“Those with the greatest awareness have the greatest nightmares.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Each night fills me with terror. Sleeping, which so many people seem to love, is one of my least favorite activities. Not only does it feel like a waste of time, it also brings awful nightmares.
Perhaps I am the villain one night, killing millions of people until everything around me is red. The next evening, a friend or coworker is kidnapping me. Almost worst are the nights when people tell me how they truly feel, how much they really hate me. Sometimes that is the hardest to hear.
With only a few hours of sleep last night, I awoke drained and unready for the day of my sister’s graduation. Thankfully, the long road trip there and back provided a great time for me to take some short naps. Although I rarely can fall asleep during the day, these periods of relaxation were actually very helpful and rejuvenating.
Taking a nap is common in certain cultures. Many people used to go home from work and rest. We even encourage children to take a break during a busy day of playing. However, there is often a stigma attached to napping now. You are considered lazy, childish, elderly, unambitious, etc. Only those who really deserve naps should take them, and being in a position where you need that rest is something to be ashamed of and try to escape.
When you struggle with depression or an eating disorder, getting outside of yourself and noticing the world around yourself can be difficult on some days. At the same, many people with mental illness care deeply for others. Many are caregivers to the point where they wear themselves out and are left wearied each day. Finding a balance between being stuck in my head and focusing on others to the point of hurting myself is difficult. Many times, I go to one of the two extremes, but I am trying to get better at loving others and myself.
Even though caring for others can be stressful and tiring, this selflessness can be very healing and life-giving. We are meant to help one another, rejoicing in good times and mourning in hard ones. As someone with aspergers, empathy can be a bit confusing for me. I previously wrote about how I both take on the feelings of others but also struggle to read people. However, the overall function of empathy is an amazing thing that keeps us close to others.
Everyone loves in a unique way. We need to find the way that works the best for us and those around us. This video shows one way that comforting others and empathy can look.