Grey Skies and Runaway Trains

It rained yesterday.

We don’t get a lot of rain here. We get snow, which is mostly accompanied by brilliant sunshine, but grey skies are rare. It’s one of the reasons I love living here.

Last week spring made a valiant effort to overtake winter. The sun shone, the temperature rose, and the mounds of snow by the sides of the roads melted. I was living in the sunshine and loving it. But over the last few days the skies have turned grey.

train wreck circa 1900

Click for image source

Life is not always sunny, of course. But for me it has been sunny more often than not, and I’ve been able to pause in those catch-your-breath moments and really soak it in. But my ability to see the sun can disappear as quickly as the sun itself.

I don’t function when I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m not getting enough sleep. And I’m losing hope that I will suddenly, miraculously start getting enough. After a long week followed by a couple of rough nights, the rain entered my life yesterday – both literally and metaphorically.

I’ve been here before and I know exactly where this sleep deprivation road leads. And I have no desire to take that path again. I don’t want to feel that way and I don’t want to have to say, Actually, it happened again the second time too. 

I want, with every fibre of my being, to be able to push the emergency button and make this runaway train stop. But I’m feeling the desperation an engineer must feel when he knows the train is going to hit something in the tracks. It’s there, it’s in front of me, and the momentum feels like too much right now. It’s bigger than me and I’m not in control of the outcome.

I was hoping today would be better, but instead I woke up to snow. It’s time to hit the brakes.

Wish me luck.



  1. My heart hurts for you.

  2. Is there someway, somewhere that Rich can take the boys for a night or 2 – it’s better if you do this at home and just focus on rest rather than you leaving thee home. I’ve been down that road and it doesn’t necessarily go away when the kids are a bit older. Sleep, or lack of, can change everything. If you can’t physically fall asleep no matter what, please go to your Dr. ASAP! Thinking of you.

  3. Sending love and hugs, my friend. I wish you were near me so I could hug you in person and take over a night or two. ((sending love))

  4. I’m sorry Robin. I hope you can find some relief soon. Sleep deprivation is hard for the best of us. I absolutely relate.

  5. anonymous says:

    Having recently fallen off of center myself, I understand. You see and feel it coming and can’t seem to throw your arms out fast enough to stop it.

    Although this offers no consolation right now, the mere fact that you observed it happening is progress. You observed it happening to allow yourself to take the time needed for self-care, to do anything and everything that you can to make it easier … to apply the brakes. Every time you observe it, you have the opportunity to learn to apply the brakes just a little bit faster than the last time. Having been a passenger on that train before does not necessarily means that every train travels there.

  6. I’m thinking of you and sending you love. I really hope you can get some good rest soon, my friend.

  7. My sweet friend, I wish I could come visit you tomorrow. I’d take the boys and let you get the rest you so desperately need. Sleep deprivation is a huge trigger for me, too. Keep writing, keep talking and keep reaching out. We are here for you. xoxo

  8. Thinking of you Robin. I hope the train will suddenly stop or take a different track… hugs.

  9. Oh Robin.
    I am here. I am praying that this gets back to good.
    But you know that if it doesn’t there are ways to manage.
    You have our support.

  10. OH sweets.
    We are all here.
    I love your face.

  11. Hi Robin – I hope you are feeling it the same as it was before in your life? Or is it different? A shorter dark phase? Can you watch this come and then go? Or is it settling in? Let us know, feel well…take care, Kathy

  12. Sending you big hugs and love. I’m right where you are.

    Praying for a break in the rain, and the sun to shine through again. Even if it doesn’t – you’re in a better place than last time because you know where things are headed and how to get help. You have loads of support behind you. xo

  13. I hope that the sun comes out soon.

  14. I hope you can find a way to get a little extra sleep.

    The other day, I told my son to go back to his bedroom to have some quiet time, because he and I both needed some quiet time. He said to me, but I want to be near you! I’ll just give you some space. And played quietly in the living room by himself and left me alone. Something about that just gave me some hope.

  15. Oh Robyn it’s so overwhelming sometimes isn’t it? And the grey skies certainly do not help. I hope you can get some good nights in soon.

  16. Holy crap, I just spelled your name wrong! I knew it the second I hit enter too. Sorry m’dear.

  17. I hate when the grey descends as well. Swimming was a turn around point for G when he was waking every 90min. after the first 6:30pm-7pm lesson he slept 16hrs! and that stuck until he was about 1.5. Now he still does a decent 10-12hrs so I can’t complain.

  18. Hang in there, Robin. I hope you are able to catch up on sleep soon. I know what it’s like. Hugs.

  19. Hang in there, friend. We’re here for you.

  20. I’m struggling right now too. Hang in there, mama. We’re all here for you♥

  21. Hugs, friend. Find some light, no matter how small, and try to focus on that. The sun will be back, both literally and metaphorically.

  22. Oh, I so love you… and understand you so completely on this. My train ran away the second time around – and sleep was/is a huge factor. Hold tight. We are here. Message me if you ever need. *wishing you sun*

  23. What anonymous said above about the fact that you are able to observe and understand … so important! You are in a better place than before even if it doesn’t feel like it. Hugs, and praying for more rest for you.

  24. For the literal aspects of your need for light to support your sleep, do you have a light box? 10,000 lux for 60 minutes daily shortly after waking up can really help. The high lux # matters, supposedly. I have the Happy Light brand (not an ad :-))

    I have mine next to my computer and let it do it’s magic while I catch up on work stuff early in the am.

    Katherine mentioned the study here:

  25. When I was suffering with PPD I called Families Matter and a counsellor called me every day just to check up on me and give me perspective. She saved me. It was the grey days that were the hardest and those were the days that those calls meant the most.