SnapDragon Speaks: On The Dark.

Original Painting by SnapDragon X.
Acrylic on Canvas. 2017.

I’m afraid of the dark.

Like, for real.

And it’s not because I think there are trolls in the basement, or Civil War ghosts in the attic. (But—ahem—now that I’ve revived that thought, I might crawl into bed even earlier tonight.)

(pulls the blanket up to her chin)

I’m afraid of my own mind.

Because as soon as the sun sets, I feel an impending sense of doom.

I feel cold, exposed, jittery, uncertain, and like society has closed its doors for all time.

All of the coffee I sipped throughout the day suddenly backfires, and my heart feels like a Jack-in-the-Box.

You don’t know what youre doing. They’re talking about you. It’s your fault. You’re a disappointment.

The darkness breathes on, for what seems to be an eternal damnation of self doubt.

And when those first shards of morning light filter in through the blinds?

Those worries appear oh-so-foolish.

Because it’s time for scrambled eggs, one cup-two cups of coffee, and general merry-making.

Paul McCartney songs. Dr. Seuss books. Old cartoons. Walks in the sunshine. Amazing coupon adventures at the local CVS.

Simple pleasures.

A delicious little life, with pure bliss seemingly stretched out before me.

So how, my Dear Reader, do I silence these haunting voices of the night?

. . .

Do you have nighttime anxiety? What’s your bedtime routine?

Help a SnapDragon out, yo. 🙏🏻

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist who just wants to live in a gingerbread house.

Follow Snippets of Snapdragon for tidbits of whatever.

44 thoughts on “SnapDragon Speaks: On The Dark.

  1. As weird as it sounds, I tried to stay awake until morning time and then go to bed, so I wouldn’t have to hear the precious society with their hammers, saws, grass cutters and cars.
    But the actual thing is, that at some point I was both scared of the dark and people. So I decided I would face the less painful one, which turned out to be darkness, at least for me.
    So it isn’t quite a bed time routine or maybe not the best advice, but darkness can be calming, once the fear of others and endless suffering got bigger. And really, don’t do this if you are not serious about it and know the risk, but I started walking alone through the darkness at night. And this way I even could get close to some wild forest animals, sometimes even without noticing each other. The funniest thing happened with two wild boars. I just walked towards the forest one night, then I saw something dark on the grassy field in front of it. I didn’t think much of it at first, then I thought, what if it is an animal. Then I heard a squicking sound and the two boars ran away from me. Probably terrified and scared, since I had no light and must have seemed like a ghost or whatever for them. I was scared of the dark as well before all this. I sometimes even let the lights on, just last year. But a lot of things happened and I remembered a lot as well, so I thought, what is in the dark can’t be much worse than what is in the light, if even. Since I felt usually more safe at night because it was more quiet and also felt better (in my case). Sometimes I just fell asleep the minute I went to bed, sometimes I was awake almost the whole night. But it was what I did with the rest of the time what made me feel this fear and anxiety or what others did. Once I made some decisions and faced myself, you could say, I understood, that I was not doing what I wanted with my life, just what others expected of me or I convinced myself to do. So I hated myself, feared myself and others as well.
    That is why it might be not a good advice in your case and is less about a bed routine. After I felt more like myself again, I didn’t fear the dark and also not so much myself, but some people and things still scare me. For example, ending up alone or hated and such things. But even these things slowly change it seems. I also used to scare myself and my head scared me, but now that I remembered the dreams and magic I once felt and knew, a lot of things seem less scary after all.
    Anyway, you are a lovely being and anxiety or fear shouldn’t break or haunt you. But I know what you mean and in case I seem like a “I know everything better” person, I don’t and it actually scares me, when it turns out this way. I like it when others know more than me or can do more and I can just be there together with them or do my own thing. And like the other two (so far) mentioned, writing and music immensely helped me since my childhood or using up my energy for the day in form of walking or doing some things which were making me tired and happy. But it depends on how you feel in general and I can say, that sometimes nothing helped and I even couldn’t sleep a few days in a row. What are you more scared of: Darkness, society, your head, death, stories, life, other things? I really hope it helped in a way or gave you some ideas and other perspectives. (And hopefully I didn’t repeat myself too much, since I often do that… and turn out to be very boring and annoying…)
    I really wish that you can fell better about yourself soon. You are wonderful, even if you might be angry or aggressive at some point, you would still be needed, loved and wanted! 💜
    And if not by anyone else, then at least by me. Or maybe some others around here as well. 🙂

