In her self-published book, Julianne McCrery describes her troubles falling asleep and writes of restless nights "driving myself crazy by thinking of everything under the sun." In one passage, she writes of sleep problems she suffered when her son, who was three at the time, fell ill for eight months with ear problems.
McCrery, a 42-year-old from Irving, Texas, was arraigned Thursday on second-degree murder charges in the death of her son, 6-year-old Camden Pierce Hughes. Prosecutors say McCrery killed Hughes in New Hampshire and dumped his body in Maine last weekend.
The 2008 book, "Goodnight, Sleep Tight! How to Fall Asleep and Go Back to Sleep When You Wake Up" features numerous tips for better sleep, including suggestions about diet, relaxation, and meditation.
McCrery, whose mother has said she battled substance abuse problems and depression, writes that she began working on the book during a lengthy bout of insomnia and recalls times when her mind is "really chewing on itself." She describes herself as a "chronic worrywart" who suffers from arthritis, and writes that sleep rarely comes easily.
"I am way more freaked out about all the little things in life, and was forced to devise a plan in which to save myself from all the self-imposed static I create in times of fear." she writes. When she is angry about something, she writes, thoughts "go around and around like vicious sharks."
The paperback has 68 pages of text, and 30 pages of lined pages for a "Personal Dream Journal." She writes that she made a New Year's resolution in 2008 to become a published author.
The slim paperback is rambling and somewhat disjointed. It's also earnest, well-intentioned and occasionally funny. She describes techniques that have helped her fall asleep and hopes they will help others.
"Sleeping seems like such a simple and natural concept, but tends to elude most of us on a regular basis despite our struggle to relax every night," she writes. "Sleep is so vital to our health and well being that it is my belief the thoughts and suggestions in this book should be shared with everyone you know."
In the passage about her son, McCrery writes that he had major ear problems for eight months, and had "tantrums like you cannot imagine."
"Mom sure was getting droopy eyed by the time he'd wake up in a fit of rage and pain that would impress grannies who thought they'd seen it all with us heathens in the '70s," she wrote.
She said the earaches diminished his appetite, and he would refuse to eat. But eventually he would have a scoop of peanut butter and gummy vitamins with some vegetable juice, she said.
"That stuff gave me peace of mind that my child would survive this without ending up in the ER dehydrated and malnourished," she said.
She writes that he was well after undergoing surgery, but "still rocks one wild tantrum after another when frustrated."
"Three is a tough age sometimes," she wrote, affectionately calling him "my little guy."
In another section, she briefly recalled losing the "love of her life," and other hard times.
"I'm strong in my faith, but sometimes at night it is still very difficult to just halt my emotional turmoil in the midst of all of it," she wrote.
She recommends laying perfectly still and thinking dreamy thoughts like "the ocean tide on the sea shore with little sand crabs scurrying around in the moonlight."
She dedicated the book to her mother, whom she described as a night owl.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more