It is hard to sleep at night for me. Illness of the mind makes me so anxious and fearful that I will lay awake for hours. Nightmares plague me most every night and if I forget to take one of my medications, I may get four hours of hellish sleep for the night, waking frequently with my heart hammering and this sense of certain disaster awaiting me. Thus, I give thanks for my medications and Beloved's willingness to calm me down when I am thrust into full consciousness by yet another nightmare reliving past horrors I've experienced.
Most nights, after I have had my time of cuddling and quiet conversation with my mortal spouse, the gods lie with me. Loki wraps his arm about me and holds me against his chest as Freyr runs his hands over my hair and throws a leg over mine to pull my hips against his. You would think this was an awkward position but it works. Loki's head is just behind mine and he will whisper in my ear. Freyr's face is just before mine and he will whisper as well.
Most nights, they will talk with me about the small things of the day and express their thoughts upon various matters. Sometimes, I will like there cradled between them and listen to them talk to each other. It is a cozy moment. I don't understand their conversations half the time. Sometimes it is because it is in a language that I don't know and other times it is because it is dealing with matters that I have a vague concept of at best. The sound of their voices, though, helps quiet my mind and guide me down into sleep.
The dreams are usually quite different from the conversations before hand. But, then there are the nights where I wake up terrified. Beloved sleeps on the couch most nights because our bed has been causing him back troubles. Before, I would snuggle up to him. He would wrap and arm around me and then after I grounded myself in the present and he mutters a few sleepy words about how things really are not a disaster, I would fall back to sleep.
Now, I wake up and he is not there. There is a split second of panic, especially if the bedclothes are wrapped tightly around my upper body. Loki may be there, holding me against him as a source of phantom warmth at my back and the feeling of his cheek against mine. Or Freyr may be there, holding me against his side with my head on his chest and his fingers twined in my hair. It is a curious thing to have the sensations of someone physically with you when none is there. It is a brief thing. I'm sure some would say it was manufactured by my mind as I was waking up.
Honestly, I reject that argument on the basis of waking up from a nightmare of being sexually assaulted to the sensation of a naked man holding you against him is not something that coincides well. I have had times when I woke up from those nightmares and I moved away from Beloved because he likes to sleep in the buff and the fact that he was a naked male made my panicked mind scream that I needed to flee. (Every time I had this response, he immediately woke up and set to helping me calm down out of what was spiraling into a panic attack. He just knew by the change in my breathing and how I moved.)
That eerie there but not there business of the gods laying with me in my bed has pretty much always been enough of a shock to my brain that it shut down the panic attack and threw me into confusion. There was still the fear from the nightmare, but I wasn't terrified that the person laying beside me in bed was going to assault me. Loki and Freyr are both of a mind that with enough time, I will not have that response when I wake up out of those nightmares and Beloved is in bed with me again. I sincerely hope that it will be the case.
Night waking is a problem for me. It comes out of my chronic nightmares. But, I find I am not alone in the dark. That is probably what makes it bearable. Because my loves always are with me, keeping watch over me and keeping me safe in the dark.