I think a vital part of mental health that is often overlooked and is seen as a major problem is sleep. A lot of spouses who date bipolar people and their families are deeply affected by how much or how little we sleep. At the moment I am kind of at the whims of the bipolar mind in terms of my cycle. I am neither depressed nor manic, but oh the depression is coming alright. So in the meantime I am fairly stable with some manic tendencies. I am craving to be the center of attention in the throws of a worldwide pandemic that is corona virus and I am envisioning myself training for my 5K race and running everyday, even though I am recovering from major foot surgery. I have so much energy to give yet nothing to put my energy into… so what do I do? I sleep.
I am not talking about getting an extra hour of sleep a night rather than getting a normal eight hours a night. I am talking about sleeping 15 hours a day on the days I don’t work and it’s really starting to affect my relationship. I can fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, not even a boring conversation, but a stimulating one and if there is a comfortable chair I’m sitting in or if I am laying in bed, trying to have a conversation with me is a lost cause. I can fall asleep at work, in the car, just about anywhere at any given time, even if I feel fairly “awake”.
My doctor says it’s pretty normal for someone with bipolar to want to sleep so much and that working out should help. With the gyms being closed and having had major foot surgery in October of 2019 and getting injured in August of 2018, I haven’t worked out in about a year and a half. Which sounds terrible but I walk when I can and I am slowly becoming more active and have lost ten pounds since November and have kept that weight off from when I was my heaviest. I think working out will help my fatigue, but I am not sure if I will still want to sleep my 15 hours a day even after I get into a routine of working out.
Especially with my depression on the verge of taking over my head space, I know I won’t have any motivation to work out and I will only have energy to sleep. I am on pretty heavy anti-depressants but that just makes it so I don’t act on my suicidal tendencies, never moderates just regular day to day depression. I am having a hard time explaining to my boyfriend why I require so much sleep because it’s not normal, even for someone who is mentally ill. I never sleep through the night, no matter what I do. I wake up every 2-3 hours for an hour or so and then I go back to sleep and take my boyfriend to work at 4 a.m. and then I can’t go back to sleep and then when I do go back to sleep.. well shit! It’s time for me to go to work! Then I sleep during my hour long lunch and struggle to stay awake staring at my computer screen all day, dozing off on occasion unless I am slamming down energy drinks. This isn’t normal and I need help.
Even when I am manic, I can still sleep for about 8-10 hours versus the normal 15 when I am depressed. You may wonder why I am only bipolar II rather than I and it’s because I sleep too much to be considered the more severe form of bipolar. Most bipolar I people can go without sleep at all for days and so for me to sleep an inconsistent 8 hours a night during the mania, I am doing pretty good for myself!
So, all things considered, I am pretty stable all around in my bipolar except for my sleep patterns. I have to keep reminding myself on how blessed I really am because it really doesn’t get much better than this. I began writing this post in a very doubtful and unsure place and now I am very grateful for where I am at and it’s only gonna get better!
Til next time,