The Importance of Sleep

Many of the medications I’m on have that handy-dandy side effect of drowsiness. I recently got prescribed a new medication for my nerve pain, and it makes me ridiculously sleepy. I lay down, and try to sleep but I can’t. I can’t fall asleep. Last night I took a melatonin, fell asleep, and still ended up waking up a dozen times. I tried to take a nap today but just lay there, staring at the wall. It’s so absurd that it’s almost funny. How can anyone be as tired in mind, body, and soul, and not be able to sleep?

Sleep is absolutely crucial to me. It affects my moods immediately, grips tight and doesn’t let up until I get enough sleep to be myself again. When I fall behind on sleep, I get low and angry. My patience disappears and my body physically hurts from exhaustion. I start to leave paper towels on the counters after washing my hands and set dishes down to be left until my husband cleans them up. I leave trash all over the house and wear the same clothes for several days. That’s just the beginning of my low.

My mind starts to go first. I lose time. I look at the clock, expecting it to be ten in the morning, and really it’s two in the afternoon. My husband will try and talk with me, but I’m slow in my responses. I only ever realize this when my husband repeatedly asks me if I’m feeling okay. It’s then, that I realize I’m slipping into a low. My body starts to feel as though I have the flu. Everything aches and it feels as though I’m moving through quicksand. It takes an enormous amount of energy to move, like you’re trying to push your hand through wet cement just to pick up your phone. That’s why so much trash piles up, why I can’t push through the cement to open the pantry door and throw away my paper towels. It’s too much, and I don’t have the strength.

Luckily, my husband understands. And when I say that, I mean he gets it. He comes home to a mess, and instead of getting mad, he starts to worry. If I’m hurting bad enough to leave trash and paper towels all over, he knows that I’m in a low. He sticks it out like a champ. He asks when I’ve showered last, asks when I last ate or if I need anything. I can relax and focus my attention on climbing out of the low, because I know he steps up and takes over with the girls. I push through the day and take care of the girls until he comes home, and then begin to focus my energy on my inner fight. I couldn’t do any of it without him.

I’m worried. I’m worried that since I can’t sleep, I’m going to get low. I can still feel it lurking in the back of my mind. But I can also feel a high coming on. I feel a small buzz running along, just under the skin. It’s the seesaw coming back to bite me. Is my lack of sleep because of a high, or is it due to a low? Am I currently stable or twirling on a tightrope? Unfortunately one of the sayings I constantly repeat is, “What the frack is happening to me?!” Today I have been asking myself that question over and over again. I want to know, I need to know.

The worst part about the seesaw, is that I’m never sure where I am mentally. With the roller coaster, there are steady climbs up to manic, and the lows tended to have a plateau in the beginning. But the seesaw is quick, and a lot of the time I don’t know if I’m manic or low until it’s too late. One perk of the seesaw, is that I know whatever mood it is that’s coming, will hopefully be over quickly.

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