Compounding Stress

Today a lots of things happened to cause me stress; it’s manifesting physically in a pain on my left back and neck. Or maybe the pain has physical causes, and it coincides with and exacerbates my mental stress. Either way, when these things happen, I start worrying about the inconvenience, and that compounds them.
Sometimes I have the following cycle: it may happen tonight:

1. I need to get to sleep early.
2. I worry about getting to sleep early, then this prevents me from sleeping.
3. I worry that my worry will cause me to fail to fall asleep, and this continues to happen.
4. I feel trapped in a cycle, and the feeling of being trapped makes it harder to sleep.

If I need to get up early – really need to – it’s almost a guarantee that I won’t be able to sleep the night before. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote that flying could only be achieved by throwing yourself at the ground and missing. It cannot be done through intention.

Part of it is impatience; by trying to sleep earlier, I attempt to steal a few extra minutes instead of making all my preparations, because I find the delay unacceptable. But the delay, of course, is not avoided, and will end up happen, whether or not I find it acceptable. It is, in a sense, acceptable only because it must be accepted.
There are some people for whom sleep is easy; I’m sure they have interesting lives, but it’s hard for me not to intuitively consider them boring.


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