It was early morning, a Sunday, and I didn’t have to get up at any particular time. It was still dark outside. Larry had fed the cats, so they were full and ready to go back to sleep. The blankets had settled just so over me, and I was warm. It was quiet.
I love mornings like that, when it’s still dark and quiet.
I kept saying those words to myself. Dark and quiet. Dark and quiet.
I waited to drift off to sleep again.
But then the thoughts came. Intrusive thoughts. Thoughts about the past, about situations that hadn’t turned out the way I wanted. Thoughts about people who had said things that hurt me. Thoughts about all the things I needed to get done.
“You don’t have to think about these things,” I told myself.
Then I decided to change my wording.
“I don’t have to think about these things,” I said to myself.
I imagined that thought overlaying the other, painful thoughts.
“I don’t have to think about those people who hurt me. I don’t have to think about anger right now. I don’t have to worry now. It’s dark and it’s quiet.”
I believed that my conscious thoughts, what I was telling myself, could drown out the intrusive thoughts. I believed they could be stronger than the thoughts that made my heart beat faster and brought on the anxiety.
Thoughts come and go. I could choose the ones to pay attention to.
“I don’t have to think about these things.”
And I concentrated on the darkness and the quiet that surrounded me. I concentrated on the sounds I could hear. The clock ticking. What sounded like Chase Bird having another bite to eat. The almost-silence of the morning.
And I fell asleep.
How do you cope with unwanted thoughts?