I started this post about two months ago and I have no idea why I didn’t just finish it and publish it, but here it is.
I haven’t written about night anxiety for awhile because I hadn’t needed to. I’d somehow been enjoying a lovely break from it since Elizabeth’s birth. But that came to a crashing halt when our next door neighbor had her house broken into! I am happy to say that no one was hurt but many things were stolen. Expensive electronics and a dirt bike were the most valuable, I believe. The crazy part is that my son, Joshua, and I saw one of the guys and the getaway car because they broke in at about noon on a Thursday! But we’d had no idea what we were seeing at the time; we just thought that he was there to visit, not that my neighbor was at work, her son was at school and the guy was, in fact, a burglar!!
So, they got home that afternoon to find that they’d been robbed and Joshua’s friend comes running over to our house crying (mind you, he’s thirteen and doesn’t routinely cry, so it broke my heart) and asks if we saw anything. I felt SO bad! Yeah, we’d seen. We didn’t know. :( I had to talk to the police officer who came to make the report. I had to fill out a witness form, describing what I’d seen. It was all I could think about for a few days, at least. And it gave me major anxiety. Because it made me scared that it would happen again. It reminded me that burglaries DO actually happen. Of course, a daytime robbery is a lot less scary (in my mind, at least) than one occurring at night in the dark, but someone entering your home with “bad” intentions is still scary, no matter the time.
I had terrible trouble sleeping. If I woke for any reason, I would lie there listening to see if I could hear movement. Was someone outside? Was someone in our house? :( It was awful. And it went on for a few weeks. But then I decided I’d try to do something about it. I didn’t want to feel helpless and scared anymore.
First, I moved my bed. It has been near the window in my room since just after we moved a year and a half ago. This, alone, is enough to make me feel uneasy at night. Is someone walking past? Looking in? Ugh! So, I moved it. Best thing I could have done! It helped so much just to be away from that window.
And second, I asked Stephen to leave the light on in the living room when he leaves for work. When I wake up in the early morning to feed Elizabeth, and I see it completely dark in the main part of the house, it makes me 1) aware that he’s gone (he doesn’t go in to work at the same time every morning), and 2) anxious that I will have to walk out into the dark to turn on a light when I get up. This change, too, has had extremely positive results! I am able to go back to sleep easily almost every time now. ^_^
The two changes combined have…changed everything.