I lay my head down as I cover my body with the warmth of our doona, but before I do, a quick goodnight kiss and the mutterings of I love you. As his breathing changes, and his body spasms into deep relaxation, I know sleep has come to him. I sneak quietly out of bed and turn off the television, something he needs to go to sleep but hampers mine, no matter though, it’s always taken me longer to join him in the land of nod. I roll to my right side, just like I always do, my body facing away from his, and his away from mine. The rain gently hits to roof of our home, and it begins to lull me to sleep, sleep I so desperately want.
As I rest equally between the here and now, and the unconscious, my stomach muscles tense and my limbs become awash with a tingling feeling, I am jolted awake. I move position on to my stomach, just as I always do when I have trouble nodding off and again sleep calls. Just as it did before, my body tenses and the same feeling washes over me. I notice my breathing has changed, it is much shallower than it should be and my heart pounds. I try for sleep again, to no avail, and it’s then that the realisation hits, I’m having my first ever panic attack during the night, during my sleep.
For me the feeling is much different to my normal panic attacks, the ones that happen in the day, if there is in fact anything normal about them. The panic has not visited since well before Ragamuffin was born, which I find hilarious and quite ironic considering the stress and pressure that motherhood can bring. But with a newborn, my panic dissipates, washes away and doesn’t visit for quite some time. But it has visited me now, in a different capacity and one in which I didn’t expect, nor can put my finger on as to why.
She joined me randomly on Christmas Eve when the guests had left, the children were asleep and Santa had done his job, and luckily for me, she hasn’t returned again until a month ago. Since then, she has paid a visit almost weekly, as if motherhood and part-time work wasn’t tiring enough, I’ve had to deal with her and the lack of sleep she brings. More puzzling for me is why, why now after all these years has she manifested in a different way, what is going on in my life that she feels that need to be called on? And how do I deal with her in the darkness as opposed to the light of day?
For now I don’t have the answers, and I’m not scared when I turn the lights off wondering whether she will jolt me awake again or just leave me be. On the nights she does join me, Hubby holds me closer, even though he never has or probably will understand the panic and why she torments me, he knows how to help keep her at bay. I wait her out, and try not to over think, and reveal in the fact that I will eventually win the fight and fall ever so deeply into slumber.