Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nighttime Neuroses

Nighttime can be hard on a kid.  For me it was usually a time for my neurotic mind to make worry mountains out of mole hills.  As the sun went down, my worry over insignificant matters would grow, often manifesting itself in very weird ways.  Things that never crossed my mind during daylight hours caused me great stress at night--remembering an overdue library book could send me into near cardiac arrest.

For a brief period of time when we were young, my sister and I shared a room, which really didn't suit our personalities.  Because, to put it plainly, my sister was a slob, while, on the other hand, my idea of fun included reorganizing my closet or arranging my books in alphabetical order.  One of my neurotic nighttime problems was that I absolutely could not fall asleep if there were things out of place in my bedroom.  I just could not relax--it was like the misplaced item would keep calling out to me until I put it in its proper place.  With my sister now occupying what used to be my room, out of place items were becoming the norm. 

I started out pushing her things under her bed, but this option soon ceased to work out as the under regions of her bed became so jammed with random items (I once even found gravel under there) that this was no longer possible.  I soon had to move on to piling the items on top of her as she slept, since she had an earlier bedtime.

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Some kids are afraid of the dark because they fear monsters or other nefarious creatures are lurking around their room.  I became afraid of not what was lurking in my bedroom, but of what was lurking in the actual darkness itself.  One night as I was trying to see something across the room, I strained my eyes to the point where I saw microscopic colored dots floating in my line of vision.  This made me unbelievably distressed, which in turn only made it worse.  For nights I feared to open my eyes in my dark room for fear that I might look too long and see the colored dots.  Quite frightening, I assure you.

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And speaking of eyes, my nighttime worry even induced me to develop a serious eye condition.  It's scientific name is "Seeing Little."  You haven't heard of it?  Well, you are not alone, as I think I am the only living person that has suffered from this problem.  It would usually happen when I was sitting on the couch in the tv room at night.  I would look up from the tv into the front room and everything in the room would appear little, as though I were looking at it through the wrong end of binoculars.

"AAAAAHHHHHH!  I'm seeing little!!!!" I would scream out in terror.

"What?!"
 "Are you okay?!"
 "Seeing little?  What does that even mean?"

These were the usual responses from my Mom and Dad, and no matter how hard I tried to explain this afflicition, they had no idea what I was talking about.  This is why Seeing Little is such a alienating disorder.  I complained about Seeing Little so often that my Mom eventually took me to eye doctor to be examined.  The doctor made me look a pictures through a machine that would grow and shrink in size, become blurry and sharply in focus, while I described the changes.

"Well, your vision appears to be completely normal."

"Yes, but it's during the day and Seeing Little can only happen at night," I tried in vain to explain.

Addressing my mom, "It could just be eye strain or fatigue."

Hmmph!  No, it is called "Seeing Little," where did this guy go to Optometry School anyway.

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The greatest of all my bedtime worries and fears I shudder to mention even now.  The concept is so terrifying that it kept me awake and in a state of panic on many occasions in my childhood.  I warn you, read on in caution, as I would hate to be the cause of any sleepless nights.  

What is this alarming idea that often left me paralyzed with anxiety?  

A mouse and an elephant.

But the mouse weighed as much as the elephant, and the elephant weighed as much as the mouse, although they were their normal sizes.  Just different densities.

And now that I am sure I have struck fear into your hearts, I will say, "Good night."  



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