I Am A Walking Sleep Disturbance

Another night of sleep and wake. And my kid wasn’t even here so she’s not to blame. I cannot stay asleep and it’s irritating. Though it was almost humorous when I had to get up the second time because Absinthe was gnawing on my fingertips letting me know she was hungry so I had to get up and get out the moist food and stand guard so the big cats didn’t take it from her and Alchemy.

Of course, that meant I was awake at 3 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. Just as I started to, I had a monstrous coughing fit that resulted in agonizing side pain. Which added to my cramps and back pain and kept me tossing and turning and sitting up off and on til nearly five a.m. I eventually took a Xanax just so I could relax enough to drift off eventually. The sun was peeking out by then and the birds were doing their “This is my branch, it is not your branch” chirp.

Sleep disturbance has been a part of my life since I was about ten years old. I’d go to bed and lay there for an hour, two, three. My brain wouldn’t slow down. I’d concoct these stories in my head, like soap operas, and continue them every night because eventually, I’d nod off though had I written it all down I’d have an encyclopedia.

Following that I went into a period where I didn’t want to sleep, at all, and even took truck stop speed to keep awake, for my job, as well as to have enough energy left to do what I enjoyed. Of course, come winter, this would fall to the wayside and I’d become somnolent and never want to be awake. I’d force myself up before nine and be in bed before ten, the depressive lure of sleep that strong. Then would come spring and I’d go manic and run, run, run, until I burned the candle at both ends and zonked out.

It was lather, rinse, repeat, right up until my diagnosis changed and the mood stabilizers were introduced. My Xanax was lowered and that was when the insomnia started. I literally could not sleep. When I did sleep, I’d miss appointments because I couldn’t wake up with three alarms. Then came the 400mg Trazadone, 300mg Seroquel comas. But it was my choice, unlike when Serzone and Risperdal knocked me out for days at a time. I’d “serve” my 12 to 14 hours of consciousness, then take my pills, and embrace my coma. For four years, I did this. Until one day I woke up and realized…I was sleeping my life away. That’s not coping, that’s avoiding. So I weaned myself off of them and for awhile, I started to sleep semi normally.

Occasionally, I’d take Melatonin and it helped. But I kept having to raise the dose and the higher the dose, the worse the morning “hangover” so I even swore that off. I had my daughter and well, fuck all the perfect parents who put babies on  a schedule. My kid would have no part of it, she slept in three hours spurts and would slap herself to stay awake as a newborn. Sleep was in spurts and sometimes I was even too exhausted to nod off when she napped. By the time she was a year old, she was sleeping better and so was I. I thought, oh finally, I’m a normal person who sleeps normally…

Didn’t last long. By age 3, my kid was back to waking up multiple times a night. I was doing it on my own so that meant I woke multiple times a night. And here we are, almost three years later, and it’s the norm rather than the exception. I can’t take sleeping pills because they render me comatose and non functional, not to mention the hangovers. They won’t raise my Xanax. I’m told drinking is eevil. So I run at a sleep deficit daily.

Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it. Irritating. Exhausting. I’d just like to know why it’s been such a life long problem. Wait, I know the answer. Anxiety. Or I drank a soda last week and the caffeine is keeping me awake this week. Or I watched something stimulating. It is always my own fault somehow. Even though it’s been thirty plus years of some sort of dysfunction.

Since the Latarda Incident, my dreams have been fifty shades of fucked up. That doesn’t help me sleep. If dreams are some sort of subconscious thing then apparently, I am still hung up on an apartment I used to live in almost ten years ago. (Which I do not miss and actually look back on as being a prison because it was enclosed in a building with other units and I couldn’t come and go without tiptoeing to avoid making noise.) There are other bizarre dreams that linger for awhile, but then they’re gone from my memory. I just remember how disturbing they are, the vibe lingers. I’m not prone to vivid dreams (aside from the occasional sleep paralysis nightmare which I’ve had since I was a child) so it would seem the meds are tied to it. Fucking Latarda.

On the plus side, now that shark week has arrived, maybe things will start to level out by next week. Hormonal fluctuations with bipolar disorder is a big bucket of imbalanced fucked upness. That, combined with more time passing after going off Latuda…There could be some normalcy in sight. Just worried about this lack of joy in everything, it reeks of depression, not hypomania. The trileptal doesn’t seem to be doing anything harmful or good. I see him Friday. I’m wondering if the Prozac has just conked out. The doctors don’t like to admit this happens with medication but it does, and some of us are prone to it. I suspect on my part it was 12 years of being given nothing but anti depressants which sparked the manic episodes. My body probably just adapted and my chemicals stopped responding. But what do I know, I’m just the crazy patient.

