"Oh good, you're awake. Let's get to work," it seems to say.
Of course it might not be on your pillow. It might be on your chest, or at the foot of the bed. Or it might not even be nighttime. I once had a fear monster that pounced in the middle of class, usually as I wrote conjugations on the whiteboard. I'd like to think I was able to smack it down before any students noticed, but you never know. Fear monsters are not just scary, they're also stubborn and sneaky.
Whenever and however your fear monsters show up, there seem to be two basic options:
A) Resignation. Let them have their merry way with you. If your fear monsters are anything like mine, they are terrifyingly creative, and there are probably plenty of scenarios they haven't explored yet.
B) Fight back. I know, I know. Easier said than done. Believe me, as one whose closet contains a small army of fear monsters, I know. Even so, I am finding ways to tame them. Here are three:
1. Sing to them. Or at them. (Not over them, though. If you try to drown them out, they will come back with reinforcements.) If you find something you can sing over and over like a mantra, they will eventually shut up and listen. Lately, mine retreat to the sound of Sanskrit meditation chants, but that's just me. Yours might need Bach. Or Bon Jovi. Or bluegrass. Whatever. I have a hunch it works best if you sing your own song, so choose the one that works for you.
2. Call them out. Heck, give them a name. While they glower on your pillow, go ahead and blog about them, text a friend, write a note. They thrive in dark, secret places, on making you think you're all alone. Once you start showing them for what they truly are, they might just shrivel up like the Wicked Witch.
Are any of these foolproof? Nope. Do they work every time and for everybody? Double nope. Do they last forever? I wish. Yet they do help. With time and practice, my fear monsters have come to look more like hissing house cats than man-eating tigers. Best of all, my pillow...and 3 a.m....are once again mine, at least for now.