There are times I can’t sleep at night. I usually lie in bed and wait for sleep. I don’t count sheep, but I do change my position on the bed 47 times and worry somewhat anxiously about my life. I worry about whether I’m going manic again because before every manic episode I’ve ever had in the past, not sleeping was the first warning sign.
Every day I wake up late and am groggy. My eyes are crusty and are often peeled shut. Though my inability to wake up early has been a life-long affliction, it’s gotten much worse since I started taking my current medication. The bottle the pills come in usually warns me about drowsiness and operating heavy machinery, but it never says anything about how difficult it will be to wake up in the morning or how embarrassing it is to explain to people why I am not on a regular sleep schedule.
I am not as lazy as some people think I am and it’s hard to see that judgment of some people around me.
Like many people with Bipolar Disorder, I went through a severe depression a few years ago that was so bad that I couldn’t work. My days felt hopeless and nobody around me understood what I was going through. I couldn’t get work and I forced myself to volunteer and take classes, but it wasn’t until my medication kicked in that I felt better.
At that particular point in time, I was lazier than I am now because I felt so hopeless and depressed. I’m really lucky that this was the only time that I wasn’t able to work for a long period of time, but others with Bipolar Disorder and severe depression aren’t so lucky and don’t deserve to be judged either. The last thing a severely depressed person needs is someone around criticizing them because they are truthfully unable to focus or have suicidal thoughts.
For the most part, I’m stable now, but I think the important thing for those just diagnosed to remember is that Bipolar Disorder is not a life sentence. There are resources available and many people to interact with on the Bipolar Web Support Groups and on Facebook that will not be able to give you medical advice, but will be able to give you support when times are really tough.
And if you can’t sleep at night, just relax and let your doctor know if it becomes a problem.
Photo from Beverly and Pack's photostream.