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True Confession– Reptile Takes Over My Brain at Night

20140625-115556-42956883.jpgOnce my husband called me a terrible word in the middle of the night. Thankfully he spelled it. We were both sitting in our children’s bed—both kids were crying and honestly, I was being a total ass. “What is wrong with you?” he practically yelled to be heard over the mayhem. “You are being such a freaky (insert spelled word) right now?!” The moment I heard him say that I shut my mouth. Not because I was mad. Because I knew it was true. I could hear the ring of truth in his words, even the spelled one, and I had no excuse.

Honestly sometimes I feel as though someone else is operating my body and mouth in the middle of the night. It happens when I haven’t had enough sleep yet and I’m being forced to act on some tiny person’s need. I mean, why else would I be up? In those moments I have a hard time keeping it together. It feels more like I am a shell of a being and the person or part of me operating the controls is a real bitch.

Recently I learned (in parent class) that what is actually happening in those moments is that my brain has literally shut down. It can happen from lack of sleep. The only part of my brain then operating is called the brainstem. You know, that part we share with reptiles. It is without higher reasoning, intuition, or compassion just to name a few of its lacking qualities. It’s the piece that controls the fight or flight response. And in my case its obviously fight. I start all sorts of ludicrous arguments with my husband (whom I love) in the middle of the nigh when this part of my brain is functioning. I literally can’t help it. That’s not an excuse. There is no excuse. It’s just true.

I’m just saying— confessing really—that the combination of not enough sleep coupled especially with a certain time of the month, when my hormones and not my higher brain or neocortex are completely dominant provides a sucky-to-the-max combination. And makes for confessions like these as I slid back into the sheets, child disaster handled. “Honey, I’m so sorry. I’m not in control… And thank you so much for spelling that word instead of saying it—even though I totally deserved it.”

That night, when I said that I swear I heard him smile/sigh in relief. I’m not sure if it was because he used that word on me and he understood it was forgiven or if it was because Aimée had finally returned. Then, I heard the sheets move in response as we both moved to the middle of our king size bed to snuggle as we fell back to blissful sleep. (Fingers crossed.)

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