. Cats fascinate me because the stray ones seem to come around here whenever I’m having major emotional shifts.
“She believes the bone to be healed. She believes that I am okay.”
I think she is psychic. :))
So lovely, the home you’ve given them, and the sense of home they’ve given you. ❤︎ Few things cuter than sleeping cats. 😽
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Thank you. Just love our cats.
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A) I’m so sorry you had a rough time with sleep when you first got sober. Boy that must have been super hard. I also cherish sleep, and had a rough time years ago in grad school, and am grateful that sleep didn’t get knocked around when I quit alcohol. B) thank you so much for the kitty stories. I can picture every motion. I had a cat for 24 years (also a rescue kitten though I don’t think she ever went without meals cuz was tiny with mom when found) (passed away in July and I’m still so sad) and know the sleep rituals and caretaking of human so so well. I love the sense of safety and home you read in them (quite appropriately), and I’m going to borrow this imagery for that soft small thing in myself who is still learning to accept its fuzziness and to feel (be?) safe. Yes, be. It wasn’t when my drinking was proceeding, and is slowly learning now that the alcohol has been removed. Good luck with the leg! Glad your cats are taking care of you 🙂
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24 years for a cat is amazing. Sorry to hear she passed away. My cats are brother and sister and when I fostered them they were underweight. The brother kept stealing his sister’s food. She now no longer feels the uncertainty of where her next meal is coming from. She always looked worried and now she looks confident and happy.
Insomnia wasn’t fun. I made it through.
Imagery is so powerful and borrow away. Hope it helps. Nice idea.
Cannot wait to be able to walk again. My appreciation for things I took for granted is enormous.