In the house of the worm

From out of the darkness it crept into our brains, moved them, changed them to do its will. We did not know. We only knew that the odor around us no longer nauseated; it became the sweetest of perfumes to our nostrils.

I was reading The House of the Worm, by the mysterious Mearle Prout, in a collection of Lovecraft Mythos fiction.  It’s about as deftly-written and original as most of the Lovecraft spin-off fiction—which is to say, not very—but it got me thinking.

The worms of the story are a pretty good metaphor for the depression that I find myself in. They seek to cover the earth in darkness, death, and eternal decay. They literally blot out the sun in the region they control. They mesmerize the minds of sensitive humans to seek the worms’ ends.

For me it’s not death that “the worm” seeks; well, not most of the time. It’s sleep. I find myself craving sleep. Looking forward to bedtime. Looking forward to putting the toddler down for his nap, because it’s an excuse to catch slip off into blessed somnolence  myself.

Yes, I desperately need sleep in order to do my work and get through the days. But this is more than that. Sleep begins to be more attractive than going out, or watching a show. It’s more exciting than coding. I find myself bringing online conversations to a close because my bed is calling.

In the mornings when I succumb and sleep in, I berate myself. Adequate sleep might seem to be just what the doctor ordered in my current state of trauma and overwhelming responsibility. But the one thing worse than lack of sleep is the emotional unbalance that persists throughout a day that begins with a child knocking at the door. Without some peace for reflection and planning, some time for me, the days tend to spin out of control.

I hate it. It’s not natural to me. I know that if I had literally anything to look forward to, any reason to find wakefulness preferable to sleep, this lethargy would wisp away like mist on a morning breeze.

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