1. /
  2. More Voices
  3. /
  4. 2018
  5. /
  6. Sleep
  7. /
  8. A Ruffled Mind

A Ruffled Mind

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. –Charlotte Bronte

A few years ago, after retiring from a long career as a psychologist, and when I was deep into an MFA program in writing, I wrote a poem exploring the reasons, past and present, for my intermittent, middle-of-the-night insomnia.

As a psychologist, I had worried over patient-centered concerns. I’d lie there thinking about the reliability of a suicide safety contract, imagining my patient standing at the edge of a cliff. Or, I might replay another patient’s unloading of an abusive, traumatic childhood. I’d lie awake, wondering how much good therapy could do within the constraints of a managed care timeline.

Although these ruminations about my patients did not instantly vanish as a result of retirement, they were gradually replaced by middle-of-the-night searches for words. Words that could express the inexpressible. Words that could form lines of poetry that might resonate with others on an emotional level.

As I write this now, I am struck by the parallels between past and present. What still drives me, sometimes keeps me awake at night, is the desire for deeper human communication and connection, be it through a helping profession or making art that in some way matters to others.

Debbie Hall
Escondido, California

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top