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I lie awake each night, more exhausted than the night before and yet unable to sleep. The darkness of anxiety and worry envelop me, and I feel eviscerated by the horrific sense of panic and impending doom.

My tongue is swollen and dry, so large I fear I’ll choke on it. My heart races and pounds. My extremities tingle. And, every thought that flies through my weary mind is one of worry.

How will I ever get us out of this dump? Did I spend money somewhere I shouldn’t have? Will this situation, and me, embarrass my son in front of his girlfriend when they visit next week? Where will we ever fit in? Am I losing my youngest son’s heart? Will my teenagers hurt someone? Will my oldest teen turn on me again? Will the car break down? Will the hill catch fire? Will R hurt the children?  Why does it seem like once people get to know me, they don’t like me?  Why won’t the wicked people in my life just leave me alone?  Why is satan pursuing me so?   How will I be able to home school and work so much?  How can I not work so much and survive? How long before I collapse?  What if my adult kids find this blog?  What if R finds it?  Am I ever going to do anything with my life other than subsist on one crisis after another?  Will any man ever want me?  Or, am I destined to live and die alone?

I drag my body to the coffee pot and pour a cup of the thick, dark, day old crud that sustains me.  When I open the front door to step outside and microwave the cold cup, my cat runs past me.  She’s frantic.  She meows and runs from room to room, obviously frightened.

Is it a spirit?  Is there something real and tangible, in another dimension, that is tormenting me?  And, the cat senses it, too?

Oh, God!  I cry out.  Give me peace!  Give me love!  Give me hope!

Give me sleep.

As light creeps through the windows, I accept that sleep has escaped me yet another night.  That was it.  I must get the kids ready for the babysitter.  I must load my supplies and care more about the cleanliness of someone else’s house than I do my own.  I have to take care of animals.  Check fluids in the car.  Feed children.  Do laundry.  Make myself look presentable for the day.  And, get to work on time.

I know that I will leave my children behind for the day.  I’ll leave the dry hill and the messy house.  But, the anxiety that stirs me from my sleep will drag behind me all day, like a thick, wet, heavy cloak that is mysteriously stitched to my skin.  Unshakable.  Irremovable.  It will follow me from house to house, whispering in my ear while I clean.