.It’s the 4am thoughts that are the worst. If I happen to wake around that hour, I will lie there, and all the worst, most depressing thoughts and feelings will bubble to the surface, and lay there, dragging me down to the depths of despair. I lie in my bed, in the dull grey pre-dawn light, and I cannot help but go over all my failures, all my defeats, and that’s when I truly believe that I will ever succeed, never be published, or even sell a single story.
I used to think I was the only one who felt like that at 4am, and that was I was feeling was honest truth – I would fail, I wasn’t good enough, nothing I did was ever going to be good enough.
Then I discovered that everyone feels like that at 4am. That’s the time when most deaths occur. For some reason, that is the time when the human spirit is at it’s lowest, and almost anyone who finds themselves awake at this time feels despair and weakness.
So I cope with these draining, depressing 4am thoughts by planning. And this week I had a lot to plan. Time to send off some work, to finally stuff those envelopes and get the stories out there. And even if the answer was no, at least I was DOING something, not just wishing and hoping. All that planning proved a good antidote, and I happily drifted back off to sleep.
Of course, when I woke up, I’d caught a virus, leaving me too exhausted to do anything but sit there, staring into space (and it turns out the virus was the reason I woke up at 4am in the first place – along with 2, 3 and 5am).
But plans have been deferred, not cancelled. My work is printed out and in nice little piles, waiting to be posted. And if I wake up at 4am again, I can plan out my covering letter, instead of sinking into those dreaded, deadening thoughts.