What My Night Brain Knows To Be True

Hand-Writing-Notebook Photo: Alanna Bagladi

Last week, I woke up in the middle of the night and knew it would be a while before I could fall back asleep, so I decided to be productive. I guess I was also feeling particularly gutsy because I proceeded to write page after page about my mental health until I fell back asleep.

I covered pretty much everything: from how I felt when I first noticed something might be going on a little over ten years ago to how things changed as I entered different phases of my life and explained (as best I could while half-asleep) how things have been going recently.

When I sat down the next day to type everything up and try to turn it into an actual essay, I realized there wasn’t a chance that I would ever actually send it through.

I’ve written about really personal things that have greatly impacted my life before, but there are a few subjects that I think I’ll be drafting and deleting ad nauseam until I stop writing or have kids or die or something — my brain is definitely one of them.

It’s not that what I wrote was nonsense or embarrassing, I just feel very unsure of how real it all is. I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I know my feelings are valid, I just don’t know what they mean.

I’m sure I could benefit from whatever follows acknowledging that something might be a little funky, but I don’t trust myself enough to see what would happen. I mean, I’m fine. I do all the things I have to do. I feel good a lot of the time and I take care of myself and my relationships with people I care about. I’m better than I’ve ever been. Why ruin a good thing, you know?

What if I tried to talk about it only to learn that this is just what being a person feels like? What would that say about me and how I think about myself? Am I really selfish and ignorant enough to think that this is what people with actual problems feel like? Or what if something really is wrong and could be alleviated if I’d just open my dumb mouth and talk about it seriously for once?

A few weeks ago, I accidentally met a girl online who I really admire. It’s a sort of friend of a friend of a friend situation, but I find myself relating to the things she posts so much that I have to pause before I ‘like’ something to make sure I’m not overdoing it to the point of creepiness.

She uses social media as a platform for expressing her feelings, and not just a few of them. She seems to work her way through situations she finds herself in by sharing her thoughts in real time, no matter how personal or unflattering or downright scary. She is braver than I could ever hope to be.

I think reading the things she shares is what finally brought me to sort everything out and write it down. Even though I did it in a 3am haze and even though it’s gone now, I feel proud of myself for doing it. I feel proud of myself for reading through it all and letting it sit on my computer screen for long enough to give some level of credence to what my night brain knows to be true.

I don’t know if I’ll end up writing it again and I don’t know what I’ll do with it if I do, but I feel a little better and a little braver than I did before — and it feels important.

Madelaine Walker : Anthropology enthusiast, bookworm & couch potato. In search of a life I’ll be proud to recount in old age. New Motto: Do no harm, but take no shit.
Madelaine Walker : Anthropology enthusiast, bookworm & couch potato. In search of a life I’ll be proud to recount in old age. New Motto: Do no harm, but take no shit.
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