3:00AM

Kitty-Filled Life

It’s a little after 3:00AM now.  I’ve been up since 1:30 after four hours of sleep—despite my never-fail sleep cocktail of Xanax and Benadryl.  It’s February.

The one good thing about nights like this, when rapid cycling and mixed states turn my days and nights inside out, is that I don’t have to worry about getting up to go to work.  I remember, years ago, trying to talk myself back to sleep. Before any diagnosis told me this might be part of my “normal,” before doctors, and my work ethic, and the State agreed that I was no longer employable, I fretted over my sleeplessness and dreaded the morning.  I know most of us have had nights where we finally drop off at 5:00 in the morning only to have the alarm go off at 6:00.  It’s a horrible, rock-in-the-gut feeling.

Now I just get up.  Open the windows to let the cold, fresh air wash the stale taste of insomnia out of the apartment, stick my favorite mug in the microwave and sip chai while I putter on the computer.  In a few minutes, I’ll close the windows and pull out my plush throw, rearrange the cats on my chair, and read for a while.  When I get sleepy, I’ll go back to bed.  It doesn’t matter anymore when that happens.

That freedom is exquisite.  The absence of that particular stress is like a Christmas present, an emotional gift card that keeps on giving.  It makes the discomfort of this spell easier to bear.

I’m trying to be more conscious of how winter torques my bipolar disorder.  Fellow blogger-friend, Kitt O’Malley (and what a foin Irish name, that is) just posted a clinical piece about the relationship between BP and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  It was the first thing I read when I sat down with my chai.  (Synchronicity is alive and well in my spinny corner of the world.)  It’s always nice to know I’m not alone in my otherness, that there are folks who go through the same kinds of extra grief this time of year, that a committee somewhere labeled it.

It’s the little things that help me keep going when I really don’t want to, little comforts, little efforts.  I give my light box one more try and sit down to make a card—like the one at the top of this post.  I haul my ass to the laundromat, normally a place I love, but now just one more chore I can’t quite accomplish.  But I do it, and the gentle rhythm of the dryers, the warm scent of clean, comforts me.  I let Richard Armitage read to me in the car, his facile voice assuming dozens of characters in a novelization of Hamlet, and it comforts me.

Now the chai and the soothing motion of fingers on a keyboard, the wandering off to read a bit of Rumi, the quiet trust of my sleeping cats all conspire with the space I’ve made for acceptance.  I feel sleep sliding up behind me.  It’s 5AM, and I don’t own an alarm clock anymore.

There is always something to be grateful for.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cabrogal
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 05:48:25

    Birdsong ain’t so sweet when you hear it while you’re still trying to get to sleep.

    I was pretty lucky to be declared unfit for work in 2007 because by the end of that year I’d learned to my surprise that I hadn’t yet hit rock bottom and still had some falling to do. Sleep was absolutely vital to me and I needed to be able to grab it whenever I could, so retiring my alarm clock was perhaps the most effective therapeutic intervention I found during my decade of darkness.

    These days I find I have a new alarm clock though. A fluffy organic one that lands on my face shortly after dawn most mornings. He’s the one on the left. Fortunately it only takes a few pats to reset the snooze function for another day.

    Reply

  2. Michelle at The Green Study
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 07:43:58

    Glad that you have the freedom to let things come and go on their own schedule. I still have a sleep schedule, but during the day, I’m so glad to be working at home and up against no timetable but my own.

    Reply

  3. ljcriswell
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 08:43:17

    I have the same types of nights as you. It could have been me describing my sleep problems. I also just get up for a while. I do have to get up at 6am on weekdays to make my daughter’s lunch and take my son to school, but I can get back in bed right after. I love your use of words.

    Reply

  4. Ocean Bream
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 10:03:20

    It is good that you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn unless you want to. It’s a soothing thought, somehow. When you wrote about ‘sipping chai while you putter on your computer’ it gave me a sense of peace. I have terrible insomnia. Night after night I lie awake under the skylight, waiting for the stars to shine less bright, or the blackness to give way to the deep purple, then the dark blue and lighter and lighter until the sun is shining and one wonders how it is that when the sky is blue, space seems like a dream. An unreality.
    Not owning an alarm clock is indeed something to be grateful for ❤ I wish you more happy days, Sandy.

    Reply

  5. Kitt O'Malley
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 19:40:37

    Great post. Thanks for the link and the plug. Tis the season…

    Reply

  6. pegoleg
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 21:46:23

    Interesting link between BP and SAD. I’m not really surprised though. My sister always struggles with SAD more than the average bear, but I think it affects many of us.

    Reply

  7. Littlesundog
    Feb 18, 2015 @ 20:57:45

    I still get up in the mornings with Forrest to fix him a good breakfast, but whether I sleep during the day or I am up all night, it doesn’t matter. It’s a wonderful thing not to have a schedule. I always think these schedules of everything society tells us is appropriate is a load of BS. We should rest when we feel the need and eat when we are hungry. Even in the workplace, it would be nice if non-morning folks could have a later schedule and morning people an early shift. I believe life should be lived more spontaneously and in an element we flourish in rather than being forced into a situation that isn’t fitting.

    Reply

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