Sleep refuses to visit again so I lie in the darkness, listening to the wind gusting drops of rain against the windowpanes and hear the tortured clanking of the windchimes outside the door. It’s the early hours of the morning when most people are tucked up, oblivious to the sounds breathing in the night, or of the houses and pipes settling into their natural rhythms.

 Today has not been a good one, although it started with so much promise – sunshine, mild temperatures and laughter. But as time wore on the sickness I cannot name crept back in, forcing me to lie down, waiting for it to pass. It didn’t. So here I am again, hiding in the dark, considering my options.

 For the past four months I have been ill with nausea and sickness and my weight has plummeted from 9st 2lbs to 7st 1lb. I have had all sorts of tests and know I don’t have cancer and there’s nothing wrong with my stomach, bowel, oesophagus or duodenum. A mild form of anorexia is the latest suggestion but I’m not convinced the answer lies there; I don’t have body dismorphia because what I see in the mirror is an emaciated, skeletal old woman and although it is true than now I’m hesitant to eat anything that may make me sick it’s because I’m terrified of choking, not because I want to be thin. So I lie here in the dark, waiting patiently for morning and for the sickness to abate.

 When you have an illness there are many ways of dealing with it, but for me it usually boils down to either fighting it or working with it, whichever is the most appropriate at the time. For this current bout I have learnt to work with it, to be gentle with myself and to take myself off to bed whenever I need to. I have learnt patience and found that if I lie still and expand my consciousness to beyond the physical discomfort I’m feeling then all my senses are much more acute and the darkness inside is not so intense.

 I have lived alone most of my life, even when in relationships, and it seems to suit me. Or maybe that’s just what I tell myself. Lying here with no-one pressed against me, skin touching skin, is no hardship but tonight a yearning for intimacy overtakes me. So I expand my consciousness and allow the bed, duvet and pillows to sculpt themselves around the contours of my body, nestling and supporting me and then I imagine I am being cradled in the gentle hands of the Divine, thankful for all my blessings and for the amazing life I’ve had so far. It works and sleep eventually comes to me.

 Whatever gets you through the night.

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