The Dark Night Of The Soul

The hours between midnight and four a.m. are usually restless ones for me.

I can usually nod off to sleep by about 11 p.m. but then I typically wake up around midnight. If I check my email, it’s likely I’ll encounter somebody I care about not responding to me exactly as I wish, and this increases my anxiety. If, say, I have to wait an extra week for an anticipated date or business meeting or payment, my fear of abandonment and of financial catastrophe becomes crippling and I don’t sleep until daylight.

When I’m smart, I don’t check my email late at night. I just put on Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits or perhaps some Air Supply or Mozart or Haydn or Debbie Friedman. I know I don’t want to lie alone in the quiet and just wrestle with my thoughts. I must be distracted. If I have to face who I am and where I am, I’ll get uncomfortable and restless and I won’t sleep. Instead, please God, let me lose myself in some romantic dream and then drift off.

If I were in a relationship, my need for romantic music would not be as acute. Meanwhile, Barry Manilow is my substitute for love.

I wonder if my musical choices are a cause of or just a symptom of love addiction?

When I am in a relationship, my anxiety does not disappear. It just changes. I worry excessively about us.

The more successful, the more passionate, my life, the less I worry. Conversely, my failures pile upon each other and weigh me down. I’m not exactly OK with myself. I have to constantly prove stuff, such as that I am worthy of a decent night’s sleep.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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