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Glass Sleeper

Posted Oct 29 2008 5:06pm

Day two of the melatonin. Took it at 8 as scheduled. It’s 11 and I should be going to bed soon. I feel sleepy but not exhausted. The Seroquel, the temazepam, they made me feel drugged up. This doesn’t feel like a drug at all. It’s way too early to tell if this is going to work, but ladies and gentlemen, we may have found a winner.

I haven’t felt like this in years. Tired without being tired out. It has to be more than a decade. It’s the kind of thing you don’t realise you’re missing. Then again I don’t catch onto these things quickly - it was a year before I realised that three-and-a-half hours a night wasn’t normal and the realisation was a big part of my spiral down into depression.

I don’t know if I like feeling this way. In some ways I enjoyed my sleep problems. Swapping the crystal clarity of sleeplessness for this fuzzed-out warmth? I’ve been scared for the last couple of years that maybe I was the cause of my sleep problems, that I wasn’t going to sleep because I liked the way it felt and didn’t want to sleep normally. But I think it was both - I kind of liked it, but couldn’t really do it any other way. The drugs I tried didn’t work, but I didn’t really want them to.

I guess the word I’m looking for is ambivalent. I relied on sleep-deprivation as self-medication for the longest time. I keep telling people that sleep-deprivation is like speed and then explaining that I’ve never actually taken speed. Sleep-deprivation never made me feel tired. I’d be exhuasted and I’d ache all over, but once I’d properly woken up I couldn’t get back to sleep for another 18 hours or so. It’s addictive. And it treated my depression. Maybe it only had this effect because I’m bipolar and it induced just enough hypomania to even things out a bit.

So why wouldn’t I use it as a coping mechanism? And therapy taught me that we don’t just discard our coping mechanisms when they’re not useful any more. Why wouldn’t I want to sleep like a normal person? But then normal people don’t cut themselves to feel better and I did that, so maybe I shouldn’t look for rational explanations for it.

I’m going to have to learn how to sleep again. I really think the melatonin is going to work and even though I’m happy about that and it should make my life a whole lot easier, there’s a hint of sadness there too. I’m not my sleep patterns, but it’s sure felt like it at times. And now I have to be just like everyone else?

It’s like when I started taking the lamotrigine and realised that it was making me better. It’s a lot of responsibility to take. It’s not just that I’m responsible for making sensible sleep choices now that I can actually do that, it’s also that I’m responsible for making the most of the way those choices affect my life. I’ve always claimed that the lack of sleep patterns was holding me back - if I don’t use the new sleep pattern to improve my life then I was wrong; it wasn’t the sleep patterns, it was me.

But I should probably think about these things when I’m not so tired.

I hope the melatonin really does work.

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