I Shake the diagnostic decision tree. What falls out? Schizophrenia or bipolar mania? Posttraumatic stress or night terrors? Something not classified as mental illness? II Enough with the analysis. This is not some manic episode. Not another word about antipsychotics – abilify, seroquel, zyprexa, these are not for me. I have no melatonin deficiency. Ambien is not what I need. My circadian rhythm is as it should be, awake all night, asleep all day. Insomniacs are not the only creatures who don’t sleep at night. Mindless slurs against the nocturnals will solve nothing. Mice, raccoons, and possums – I understand them. Bats, coyotes and cockroaches – they know what they’re doing. Do you honestly believe millions of years of evolution has driven them up a blind alley? The nocturnals come out under the cover of darkness to eat in peace, to avoid being seen, smelled and devoured. Benzodiazepines – xanax, klonopin, valium, these would only make them sitting ducks for vicious predators. Stealth is survival. Do you think me insane? Night is the time to be awake, aware, hyperaware, hypervigilant. You have not experienced my calamities. You have not dreamed my dreams. You have not lived my nightmares. When they come for me, let them come in the light of day. Let them be seen for the cowardly ghoulish fiends they are. Put them on notice. I am nocturnal. I am hungry. I smell blood. I will be hunting them in their pitch-black nightmares.
Todd Matson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has written poetry for The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, has been published in Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, Bluepepper, and The Chamber Magazine, and has written lyrics for songs recorded by a number of contemporary Christian music artists.