April 2010

Insomnia, Medication, Bipolar Disorder, and Perceived Laziness


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.

Abraham Lincoln's Depression

I am in the midst of reading “Lincoln’s Melancholy”, by Joshua Wolf Shenk, which is secondarily titled, “How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness”. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, but in addition to Lincoln's life story, many of the ideas given in the book are truly interesting.

Lincoln was a severely depressed individual, which  is well-documented by his writings and those of his friends and family. He was often described as somber, but also as a person with a wry sense of humor. Like many of us who struggle with Bipolar Disorder, his depression was probably genetic and was also exacerbated by personal hardships.