I have been struggling with insomnia, a beast that self-perpetuates for those of us “blessed” with bipolar disorder. Lack of sleep induces mania, and though the mania may be too mild to be of much use, it does result in difficulty sleeping. So unlike most people, if I try to fix my sleep schedule by depriving myself of sleep in the morning and then going to bed early, guess what? I wake up and it’s impossible to sleep. This becomes an ongoing problem and can last for two or three weeks at a stretch, with me sleeping maybe six hours every 48, sometimes less, until I collapse in an exhausted heap much later than the average person. After a few years of this, I came up with a solution that looks like a cop out to the average person unaffected by mania – I call it “sleeping forward.” I’ll stay awake until I feel drowsy (but which would go away the minute I tried to actually sleep), then take a healthy dose of a sleep aid on top of my normal nighttime meds that make me sleepy anyway, and then I try to sleep for 12 hours at minimum, pushing for all I’m worth to stay asleep til actual morning, even if I go to sleep at noon. I’ve actually slept 24 hours straight before after a prolonged insomniac period.
If I can’t sleep that long, I’ll get up at whatever time sleep leaves me, and will try to stay awake as long as I can, up to the following evening, then take more sleep aids and sleep as long as I can again. I do this until a normal schedule resets itself, and at that point, I’m often good for two weeks of normal “sleep at night, get up before noon” behavior. Normally I’m a night person, and if left to my own devices, I’d be awake 18-24 hours at a stretch, followed by 10 or 12 of sleep. Given that a daily cycle is only 24 hours, this natural tendency to move around the clock over time doesn’t fit in well with societal demands. I look forward to the day when the rest of the world finally catches on to this and keeps everything open 24 hours. Getting up at 11 p.m. leaves a lot of time to accomplish nothing practical (not that I’m complaining, a lot of the time).
So that’s where I’ve been: not sleeping, and trying to fix it (and fighting a cold, now). I’m ready to sleep in a big way in just a minute here… but I wanted to stop by and let everyone know what’s up. Also, since I was last here, I talked to David on the phone for about half an hour. That was cool. He’s going to send me some CDs or something.
I shall now go lie in bed and watch Iron Man til sleep drags me away. I will see you all soon, and I swear I haven’t forgotten the all-important Part 3 of my series.