I am a glass-half-full kind of a woman. I am an eternal optimist. I look on the bright side. I can always see the silver lining. I can reframe just about any situation in which I find myself. And I can laugh and cry at the same time with alacrity.
I have not slept in over a month. I have spent night after sleepless night in an agonized state of desperately itchy, prickly and painfully sore skin. And during the day I have felt as if scratchy burrs were attached to the insides of all of my clothing.
My eczema flare has, quite literally, brought me to my knees.
Sleep deprivation is akin to torture. It is brutally hard to function on not enough sleep. I have been short with my kids, impatient with Simon, and frustrated with the lack of energy and drive that typifies a sleep-deprived body. And every exhausting and frustrating day has been hemmed in by skin that has felt virtually impossible to live in. Being desperately itchy 24 hours a day is its own unique brand of torment.
In short, I have been feeling absolutely wretched.
I have been afraid to admit, even to myself, that I have been struggling. My determined focus on positivity has felt like a shield. And it seemed that to let that shield drop would only invite deeper vulnerability. I have been afraid to admit that I have hit rock-bottom because perhaps it would take me down even further. I have felt myself clinging to my last shred of positivity like a shipwrecked sailor to a tiny life raft.
I know it all sounds pretty dramatic but that is how low things have been feeling for me. And it is characteristic of the dangerous downward spiral of too many nights without sleep.
I slept last night. I closed my eyes at 11:00pm and did not awaken until 5:45 this morning. I did not itch desperately all night long. I did not need drugs during the night to help me hobble a few hours of sleep together. And I was not playing Solitaire on my iPad at 1:30am for hours on end to pass the long night alone.
I just closed my eyes and I slept.
And, today, I am changed. All it took was one night of uninterrupted sleep to change my entire perspective. The kids are back at school, the family is returning to its routine and I can live in this body again.
When life is normal and sleep comes naturally, it is easy to take for granted the gift of sleep. Tonight, however, I will take nothing for granted. Not the welcome feel of warm flannel on a cold winter night, not the tenderly healing skin inside my PJs, and not the simple bliss of slipping effortlessly into sleep.