I will be the first to admit that I love to sleep. In fact, I probably sleep more than most people, on average. There are a few reasons why. First off, my medications come with the side effect of fatigue. That is one side effect I know affects me. There are two medications that I take at bed time for just that reason because after I take them, well, forget about me staying awake for more than a half an hour. So there is the sedation factor we are dealing with here. When I was on MUCH more medication, I could barely stay awake and my mom worried about me driving. I drove fine but understand now more clearly why she was alarmed.
Another reason I think a lot of us sleep a lot is to escape reality. My life is not always sunshine, butterflies, and roses and I bet yours is not either. I sleep so I do not have to face things. Bipolar is not always a beautiful illness. I write so I have too much time to think about life and what sucks and what does not. Being stuck in your own mind, especially one tainted with mental illness, is no good – for anyone. I start to think about things I used to be able to do that now I can’t. I think about what my future looks like. I think about all the negative ways I have acted in the past that hurt other people. Like I said, being stuck in your own head is not a place to live, visit it from time to time, but do not live there. For me, me that means sleep instead.
I hallucinate. It is a lot better now that I am on a certain medication, a lot better. But there are stick “break throughs” when hallucinations happen anyway. I have realized they happen during more stressful times, regardless of when they happen they scare me and I do not like hearing or seeing them. I have found that if I can fall asleep, which is sometimes hard to do with auditory hallucinations, but if I can sleep I do not have to deal with them. That means naps or going to bed early. When I wake up the hallucination is gone and I am relieved and more rested.
Recently a study was conducted. Researchers examined whether polygenic (any of several types of a genes which produce mutation and are responsible for human variation) risk scores for sleep traits could differentiate subtypes of bipolar disorder. A case controlled study took place in the United Kingdom and Sweden. There were 5,714 people in the control group versus 4,672 participants with bipolar disorder. In this work, for the first time, associations between polygenic liability to insomnia and hypersomnia and clinical strata within bipolar disorder are conferred. What it showed was that people with bipolar I showed significantly greater genetics that make them more apt to sleep. What surprised me was that this same study showed that those people living with bipolar II had a predisposition for insomnia.
Maybe it is not just us after all being “lazy” or “sleeping all the time” or “never sleeping.” Maybe it is the way we were made, just another mutation in the intricately splendid mind of our that cannot be tamed.