First of all, thanks for the comments (and the DMs on other social media)! After some thought I’ve concluded that a diary, by definition, is a daily record, and so I’ll keep doing my thing here daily. Well, until May 30. And then…I guess I’ll revisit that when the time comes.

These will no longer be blooming come May 30

So last night, as I have on a few other nights in the last few weeks, I woke up feeling like I’m choking, that I can’t get a good breath, that I’m drowning. When I rouse myself enough to move out of that half-conscious realm, I realize that I’m not choking, that my lungs easily fill with air, and that I’m on dry land.

As you can imagine, a state of dreamlike suffocation is unnerving.

Given that I don’t have sleep apnea, I can only assume that this is an outlet for my subconscious to process something – stress? Lack of control of my environment? Feeling trapped? Fear of the breathlessness that’s a symptom of Covid-19? Or maybe it’s something not so obvious?

Breath is the fundamental basis of our lives, yet we often pay it little heed. We assumes it happens without a thought, yet we are acutely aware of its absence. I’ve become more aware of mine these days, and in my waking moments sometimes catch myself holding my breath, too tense to let it move with instinctive ease.

So I try to bring my awareness to breath daily, to allow it to do what it does so naturally. And in those moments of night terror I quietly remind myself, it’s ok. Breathe. Breathe.

Have you experienced half-waking nightmares? How does anxiety visit you in sleep?

My task today: …is related to my task yesterday, which is still not done…so I’m carrying it over today. With days washing into each other with little delineation it’s a challenge to keep some level of schedule and accountability, and my daily task has been a crucial part of this attempt. I’m in the middle of answering that email, and hope that I can tell you tomorrow that it’s (done!)

3 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, Nightmares are occurrences we all experience. Over many years, I find that these terrifying dreams can be bizarre, and are caused by something we read, watched, or afraid of. After each nightmare, I noticed that I was sleeping on my back which seemed to have some relationship to them.
    I’ve had a few dreams about choking only to find that I was lying facedown sleeping on my hands under my neck. I always take note of my body position after a nightmare.

    Most experts agree that nightmares in adults are generally triggered by psychological factors like anxiety and depression, and in some cases poor nutrition or traumatic life experience. With the symptoms of COVID 19, I’m not a physician but I can see the relevance to a nightmare about breathing.

    I share your thoughts on how the days are washing into each other with little delineation and I keep busy with family matters, homeschooling my grandchildren, and maintenance of my home. We all live in different realms but share some of the same experiences. Discussing them is therapeutic and helpful. I hope my comments are helpful with the questions you pose and the answers you receive from me.


  2. ‘Have you experienced half-waking nightmares? How does anxiety visit you in sleep?’
    Yes. Like Wile E. Coyote when he realized there is a ravin below but he doesn’t fall down right away. Anxiety rarely visits me but when it does it has the texture of a red fluffy silk. I can’t explain why. It wakes me up and I go back to sleep less than 10 min. after.
    A song: “Breathless” from the 1988 Jerry Lee Lewis’s music scores “Great Balls of fire!”.


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