By Kimberly Zapata
Just after midnight, I heard a noise: a subtle noise, a scratchy noise, a non-threatening, but irritating sorta noise. Of course, had said noise been harsher — if I had heard a bang, a thud, or even shattering glass — I probably would have stayed put, firmly planted in my bed. But since I was already up, and the rest of the house was silent, I decided to investigate on my own.
I pulled the blanket down, pushed the covers aside, and slid out of bed.
The good news was, the culprit was quickly identified: it was my cat. My stupid, “Wait, were you trying to sleep?” cat. But the bad news was that now I was up — like up, up. The clock was flashing, my mind was racing, and my body was shaking. Not from fear or exhaustion, but from anger. From anxiety. From the sheer sense of overwhelm.
Because midnight is the time when my mind races.
It is the time when my anxiety flares up.
You know, you really messed up today. You shouldn’t have yelled at your daughter. She needed you. She needed your support, and you hurt her. You silenced her. You shut her down.
You shouldn’t have snapped at your husband, either. He loves you. God knows why he loves you? Wait, does he still love you?
And why didn’t you clean up yet, or put your clothes away yet? Why didn’t you submit that article? Oh wait, because you’re a slacker. You’re lazy. You’re pathetic. This is why no one likes you.
NO ONE likes you. You should run away. You should go. You should leave.
Of course, this isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s how most of my days end. When I’m alone in the darkness and silence, I am forced to face the other side of myself; and the person I face is harsh. She is cold and callous, and she is unforgiving. She points out all my mistakes, my faults, and flaws. But I cannot indulge her tonight.
I have work in the morning, I have to care for my child in the morning, and I need some sleep. God, how I need some sleep.
So I make my way into the kitchen and fumble through the cabinets until I find a glass and some Xanax. My bottle of Xanax.