I overslept last night. I think I woke up at my standard time this morning but then I, lazily and foolishly, turned over and went back to sleep. This seemed like a good idea in the moment, as I love sleep, but in the long run, my experience says that oversleeping with bipolar disorder is bad, bad, bad.
I got up and got into my bipolar routine as per the usual. Then, I was watching TV while eating breakfast and something a little sad happened on the show. An animal was hurt and killed. And I hate it when animals are hurt. Humans, somehow, you get used to seeing die on TV but innocent animals are so much harder for me to take. It might just be me.
But this sent into production a stream of tears and even sobbing. I was in such pain because of this tiny, make believe thing. And I know it’s the bipolar, the bipolar depression, specifically, rearing its ugly head. And I know it’s because I overslept. And, naturally, I feel like an absolute imbecile for letting it happen.
Bipolar Disorder and Oversleeping
As we all know by now, bipolar disorder is a circadian rhythm disorder. This means it deleteriously affects the body’s rhythms and this is most evidence in our sleep-wake cycles. This is why sleep in bipolar disorder is so critical. This is why the same bedtime every night and the same wake time every morning is of such absolute importance. We absolutely must create a standard rhythm to function as our bodies’ simply won’t do it for those of us with bipolar disorder. And oversleeping, is, in my experience, as detrimental as lack of sleep (although perhaps in a different way).
Of course, I know that. I’ve written about it and I’ve paid the price from experience. And when I give talks I tell people that sleep is the number one influencer of the next day’s mental health. And, yet, still I fuck up. Still I make mistakes. Still I don’t do what it is I know I need to do. All because of the lure of an extra hour’s sleep. It truly is idiocy on my part.
I, literally, cannot stop crying. I fell to my knees and begged someone to make the puddle brackish water forming beneath my eyes to stop getting bigger. This, too, is foolish on my part as there is no being, living or dead, that can make one iota of difference.
Lessons from Oversleeping and Bipolar
There are only three things to do at this point, and I know it. The first is, in spite of how I’ve written about myself and my choices here, to try not to beat myself up for making a mistake. Humans are like that. Bipolars are just humans. We make mistakes. We make choices that aren’t the best. Acceptance is the best medicine for that and not further self-flagellation.
And, secondly, I will put this bipolar and oversleeping experience in my bank of bipolar experiences and remember it the next time sleep’s addictive lure calls. I will remind myself of what is happening now and how I don’t want that to happen again. I will use this experience to make better choices in the future.
And until then, I will hunker down and pray for daylight. Today will be a very, very long, unfriendly day but I’ll survive it, and all the tears, and be here tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will set the alarm and be stricter. Because as much as I hate that lifestyle, I hate the cost of not having it more.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.