One of the symptoms of Hypomania (Bipolar II) is trouble sleeping. Fierce insomnia can torment the mind, burn the eyes, and interrupt the daily life of an individual. Even with medication, an individual that suffers from hypomania will have an acute memory of the history prior to medication that can be hard to forget or shake from the mind. This can cause anxiety, confusion, and turmoil that influence the ability for a mood stabilizer to properly work.
I wasn’t diagnosed with hypomania till I was in my late twenties, hence, I spent the majority of my life living with insomnia without knowing such disrupted sleep was not normal. I became accustomed to it and, due to my lack of education on Bipolar II, I learned to do my best to handle it. As a kid I had a bedtime which would cause me anxiety knowing that I would be left awake for a couple hours which meant that an imposed “bedtime” didn’t mean I’d go to bed. Even falling asleep after trying for hours didn’t mean I’d get a full night of rest. I would periodically wake up and stress when I saw the clock read 3 am and I didn’t have to get up for school till 6 am but knew that the chances of going back to bed was most likely not in the cards.
Now, even with a mood stabilizer, I find myself haunted from my childhood experience of sleep. Waking up at 3 am triggers something deep in me that brings me back to those feelings of anxiety and turmoil. My childhood experience finds its way to my bed and I have to do my best to shake it off. Does it work? Not so much. But I do my best to recognize that I will have a memory of a lifetime of insomnia that inevitably will taint my sleep. I have come to learn that just because you have meds to tweak the brain and help treat insomnia, the memories of a lifetime of suffering from insomnia may never leave your bed.
Child awake image available from Shutterstock.