Thoughts in the Night
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
The night is supposed to be a time of peaceful tranquility. A time to momentarily remove yourself from the stress of a full day’s work, and to rejuvenate for the day ahead. The night is a time to regain strength so that when you wake you have the physical and mental capacity to think clearly with the confidence and precision to tackle the obstacles challenging you from attaining what you want in your life.
It is very seldom that I am able to enjoy such a night. When I turn the lights off, I throw the covers over my body, I am only able to embrace the silence for a brief moment or two, before the voice in my head begins to call for my undivided attention. The voice is my siren, and while I have the wisdom to know that listening to this voice will lead to my demise, I cannot help but sail straight towards it, and before long I am drowning in thoughts and visions of my present circumstance, the pain of my past, my desires and the hopeless feeling that my desires in life will forever be that and never a tangible reality.
The metaphor of drowning is not just a metaphor, but the actual feeling I experience while my thoughts take hold of me. I feel my body become tense, a weight falling upon me, pressing me down. My nostrils widen in an attempt to take in air to carry to my lungs, my head pounds as my chest heaves up and down in a state of panic. Within moments my heart painfully sinks. As I feel my heart become fragile, I take my hand and pound on it, not in an attempt to revive it, but in hopes that the intensity of the blow will cause it to give up just as my mind and soul has given up on myself.
What are these thoughts that enter into my head? The thoughts range from insignificant life events to suppressed emotions. As small as an embarrassing and regretful action in my adolescent years, a moment that I myself would think normal behavior of a child, but for me somehow is intensely scrutinized as though my youthful self should have had the mind of my current self. These thoughts wonder and lead to the abuse in my life. The vulgar personalized words joking tossed at me from age ten to twenty-seven by my brother who is ten years my senior. “Fagot.” “Fat fuck.” “Retard.” “Fat bastard.” The physical blows of his fists, that left bruises on my torso and legs. Me laughing it off, wanting to somehow be close to my brother, regardless of his treatment of me. These scenes flash through my head, with images of my father laughing along. Then back further to the tragic scenes of my father’s alcoholic past, when he had not yet sought help. My mother, in a deep state of depression over the loss of my brother, unable to handle her new crying son, tossing me out of the house or hitting me. Then that chaotic anxiety of pain inherited from the loss of my second eldest brother’s death, surges again and manifests itself in my own self loathing. Thoughts of what life would have been had I not been born and he lived. Then I think of the lack of personal connections in my life. The inability to become romantically close to another person as the torment and psychological abuse that affect my self esteem caused me to avoid and distance myself from looking for a partner. Someone to love. This then goes into the feeling that I will never have what I crave. Love. A family of my own. Meaning in my life.
If there is no meaning in my life or hope for one, why do I continue? I love my parents. I love my sister, my grandmother, my extended family and friends. Despite the past, they have always proven to care deeply for me. If I stop trying, it will break them. They cannot handle another tragic loss. But is this fair to me? I don’t want to continue going on. There is nothing for me. When they’re gone, what do I have? I’m just prolonging the inevitable. I will end it. My mind is made up. But when? Now my thoughts turn to when is the appropriate time to do the act. I have to wait until after my cousin’s wedding, my friend's birthday, after I get the results back on a script I’ve submitted to a contest, and so on and so on. Confident that the act of self relief will come, and with an hour or two before I must start the next day, I fall asleep.
When I wake, two things can happen. On most occasions I wake up feeling foolish for these thoughts. I think to myself that I am being overly dramatic. I suppress the night’s thoughts and emotions, and conduct my day as though these thoughts had not tormented me. On other occasions, when I wake, I just feel angry with myself. I withdraw deeper into these thoughts, outwardly projecting a positive facade for others. I continue asking myself, why am I living? Nothing is going to change, this is a vicious cycle with no end. During the day while I work, I feel a sudden urge to leave my job. Go into my car, and just drive far away. Nowhere to go. Just drive into the abyss. But I don’t. I stay where I am, and as always I continue to work.
While most nights and some days, I feel as though I am drowning and suffocating, longing to leave and be rid of my torment of daily existence, there is a part of me that I have not yet fully delved into that keeps me fighting to the surface. A will to live. A will to breathe. A faint light of hope buried deep inside of me. A power that despite my neglect and refusal to embrace it, has managed to keep me afloat. Keep me working. Keep me breathing. I don’t know why I have a hard time accepting this faith and love I have for myself, which in the midst of the chaos of my predicament and circumstances see potential and purpose. If I can understand it, if I could only accept it, and clearly see it, there is a chance for me. But I need to fight for it, just as it's been fighting for me.