I have become scared to sleep.
Not because of night terrors, or nightmares.
Not because of the anxiety dreams that sometimes (though with increasing consistency, now) plague my nights.
But because sleep has begun to feel like lost time. Wasted time. Any moment where I am not at work is bliss, and to sleep feels like losing out on those precious extra minutes or hours of freedom. It gives me anxiety now, having to go to bed, and my hours have become more and more unreasonable.
I do get tired. My eyes burn, my bags growing darker and heavier, my face more gaunt and haunted. And when I finally do give in to sleep (provided the anxiety dreams don’t return and I’m not waking every couple of hours in a heart-racing panic), I am loathe to wake up because it means facing yet another day.
The weekends, too, are a struggle— a fight between my need to finally sleep in and my fear of wasting the hours that I could be spending on literally anything else that is not work. YouTube, Netflix, writing, cleaning, reading, learning… The possibilities are endless and yet by 8pm, the anxiety starts to set in, even though these days I’m not asleep till past 4am, forcing myself awake by 1 at the latest on weekends (and only ten minutes before, or up to an hour after I am due to sign on to work on weekdays. Such dedication). How is it so late already? How do I only have a few hours left?
It unsettles me, this newfound fear. Logically, I know this is not a healthy way to live, to feel. I know how important sleep is, and how by shirking it I’m only exacerbating my already tenuous hold on mental and emotional stability. But I can’t help it. To sleep is to lose free time, and I need every second of it I can get if I am to survive each work week, crawling along day by day, hour by hour.
I resent what my job has turned me into.
I resent being trapped in it.
But I am still scared to sleep.
And I don’t know what to do.