Sleep is paramount to my mental stability. It is often a lack of sleep that brings on mania for me. (Don’t worry, I am not turning manic today). In fact, when I am in a manic phase I will sleep on average 2 hours a night and not feel tired. I don’t need the sleep. Mania’s got all the energy I need.
At every psychiatry appointment my psychiatrist asks me how I am sleeping and for how many hours. He wants to make sure that I am getting enough sleep. He wants to check and see if my sleep pattern indicates an upcoming mood disturbance. He also wants to be sure I am not sleeping too much – a signal of depression in my case.
So be mindful of your sleep. Don’t push yourself so hard that you don’t get adequate number of hours of sleep per night. Take naps if you need and can. Try to stick to a schedule that works for you.
As for me, I think I will hit the hay a little bit early for a Saturday night and hopefully tomorrow I will feel a little more stable.
I was sick again today with the stomach troubles that new medicine has been causing. I found myself lying on the couch and it reminded me of days gone by. When I was very sick – mentally, very sick – I needed rest. It is hard to describe the exhaustion that depression brings. I’ve likened it before to an elephant sitting on my chest. How strong must I be to keep standing up with an elephant on my chest? It’s too hard to endure. One needs a break.
When I was first diagnosed as beautifully bipolar I was given a lot of meds – anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, sedatives, anti-convulsants – you name it, I was on it. Your mind can only handle so much. Your body can only handle so much. So everyday, between 1 and 3, I would nap. I would fall immediately into sleep and wake up feeling like the elephant had moved his right leg to the floor. A little reprieve.
Today I am more well. I don’t need daily naps, well, unless depression comes a knockin’. But I want to put this out there: It is okay to need rest. It is okay if you need to take an hour or two out of your day to nap. Nobody’s judging you (and if they are they aren’t worth your energy to begin with).
Being a mental health warrior is hard work. I know. But you can do it, and if you need to take that elephant off for a few – it’s all good.