Pre Sleep Shame

There is a moment just before I drop off to sleep where the horrifying reality of my existence comes flooding back to me in a series of fairly painful flashbacks.

I assume that part of becoming an adult is learning to shut these memories out, or in the very least decrease the amount of cringeworthy encounters you have to in turn decrease the amount of content my cruel brain has to punish me with. As of now, I appear to only be increasing them.

The flashbacks usually come from a fairly innocuous place:

“Maybe I’ll drift off to sleep with a thought about that scene in Spice World: The Movie where Posh Spice is trying to pick an outfit from a bunch of identical LBD’s, yes that one seems safe, nice safe Spiceworld…I loved that film. I love Posh Spice. Remember, I used to have big black platform boots like her…OH! And I had an LBD that I once wore to my friend’s house with the platform boots…and then what happened? Oh god, yeah. No. The shame. I wore them on the trampoline and my friend’s Mum told me off. Oh god, I can still feel the disapproval. Ouch. Yuck…Eurrggghhhh, I’m so awful.”

The problem is that once I recognise it as pre-sleep shame, I manage to remember every other single shameful flashback I’ve experienced. Every ‘Thank you’ that I have forgotten. Every public sneeze that resulted in accidental snot explosions. Every time I’ve tried to join a conversation unsuccessfully.

Then there’s the time when I laughed so hard at my own joke in Primary School that I fell over and farted in front of the older, and much cooler, girls who had not even smiled at my joke. That memory comes back quite regularly and fills me with a feeling not too dissimilar to having a thousand worms crawling all over my body.

It also opens me up to every other conversation I have had where I have seemingly forgotten how to act like a human being and instead replaced myself with a great big awkward potato who answers “Happy Birthday” with “Thanks, you too”.

It reminds me that the times I have tried to act like a grown up, I have failed completely, like the time I attended my first business networking event, had one too many free cocktails, panicked and told a florist I was getting married soon so might be in the market for some flowers just because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I was not getting married. I left soon after.

Of course this memory is a dangerous one because it reminds me that alcohol exists and that I drink far too much of it and do utterly ridiculous and embarrassing things. This is usually the moment where my shame causes a physical shiver or even cramps me into the foetal position, like that might protect me from remembering that there is a section of society that might only know me from my shameful drunken behaviour.

A good way to prevent pre sleep shame would be to stop being such a fucking idiot, but I tried really hard to do that, and still, the other day I took my sunglasses off to hear a lady who was talking to me instead of taking my headphones out and when the Starbucks barista told me she liked my name I jokingly replied “Thanks, I got it for my birthday” even though I knew it wasn’t funny and she was not going to laugh.

So the best course of action is to shut yourself off from all of your thoughts ever and surround yourself by noise and distraction to divert your attention away from remembering that you are a messy, embarrassing, fool. Just never think ever again and you can avoid all this. Easy.



So there you go. Another great fix. Some more incredibly unhealthy advice. If you’ve liked this and want to help support me writing more of this rubbish, my Patreon account can be found here:




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