The Mighty Logo

When Anxious Nighttime Thoughts Make You Feel Alone

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

The clock turned to 00:00 when I finally decided to write down what was going on in my head.

I’ve read so many blogs.

I’ve watched so many videos.

Each one individually ringing in my head — you aren’t alone. But you are. People share these battles in different forms. But I feel alone in mine, like I’m watching theirs through a history channel marathon and I’m scraping the surface trying to find a connection.

But then the TV dies as it always does and I’m back to my own thoughts.

I’ve started having out-of-body conscious experiences that feel nearly existential. I’m watching myself, somehow judging externally while simultaneously fidgeting internally. This only happens when I feel exceptionally alone.

I’ve just returned from a friends, how can I already feel lonely? I ask myself as I stare at the mirror watching my eyes become sunken and tired as the day sinks in.

Moments like these are the most terrifying. My tinnitus flares pulsing in one ear and screaming in the other. It’s almost like the two halves of my brain are commencing civil war.

All I want in life is to feel happy. Truly happy. I’ve felt joy and moments of bliss. But that pure form of happiness is foreign to me.

I have proclaimed myself as my own worst enemy for that. I punish myself more than anyone else ever could. My parents haven’t had to in years, because they know I’m the hardest on myself. Even when I royally mess up, they are ready to catch me, but my head tells me to dodge, as to lift my stomach and bite the bullet, so to speak.

After these thoughts push through my head as I change and wash my face, a new demon comes to play.

I look in the mirror at my “fresh” face and the cycle begins.

My pores are huge. Has my skin always been this dry? My eye bags are so noticeable. Do people stare? Do they think I’m tired? Or worse, that I’m hungover at work? I haven’t been drunk in weeks. What if they think I’m a bad worker. I am a bad worker. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m new and an intern but there’s others smarter than me out there. I bet they wish they hired someone else. I’m failing at this. I want to work in this field but I don’t deserve it. I’m useless. Why did I think I could do this. My team even hates me. I’m not enough for anyone. I’ll never be enough. I did my best at work and in my sport but they don’t care about me. Why would they care about me. I’m not the best. I know someone is better at this than me. My team wants me gone. They think it’ll be better without me. They don’t care that they upset me the other day. Maybe it’s my fault. It’s always my fault. I f****d it. I f****d it all up. Why did I bother? I’m a bad teammate. I’m a bad worker. I’m a bad person.

These are my nighttime thoughts.

They’re worse than my nightmares, because I can’t wake up.

Now we grab and squeeze the dear life out of the silver lining as we chase the sunrise like a reset button on the center of my amygdala.

It isn’t until I see the faces of my housemates, my friends, my boyfriend or my family until I can feel fully revitalized. The nightmares wash away with their presence, lurking just beyond the shadows as light overthrows the balance.

We fight this dark together, I know there are those similar to me and I feel strength in their ability to overcome. Thank you to everyone with the courage to share your darkest moments and the “encourage-ers” with their achievements.

May we all stay mighty.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via demaerre

Originally published: October 20, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home