Sleep Specialists

Like all people who live in Bi-Polar Land (i.e. all of us who have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 or Type 2), sleep is very important to maintaing our stability. Because of this I read with interest anything I come across that 'sleep specialists' write about getting a good night sleep. I wish I didn't....

Before I start venting my frustration, I will say this: the advice specialists give about establishing a sleep routine is good common sense stuff and I am certain it helps 'normal' people whose brain operates as one would expect it to.  

But herein lies the rub: in Bi-Polar Land our brains do whatever they feel like doing, whether we like it or not, and there is very little we can do about it. We often feel as if we had someone else's head screwed on to our body. Add the fact that bipolar disorder is a systemic condition - meaning that it affects our whole system - and you start to get a feel for what it is like to live in Bi-Polar Land. Our brain feels like it belongs to somebody else and our body rebels on a regular basis. In times of crisis, it would be more accurate to say that our body is in a constant state of rebellion...

So back to sleep:

  1. I am supposed to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time whilst making sure I have the amount of sleep that is right for me. 
  2. I am also supposed to reset my body clock by going to bed at 10.30pm and getting up at 8.30am. 

Sounds simple... providing you don't live in Bi-Polar Land.

When I try to impose a 'sleep routine' on myself I fail miserably. My brain/body combo will not play ball. Some nights I can hardly keep my eyes open at 8.30pm and on other nights 3.00am comes along and I am still wide awake.

You would think that I have enough experience as a Bi-Polar Lander to know better but NO! Last night I forced myself to go to bed at 10.30pm. As a result, I was up again at 1.00am because I could no longer stand the tossing and turning, the restless legs, and the general agitation that crept up on me crecendo until I gave up and got up. I ended up going to sleep at around 3.00am. I would have been better off staying up until I felt like going to sleep. I would have avoided that awful frustration and the sense of failure I always feel when my sleeping plan falls apart. This morning, I forced myself out of bed by 9.30am. As a result, I have not woken up properly and have felt strangely zombified all day.  I haven't managed to do very much and I feel frustrated as hell with my usual irritating sense of failure.

Now I know what sleep specialists will say: you've got to keep trying. I HAVE kept trying for SIX YEARS! Perhaps I should have also mentioned that my brain/body combo isn't the only actor in this comedy routine of mine: the medication I take also plays its part - in fact, it acts more as a director than an actor in my little play...

Right now I could cheerfully strangle anybody who gives advice about sleep patterns. Not only that but I could also cheerfully strangle MYSELF for listening to it.

It might be safer for me to kick the cat. She'll give me back as good as she gets and she won't involve the police in our little dispute!  :D

PS:  Please do not report me to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). I only kick the cat metaphorically!

Hi Garielle,well said.These

Hi Garielle,well said.These clowns just don"t understand what it is like.I have been having trouble sleeping for about 1 month.sleeping pills don't help much at this point.I am not manic or at least full blown call the van to come and get me manic.I just can't get a good nights sleep.Like you i go to bed with the best of intentions,but how long can you stare at the ceiling.

I probably could up my medication like every doctor in the world want's you to.No i will continue to fight this thing untill one day it passes and life will be normal for a day or two.Did i say normal?

Thank you Todd

You are braver than I am!  After months of 'trying' to sleep and of living with the consequences of not enough sleep, I would take ANYTHING for this to stop.  I must  say the mood stabilisers do reasonable job if I ignore the side effects.  At the moment I am 'playing' with dosages of TWO modd stabilisers and that seems to help me, for now anyway.  We keep hoping don't we......

Much love and encouragement to you my friend.

Gabrielle x

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