    1. Oh, J.P.K. Thank you for this thoughtful, raw, and beautiful comment! It does sound like we view the darkness differently, but you’ve given me a lot to think about. Because you’re right: there are just as many demons lurking in the daylight. So here’s to us, figuring it out and facing each day—and night—with grace. Thank you again for your kindness, my friend. Wishing you well. 🕊

  2. Oh god, how indeed does one silence such voices. I have tried for more than 64 years and no amount of logic or rational argument stills the bleakness which can sometimes descend. I too would like to live in a gingerbread house, a faery tale, a place of safety. Where good triumphs over bad and there is no pain.

    These feelings are so common among mortals, hence, one has to suppose, the creation of myth and religion. There are a number of answers I suppose, none of them perfect.

    That is a very expressive painting by the way. A pretty good representation of the feeling s you describe.

    1. Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment, Anthony. I take solace in the fact that I’m not alone in this struggle. Perhaps it’s part of the human experience: to be taken up with the highs and pulled down with the lows. And may we embrace these experiences with love. Thank you again for your insights, and your kind words. Wishing you well, friend. 🕊

      1. Wishing you well too, it is a dreadful affliction. Nothing has worked for me and my problem seems to be purely physiological. It has been with me since childhood. I have tried any number of remedies with no cure in sight. Psychedelics have been much hyped but in my experience at least do not provide a cure. Some alleviation but this can can build into anxiety and fear if taken too often. I am thinking of trying Perganum harmala – Syrian Rue. Among a long list of failures are CBD oil, St John’s Wort, SSRIs, alcohol (!), nicotine(!) and god knows what else. Hmmmmmmm

  3. Try some acupressure exercises on YouTube, Motivationaldoc; breathing exercises; TEDxYoungstown: How to Trick Your Brain Into Falling Asleep: and relax and don’t dwell on negativity.

    Works for me…but what do I know?

    1. Thanks, Hal. It’s usually the hours leading up to sleep that are the worst for me. I will certainly check out those strategies! I truly appreciate your comment. Thank you, my friend. 🕊

      1. Sometimes when I wake up I write down cheery words and it helps!

        Sometimes before I get ready for sleep I write down sleepy, relaxing words and it helps!

        But occasionally it doesn’t exactly cause it won’t!

    1. I can relate, Amorina Rose. While I usually fall asleep quite easily, my dreams are always a psychological puzzle to unpack the next morning. And, the hours leading up to actual sleep, is when my demons seem to scream the loudest. Thank you for reading and sharing, friend. Be well! 🕊

  4. I read this piece like a riddle. Not so much to be solved, but to apply greater meaning to the experience of night and day, or darkness and light. You drew a sharp contrast between the night and the day.

    Your paintings are created from a depth within you that reckons with the experience of being human, (and) or being a woman, something I, being a man, cannot understand from a rational perspective. But when I look at your paintings, I hesitate to look away as I recognize something familiar in the curves and colors. It is something that moves me so I do not turn away as I follow the movement of the brush strokes.

    There is a wisdom and a reverence in what you create.

    Your paintings are powerful. Is your self-doubt a feeling that the power you express is not your own?

    Does your power express during the night or day, or …?

    Do you create in the light of the day … or in the darkness of the night, or …?

    What you create reflects the power that is undoubtedly flowing from within you.

    1. Tim! Thank you for this beautiful and thought-provoking comment. Your comments on my work truly mean more than you know. I will also be chewing over the questions you asked; there is a lot there to unpack, and I’m eager to do so. Wishing you well, my friend! 🕊

  5. Hiya, Snaps! There are some good stories and suggestions on here, but I am still compelled to throw in my two cents. Me, I love the dark, the restful reduction in noise and colours. Still, I can understand the discomfort you are feeling about this. My son had a hard time with turning off the day gremlins that paint the night in such a bad light, and here are a couple of things that helped him ease into blissful slumber. White noise, like in-between radio stations and turned down pretty low. It gives the brain something to peck at that doesn’t engage cognitive thought processes. Do not eat chocolate before bed! So tempting at all times, but it’ll give you weird dreams, or keep you awake also. Turn off your devices and read something easy, light, funny, like some Terry Pratchett? I love him so much that I wanna marry him, even though he’s kinda dead and stuff. The thing maybe, is that since you have a vivid imagination, it needs something to work with that is calm yet distracting, while the rest of you starts the relaxing process. Ideally, the distracted imagination and the relaxed body will meet up in a blissful sigh of slumber. Good luck, and sweet dreams.

