Makes the heart pound faster

I awoke at 4am again. I would have looked at the ceiling, but I’ve learned that’s a poor choice. I contented myself with a side-eye peek at the clock in confirmation.

My body is running an experiment that my conscious mind did not sign up for. Which comes first, the racing heartbeat or the anxious thoughts? More accurately for the current version of the project: Will the racing heartbeat generate the anxious thoughts?

After two weeks of data collection, I say the answer is: yes.

I have a history of sleep troubles, going back about a decade. They’ve been a big deal for me. I am a lifelong sleep-lover; I was That Kid at slumber parties. However, hormone supplements and further aging–plus changes in circumstance–had gotten me back to consistent, reliable, sufficient sleep again. Until two weeks ago, when I apparently reduced my hormones by two beads too much.

The sweats I started with are well-managed now. The issue remaining is to stay submerged under the surface of awakeness, and how to handle popping up.

My new normal includes rousing (so not a part of my prior sleep life!), but I’ve learned that I’m not, at that point, awake. It’s almost a “huh?” of not-asleepness, that if ignored turns promptly back into sleep. Within sight of the surface, but not above the waterline.

Lately, though, it’s been a full ‘pop.’ A feeling of awakeness like when one’s head and shoulders break the surface after standing on the bottom of the deep end of the pool. I sink back down, but my metaphorical eyes remain above the waterline.

My brain remains above the waterline. And it keeps noticing my heartbeat is a little rapid. Not a sleepy beat, though my literal eyes stay closed in encouragement.

We wait. My brain these days is much less inclined to spring immediately to action…due to training, I hope, but likely also to an absence of material. But we do not sink.

In the waiting and the speed of the heartbeat, my brain starts to rummage for things that could account for it. Questions to ask about a class I’ll be teaching! …in two weeks from Saturday. Items to put away in the morning! …ones that stand out in my child-free, mostly tidy house. Phone calls to make! I hate making phone calls…but not to that extent, not ones to businesses. Even as my brain begins to rev I see this as make-work. But make-work that functions exactly the way the former real-work did; it takes a flashlight and a book to banish the thoughts and submerge again.

I seem to be built to race, regardless of external circumstance. I suspect there’s something larger to understand here…

but I don’t know what that is today.

(title h/t to “The National Association of W Lovers“)

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