My fellow sufferers of depression.. we are the night walkers, the ones who are at our most productive time, while the rest of the world sleeps. Again, for “the others” who just don’t understand, it really is not because we want to be awake! We wish we could sleep, sometimes we can sleep for days on end (I rather prefer those days to these, where sleep alludes me and I struggle to live like a normal person.
Of course, just like everything else, this is a viscous little cycle and the researches in this article for Psychology Today feel that the lack of sleep can cause the depression. Those of us with depression certainly feel like the depression causes the sleep disturbances, but either way… chicken or egg, this ugly little cycle feels like a perpetual F-U from the universe. Yes, my body wants to sleep, I never leave the bed as a matter of fact, but my eyes, my mind, my restless legs have a different plan… yes, we are going to stare at the ceiling tonight. We are going to sing our standard 99 bottles of beer on the wall just one more time… if I am still awake when the last bottle comes off the wall, this time, I will get up and read or write or something to try and turn my mind off…. Of course the blue light from the computer can cause insomnia and so can the blue light from the TV. But, I have finished 4 novels this week and reading a good book will be just that, reading a good book, it will not lull me into the sweet sleepy surrender that I am looking for. I thought perhaps if I put my mind on something, I can blog or journal and get everything out, so when I put my head on the pillow again, the only thing I am dreaming of is my bottles of beer. (yes, I have never been able to count sheep, but for some reason counting beer bottles has always been my preferred method of keeping track of just how long I have been awake.
Yes my dear “others” I have tried all the appropriate sleep hygeine. I have stopped electronics at a decent hour, I have tried warm milk, a hot shower, melatonin, quinine, benadryl and prescription sleep medications. I have tried to work out (Of course not lately) but I have tried it. I have black tape on all the little red lights in my room, the cable box, the air conditioner unit, the clock… I have all those lights covered up, I have light blocking curtains on the windows. I have my room temperature set at a cool 68 degrees. Cool enough to cover myself up and snuggle under the comforter. I have a comfortable mattress and I am a pillow connisore. I have tried to stay awake all day, so that I can sleep at night… but it will not matter, I will still be awake all day and tomorrow night as well… I will just be up for 48 hours if I do not get that nap during the day… honestly it is not about when I am asleep.. I have to grab the sleep as soon as I can get it, it doesnt matter what day it is, I just need some sleep!!
My dear, sweet naive significant “other,” you mean well, I know you do, but Just let me take this nap, it won’t make me stay awake tonight, I am going to stay awake tonight no matter…. Oh, I love to snuggle with you, I really, really do! Interpersonal closeness and touch is so important but please GET OFF ME, I am ready to sleep. I love you, I really do, but PLEASE GET IN THE BED SLOW when you come back from the bathroom, dont you understand how fragile my sleep i? Dont you know that if you wake me up, by accident, even for a minute, the rest of my night is shot to hell. Please do not wake me from my slumber, wherever it is, whenever it is, I need the sleep, just like you do, but my depression has a sick sense of humor and it really wants to sleep at odd times. But trying to force your sleep schedule on me WILL NOT MAKE ME BETTER! I know you are just trying to help me. I understand your masculine need to fix what is broken, but my dear, I have been broken for such a long time, there really is nothing you can do to fix me. Many have tried…. But dear sweet significant “other” just accept me the way I am, please do not try to change me, it will only make us fight and frustrate us both. So what is the point? My body is going to sleep when it is ready, I understand how you feel about naps, I understand, I really do but please, please you need to understand that this is MY BODY, not yours! If you wake me in the middle of my mid-day slumber (so I can sleep tonight, you say) You are disturbing my REM sleep, the very healing and restorative sleep that I need most! I dont care that it is in the middle of the day, again, I just need to grab it when I can!
I know my mood will improve if I can just get some sleep and the more I think about this, the more I am going to stay awake. I know my depression can be better if I sleep, but this is part of the ugly paradox that is depression, my mind’s way of giving me the finger. The more I want it, the less I will get it.. Don’t worry though, eventually, I will go the otherway and sleep for days!!!!
There is something, somewhat poetic about the fact that we depressives are wide awake and creative while the rest of the world sleeps. Even as an 18 year old, I preferred third shift over any other. My circadian rhythms have always wanted it this way…. regardless of what society thinks I should do… Yes, I know my vitamin D is low because I do not get enough sun. Maybe because I am sleeping all day… but Vitamin D deficiency can lead to severe depression.. another fricken chicken and egg scenerio for those of us suffering with this ugly, dark, fucked up sense of a disease!
I think I have done enough squats while typing this to make my restless legs tired enough to be still for 30 minutes or so, so I can try again to reach that blissful lack of awareness called sleep. Oh and the benedryl is kicking in tonight…sometimes it works and sometimes it laughs and torments me… Good night blog land! I hope not to see you for at least 8 hours!!!!! But after all the beer has fallen of the wall a couple of times (usually 2-3) I will be back….