When I was a baby my mom said I didn’t sleep. I just sat in my curb waiting for the rest of the world to wake up. She would let me loose in the back yard to run around, actually crawl around, in an effort to help me sleep. If I exhausted myself with all my energy, maybe I’d have a normal night of rest. It didn’t work.
When I was going through puberty, same old thing. I would stare at the clock in terror that I had to get up to go to school and knew that I had little to no sleep and at some point in the day, I would crash in class and find a way to remain awake and alert.
When I was in high school I played volleyball. Before games I would go into empty classrooms and sleep on the floor before the whistle blew signaling it was time for the game. I had to slip in a few hours since I had little to no sleep the most of the night.
When I was in college I had a full load of classes, played sports, maintained a healthy social life, yet, sleep was still a problem. But it was also an asset cause I could get so much accomplished that insomnia was a slight favor and I could work around a schedule that allowed me to crash when I needed to.
When I was in my twenties, things started to unravel. Surviving in the “real world” meant maintaining a job that put me right back where I was in my adolescence. I feared the clock knowing I had to be presentable in an intense job in New York. I put on a fighter face and dealt with the insomnia the best way I could.
When I finally got help, and took my first medication, I slept a full night for the first time in my life. I work up relieved that I wasn’t paralyzed with unfound sleep. I woke up like a regular person and wondered how it was possible that I survived all those years without a normal sleep pattern. It made me angry and thankful. Why did I have to go through all those years lacking sleep and try to manage it on my own with no help.
I say all this cause lack of sleep can be a major sign of Bipolar II. So, going back to being a baby and young child, if you have a child that doesn’t have a normal sleep pattern, take note. Talk to your teen about their sleep pattern. Maintain a dialogue with your loved ones on their insomnia and educate yourself on chronic hypomania should you have a child or baby that doesn’t seem to fall into a normal sleep pattern.
Awake child image available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 22 Mar 2014