Thing is, mental health care professionals and society at large, mental illness does not mean lack of intelligence. We the patients are probably more well informed on side effects than the doctors are. I learned more from reading the pharmacy insert than my doctor told me. When even the big pharma monster is willing to list a top ten of most common side effects (suicide being number one) yet your doctor says “may make you sleepy and gain  weight.” Then you end up with twenty side effects, want to die, and oopsy. You know what the drug companies call those small numbers of people who have bad reactions? Statistically insignificant. And hey, I am open minded enough to know, okay, three people went suicidal or homicidal but a thousand people are being helped…Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. BUT–EDUCATION AND INFORMATION SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE AND NOT JUST BY PHARMACY INSERTS. Doctors are supposed to first do no harm. By discounting possible side effects, especially without taking into account a person’s medical history, they are doing much harm.

Anyway, that may seem like a diatribe but it’s related because Latuda gave me bad bad dreams, the likes of which I haven’t known since Seroquel and Trazadone. If your medicine that is supposed to make you well makes sleep a nightmarish thing…That’s harm.

I don’t know what the answer to my sleep disturbance is. I wish they’d just give my back my 3mg of Xanax per day. I have a six month stash, which proves I’m not popping them like Tic Tacs. For me, they’re more like Tylenol. I take them when the condition calls for it. And there is no denying my sleep, my anxiety, the paranoia, it all started when the xanax was lowered. Instead, I’ll push myself for days on end until I crack and lower myself to a couple of glasses of wine a night or two a week so I can sleep more than an hour at a time.

Thank you mental health professionals. My life is so much better because you view me as a possible addict rather than an individual.

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7 Responses to “I Am A Walking Sleep Disturbance”

  1. Gotta love those mental health pro’s…. That’s short for prostitute, btw. And the sleep deficits, I hear you; most of my life has been like that too. After the past few nights hypomania and manic wakeful nights, I got hit with a migraine. Fuck yoooooo, brain. And then I typed manic here and this emoticon 💅 came up on the SwiftKey autosuggest thingy and I have no fucking clue what the fuck it is. You got any ideas? And fuck bipolar. Bastard.

    • My first thought was COCKTAIL. I am fairly sure it’s a nail polish bottle and brush, upon closer inspection.

      On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 11:31 AM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:

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  2. I left a shrink once because she found out that I drank occasionally and ripped away my Xanax without bothering to taper it down. Stopping any benzo like that can damage your neurons, I’ve been told (by another shrink), and it is difficult even to taper as they are so very addictive. I had a psychotic break from cutting my Klonopin in half for a couple weeks. This might be the reason for your current sleep problems, maybe not long term.

    • Sounds like the female shrink who took my Xanax away cold turkey, slapped me with Seroquel 25 “for anxiety” and I spent two years in an agoraphobic haze. That was nine years ago. Since then, they’ve dropped me to Xanax 0.5 three times a day so I still have it when I need it and that is the only time I take it. Just think when I was on the higher dose I had no sleep issues so lowering it over the years may be to blame.
      I called Klonopin Tic-Tac-O-Pin because it did nothing for me, nothing.
      I get really tired of the “addictive” arguments. I wouldn’t have a six month stash if I were so addicted I popped Xanax like candy. And the drinking, my old shrink told me a glass of wine at bedtime rather than sleeping pills, now the new regime says no drinking period yet have no problem doling out pills that cause hypnotic states or 12 hour comas with hangovers from hell.
      I liked it better when I wasn’t diagnosed and was just considered weird because none of the professionals can agree on anything and I am forever having to change with their varying opinions. Like mental illness isn’t enough of a curse.

      • I’m not saying everyone becomes addictive, but I certainly do and detoxing from benzodiazepines has caused me the biggest disruption I’ve had in a while.

      • I’d cold turkey Xanax a thousand times before I’d ever cold turkey Effexor or Cymbalta. those were the worst for me. It’s odd how differently everyone responds to everything. Thank goodness we have more than one option.

        On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 2:07 PM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:

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