Four o’clock in the morning is a magical and often anxiety ridden time for me. I don’t know what makes it special, but when I wake up at 4AM there’s a certain consistency in how I frequently feel, or where my mind often goes.
At 4AM every ache or pain is a certain sign of impending death or at a minimum a major illness.
At 4AM every noise is either an intruder, or some appliance or other aspect of the house about fail in some catastrophic way. Or maybe “the big one” we keep waiting for.
At 4AM it’s critical that I hear each dog breathing, or for certain they must be dead.
At 4AM — ditto for my wife.
At 4AM my todo list for the next day is oppressively long.
At 4AM — same for my list of mistakes from the previous day.
At 4AM small problems are large problems, and large problems are downright disasters in the making.
And of course at 4AM everything on the aforementioned list must be ruminated on, mulled over, dissected, and just generally worried about.
If I awake at 4AM and that list takes hold, my brain clicks “ON!” and anxiety has me awake for an hour or more. Eventually I doze off again.
2AM? Not a problem. Back to sleep I go. 6AM? Ditto.
It’s consistently around 4AM. No idea what it is about my sleep cycle that makes that time “special.”
And of course come 8AM when I finally wake “for real”, all is once again right by the world. I’m healthy, the wife and pets are all alive, the house is still standing, the to-do list gets prioritized into submission, and life is good.
What’s equally puzzling is that I don’t consider myself as someone prone to anxiety, which is what this all really boils down to.
There’s just something about 4AM. I just don’t know what it is.