Parenting & Other Life Stories

Nightly Infestation

“Obsessions are recurring ideas, thoughts, images, or impulses that seem senseless but nonetheless continue to intrude into your mind.” – Edmund J. Bourne, PhD

What was that noise?

The night feels heavy almost suffocating, can’t anyone else feel it? Her mind stops, her breath catches, and her body tenses. Every muscle of her body is strung so tight that she is actually slightly raised from the bed ready to spring if necessary. Waiting. The thump from the night has gone, and nothing has materialized from it. Her body relaxes, but only slightly.

“Okay,” she whispers. “That was nothing, AGAIN! Roll over, go to sleep.” There is no conviction in her voice, just empty content, a filler trying to get her from point A to point B.

Feeling hopeless she rolls over, but her body still holds a ghost of tension. Her mind behind closed eyelids runs wild:

It is dark, what lurks in the darkness? Who lurks in the darkness? I have to protect him? I have to protect me? Did I lock the doors? Should I check them again? The front door is light brown, a soft wood. I know it is soft because one of my two 70 pound dogs enjoys jumping on it and racking her nails down it, and she has left unsightly claw marks. However, the deadbolt beside these marks is turned to the left and I can see its bronze colour shining in the moonlight. Yes, it’s locked. The back door, it’s darker there, but it is my habit to lock it after I let the dogs out, and it is my same habit with the garage. Shit the garage! Now I think about it the bronze in the moonlight could be any night. I should check him in his room too, make sure that nobody has broken in and… Really Woman, get it together. Roll over, relax and get a grip. GO TO SLEEP. Check the door first, remember to double check the windows you never can be too sure…

Her feet slip out from beneath the blankets, and as she leaves her room again she makes a quick stop at her son’s doorway to ensure he is still snug in his bed. A small sigh slips from her lips at the sight of him, and a lull so mild that it is subterranean rides through her body unnoticed by her. She leans against his door frame and her eyes close.

Only the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom windows can open…

Her eyes snap wide. The illuminating number is 1:35, its red glow is an eerie warning.

How careless to close your eyes!

She hurries down the hall her eyes scanning past windows as she goes counting one, two, and turning into the kitchen. A fast glance at the stove knobs, and she darts to the window. She can see as she approaches that this window is closed and latched with no tampering or broken glass because the window treatments are a black polyester sheer. Regardless, she parts them and touches the window latch moving it slightly before leaving to check the lock on the back door, the garage door, and the front door. She must touch those locks too. She has tried only looking, but seeing the lock is not enough and she will be back again minutes later. It seems touching of the lock is all that will alleviate the thoughts intruding upon her mind.

After she has gone through her ritual of checking the window and doors in a set pattern she returns to bed. She is exhausted from another sleepless night.

Are you sure? Enough! I checked ,and this is getting ridiculous. I’m tired, and I’m sure.

She rolls over in bed in a flurry of sheets, and slams her eyes closed…

What was that noise?

The night feels heavy almost suffocating. Her mind stops, her breath catches, and her body tenses. Every muscle of her body is strung tight. Maybe if she lays still enough she can remain unseen in her own bed, unseen by whatever is out there, and unseen from her own thoughts…

By Shari Marshall – 2016

Many people with Bipolar II also suffer with anxiety.

This piece was created in response to The Daily Post one-word prompt, Obsession.

5 thoughts on “Nightly Infestation

  1. Tragically familiar. Very well written though, you have a lovely writer’s voice even if you’re discussing something that is so difficult and heartwrenching for those of us who are familiar with such patterns. I hope that writing about it is being helpful for you, to get out and connect with others. It’s important for this condition, as well as many others.

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