Have you ever had insomnia? I used to suffer from it regularly. Every night, and it was awful. I understand, down to my bones, why sleep deprivation is an instrument of torture. It sends you mad – literally.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep.
No real reason; there’s nothing bothering me (I don’t think). I hadn’t drunk tea or coffee since the morning. I’d had a great exercise session all morning – climbing for the first time in months. Then round to my mum and dad’s for tea. Then home and in bed by 9pm, because I was tired.
But could I sleep?
Nope. Not a sausage. I read for an hour as usual, then turned off the lights and… nothing.
I got too hot. Then I got too cold. Then I got cross. Then a moth landed on my arm and I shrieked. Then I gave up and got my book out again.
I got a glass of water. I heard things that weren’t there.
In the end, I guess, I fell asleep…
But it reminded me very strongly of those days, many years ago, when I simply couldn’t sleep. Just got more and more tired, more and more anxious, until I turned into this nocturnal bundle of nerves who relied on weed and alcohol to knock itself into unconsciousness. Which isn’t the same as sleep, by the way.
I’m older and wiser now, and know that this too shall pass, and I don’t reach for the narcotics to help myself sleep.
Last night really sucked though. Not just because I couldn’t sleep, which is always a certain level of crap, but because it reminded me very strongly of who I used to be. A bit of a waste of space, really. A lazy, useless, angry near-addict slowly losing her mind. That was really scary. The temptation to fall back into old habits was almost unbearable. But I didn’t reach for the Scotch, which is cool.
This is all by way of saying: if you’re trying to change, if you’re trying to do better, it ain’t easy. In fact, at times it seems damn near impossible. Even years – TEN years – later, it’s still sometimes a struggle not to fall back into old habits. That’s crazy and a bit scary. So don’t worry if old habits come back to bite you. Accept that they’re there, take a breath, then carry on.
Even if what you’re trying to change is simply to get more done each day. To start a new habit like writing every morning, or actually taking action on what you’ve learned. One step at a time.
And don’t panic.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS If you want a helping hand with where to start with your good business habits, get my book. It walks you through what I did to go from struggling to comfortable, and how it’ll take me even further. You can get your copy here.
PPS I’m going back to bed for a while. Seriously. You can’t function if you’re too fuzzy.