Sleep Candy

I’m anxious. I have arrived at what has turned out to be a pivotal week. I am optimistic that the outcomes that I am anxious about will be good, but I will count no chickens before they hatch.

I have a lot of tics when I am anxious; among them, a surge in social media use. The moment you see frequent but bland comments from me, you know I’m worried about something. I have food tics, but I work much harder at controlling those these days. I finally figured out that feeling anxious AND sick  actually is worse than just feeling anxious. I go to friends for comfort, but deflect, and try to solve their problems instead. And when I can, I sleep.

I went to medical school. I am not a doctor. These two facts are simultaneously the most beautiful and the most damning in my daily existence. In my sixth year of those two facts being simultaneously true, I still wonder at what I did, how it shaped me and all that those fours years and aftermath have wrought. And one of the fun things that came from that time is the expression ‘sleep candy.’

I adore candy. I loved it when I was kid, and as an adult I am very particular about what candy I eat when I eat candy. But the excitement about the wrapper, the colors, the weird manufactured uniformity, and the sugar rush is still there. Candy is a delicious treat. It can be a life-saving pick me up at a dark moment. I look forward to candy. I promise myself candy as a reward for work done (well or otherwise). Candy is also not always available, or not always something I allow myself.

During my medical training, particularly surgery, sleep became as epically coveted and cherished as candy. I would explain to friends and family that I was staying in a night when I could go out because I wanted some ‘sleep candy.’ It became a catch phrase in my family for a particularly good or long-desired rest. This morning, I wanted some sleep candy. I managed to spin-doctor my way out of most of my usual post-Holiday, back to work angst. But when I got out of bed this morning I looked back at those warm covers and polka dot sheets like a woman leaving her lover for the gallows. And all day it’s been keeping me going. Sleep candy. There is sleep candy coming. Regrettably, sleep candy might not be able to enter my life until this weekend (all the sweeter for the wait, trust me). And like my other anxiety, I am optimistic that this might be king size, extra caramel style sleep-candy, the rest of the deeply relieved. I hope so, but even if it’s not, I will welcome my tiny hibernation and the dreams I dream.

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