    1. Thank you so much for this, my friend! Though I knew chocolate has caffeine, I didn’t know it can give a person weird dreams. I already have weird dreams pretty much every night, so I’ll definitely think twice before having chocolate ice cream as a midnight snack! ☺️
      Thanks again for this thoughtful comment. Be well! 🕊

  6. I lie awake for an hour or so, and if I still can’t sleep, I get up. If it’s ideas keeping me awake, I write. It is usually a good time for first drafts. Once I have gotten my thoughts down, I can usually sleep.

    If it’s racing thoughts keeping me awake, I distract myself with a movie on TV or read until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Sometimes I eat a small serving of yogurt or other carbs. As a last resort, I take a Benadryl, but it only helps for one night.

    These strategies are not totally satisfactory, so I am still trying to find better ones. 🙂 Please share if you find a better answer!

    1. Thanks for sharing your strategies, Cheryl! Movies or TV definitely seem to help. Especially old favorites, like Seinfeld, where I feel like the characters are my friends. It’s definitely hard to find a balance though, of trying to avoid too much stimulation before bed. Alas, the struggle continues! Wishing you well. 🕊

  7. The dark is for candles, log fires, and twinkly lights in the trees outside, all of which can be better enjoyed with a guard dog that owns a very gruff woof! [voice of experience here!]

    1. What a cozy list! And I am definitely a fan of twinkly lights. We just decorated our house for Christmas yesterday, and seeing our tree shining in the dark helped tremendously. Thank you, friend! 🕊

  8. Hey snap dragon – I have so much sympathy. I struggle turning off at night. Usually I wake up in the evening time – this is when I do my best work, but it doesn’t help the monkey mind before bed! Nowadays I try to leave some time and run through an evening routine. Watch some comedy – do some gentle yoga and a bit of reading before chatting with my wife last thing. We talk out our concerns with one another before we sleep. It’s not a perfect solution but I have found it helps enormously! Wishing you well friend 🙏

    1. Oh, humans are by far the worse of the two! I am a Stephen King fan, but definitely try not to read his books before bed. 🙈
      Thanks for your comment, Maria! 🕊

  9. A lovely post. I like that I am a dear reader 🤭 The word *disappointment* jumps out at me. It is (imo) too gentle a word for the disruption it does. It’s eased my anxiety to really realize that another’s disappointment doesn’t make ME a disappointment. Similarly, my own disappointment (which is sometimes problematic) is mine to manage, and (given proper recognition) it’s generally manageable. Also…
    Decaf after midday 🙂 and…
    Nytol (for short term “getting rhythm”)…not the herbal (if you’re anything like me it’s too groggifying!)

  10. Up until about three years ago I used to get the feeling I didn’t want to go to sleep, because that would lead to tomorrow. It was not a sense that I wanted to harm myself but that I would do almost anything to stay awake and stave off tomorrow. Now that I think about it, I’m unable to remember if there was a reason why I didn’t want tomorrow to arrive…

    A routine is helpful for me, doing the same thing every night. Edit a bit of writing, drink a cup of tea, go through my to-do list for the day, in a pragmatic way without judgement, read a bit of the current book I’m reading, and last of all I pray. Consistent prayer brings for me a sense of peace I can take through to the next day.

    Are you a night-time reader? Have you tried prayer? Maybe even just talking quietly out loud to yourself to work through anything acting as a stumbling block to sleep? These are of course just suggestions to add to your toolbox, to try for yourself and see if they help, and if not you’ve got plenty more.

    Kia kaha (stay strong), and I pray you go well into this week. ❤

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Hamish. I do not pray, as I am a recovering Christian. But I do very much love to read, and think. And I may give meditation a go! Thanks again, friend. Wishing you well. 🕊

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