Update! I have Impending Doom Syndrome. I’m not sure if that’s a real thing but I am sure that I have self-diagnosed myself with it. That, plus the enormous pressure of 3 lives, 3 minds, and 3 fragile emotional well-beings on my hands
often always keeps me up at night. It came to a head (yes, pun) about 5 months ago and I couldn’t take it any longer. I talked to my older sister about it and she suggested meditation. Ugh, I’ve tried that, I thought. I would lay there and tell myself not to think about my thoughts and to focus on my breath but the problem was it only made me think more about my thoughts and then I would get frustrated, scared, and bored in that order. (Plus I felt like I didn’t have any time for it, I wasn’t patient enough to reap the benefits. The funny thing is, when you are staring at the ceiling in bed at night waiting to fall asleep, you having nothing but time.) “You need guided meditation, girl. Don’t go it alone.” She was right; I needed help to stay on track, I just never thought listening to someone else talk about meditation was for me. I was desperate though so each night for a week I tried a bunch of different meditation apps and finally decided on my favorite one. It was Insight Timer mostly because it didn’t ask me to buy anything and the voices didn’t annoy me. I’m easily annoyed. 5 months later and I’m addicted. I plug in every night with my headphones and I let a stranger’s voice speak to me as I drift off into a peaceful sleep until 2am. This has never before happened to me since having kids. I would be up most of the night alone with my thoughts battling my monkey mind.
So yes, I’m still working on the 2am part, but now when I wake up with panicked thoughts I remind myself of 4 hours ago when that lady from Australia told me all I need to do is let the thought float up into the sky like a lost balloon and watch it go on by. I focus back on my breath and before I know it it’s 6am and my 2 year old is screaming “Mommy! Poopie!” and well that’s pretty much the dream over here – getting 4 straight hours on either side of 2am.
I now find myself using the meditation practice during the day in a lesser form. If I have a fearful thought like “what if my hand slips out of his and he runs into the road and I can’t get there in time before the car?” I tell the thought to float up into the sky and imagine it popping into thin air. I take a deep breath and boom, I feel better. It’s not the only crazy thought I’ll have for the day but at least I know what to do with them now. Bend and Snap. Float and Pop.
I am not here to tell you mediation is for everyone but I can attest that it’s currently working for me and taming some of my crazy thoughts. Parenting is stressful and hard and even if you are having a great day the night can turn into pure evil sometimes, can’t it? Thoughts you never knew you were capable of having creep up from the nastiest of corners. Let that shit float up and pop it. Find an app you like, throw on your headphones, and see what happens. If you are struggling with anxiety-ridden thoughts there is nothing to lose, right? Try not to judge yourself if it takes awhile to work. Float and pop. Float and pop. Maybe that stubborn balloon will come back down…just keep sending it back up then go back to your breath.
I recently started playing 8-10 minute kid-focused meditations for my own kids. I figure it’s good to start young and get those brainwaves trained early. Anxiety isn’t pretty on a 40 year old. Guided meditation has been a game-changer for me and I hope it can help you, too.
Sweet Dreams, Mama, you deserve them.
Mediation Apps. to try:
Insight Timer, Headspace, Smiling Mind, The Calm app, Tara Brach podcasts, Meditation Oasis podcast.
My Favorite Insight Timer Meditations for Sleep:
– Sweet, Deep Sleep
– Guided Meditation for Deep Sleep
– Yoga Nidra for Sleep & Relaxation
– Bedtime Healing for Adults