In my years of trying to figure out how this disease works itself into my life, I have noticed an interesting little quirk.
First, let me just say that there is a ton of research out there, and basically every doctor, social worker, therapist, and person with bipolar has agreed, sleep is a huge factor in mood stability.
A lot of people when they are depressed will just sleep all day long. I am no different. In fact, that is the best way to tell if I am depressed or entering a down swing, I will lay down a lot, talk about how exhausted I am, or just be unable to do things due to sleep. On top of that, when I stay home from work, or have a depressed Saturday or whatever, I will spend the entire day in bed. My wife will ask me what I do all day and I tell her I sleep. The amount of sleep you can give your body when you are depressed is staggering.
So it is actually important to make sure you get enough sleep, and make sure you don’t sleep in excess. It is a very delicate process and requires a bit of attention. It is especially hard when you have a toddler. Your sleep can be devastated by reality at times. What are you gonna do?
None of this is what I started this post about, though. The quirk has to do with sleep but it is probably not what you might expect.
For me, suicidal thoughts are most prevalent when I am tired.
I really don’t have any clue why. And this is something I figured out very recently. All of my suicide attempts happened at night, except one that happened on a day off work where I slept all day, and once after drinking. I can feel my mind drift to suicide when I’m my most sluggish. Random thoughts will crop up here and there, and I’m not suicidal everytime I’m tired, but you catch my drift.
As I type this, I am very tired after a long few days, and I want to go to bed, and I have been thinking pretty seriously about suicide.
I have no evidence to support this, but I feel like in some ways being tired simulates depression in your brain. I’m not depressed right now, but I am tired and feel pretty lowly because of that. I know I’m not depressed because if I took a nap, I would wake up just fine. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.
It is hard telling the difference between being tired because you are depressed or being depressed because you are tired. Maybe one day I will find out that they are actually linked the way I suspect they are.