I've been in bed for an hour and my brain is still overactive. (Scientists call it wandering brain syndrome). So many anxieties have popped up that I produce adrenaline instead of melatonin. Trying to calm my thoughts is like trying to tuck an octopus into a bed.
Its head is cozy on the pillow, and the covers are up around the "neck", but one sinuous tentacle slides up, and reaches for me. I tuck it back under the covers while a second tentacle sneaks out from the other side and starts to wrap around my neck. It's not malicious, but demands my attention.
I name each tentacle after one of my preoccupations: unanswered questions about finances, unresolved frustrations with technology, a nagging difficult relationship, anxiety about an upcoming oral presentation. I find myself having imaginary conversations with an accountant then my sister and being on hold with a tech support desk.
My mind's not just wandering now, it's ramped up to running long jumps. My thoughts are pounding as fast as an athlete's track shoes.
I step out of reach of the thin arms covered in suction disks that would fix themselves to me. The octopus must be shut away. I put it in an aquarium. Once I imagine myself beyond each worry, I can quiet myself. But just to be sure they don't try to sneak out, I write each distraction in my phantom calendar, with the name of a person who can help me with the problem. I can't deal with them now, but I will deal with them later.
And if I see him on the move, slowly extending upwards, groping for a way out, I remind myself that the tank is locked tightly locked. (unlike the video above!) I roll over, turning my back on the mute creature.