I think I started realizing (from the push of others' opinions) there was something not right about me (I mean seriously not right) when I was aged 15/16/17... - Yes, 3 years in denial was strongly strife- Immediately after this discovery, only this year, I let it swallow me whole.
When you suffer all time highs (what you guys call mania) and you DON'T acknowledge it, a lot of very strange things happen to you.
Addiction becomes a pretty little friend, along with promiscuity, and zero ability to sleep.. but you won't realize ANY of this at the time, convincing yourself it's a normal thing...Later you will feel like poop, and most likely hate yourself for the plunge you just took, if you remember it. I call it a plunge because when it all crashes into you and explodes.. everything plunges in one direction, down. At least that's how it felt for me. Now I have a whole new appreciation for the expression "What goes up, must come down" It felt like I was trying to piece together the events of someone else's life, because there was no way in hell any of that could have really been me. And boy, did I refuse to believe so.
I remember being 16 and just laying in bed... and laying there.. and laying there.. by the time 12:30am rolled around I would typically get up and clean my room.. organize my drawers, clean my out my closet, remake my bed, clean the living room, watch TV - thank God I had Sky+, watching Channel 5 with deaf signers at the bottom of the screen practically told you that it's way past bedtime. By the time I was done, whatever I could possibly think of doing to tire myself out it would be anywhere between 3:00am-4:00am, I would lay down go to sleep, and hit my alarm at 7:30am to roll out of bed. I look back and can't believe I survived like this.. and shockingly enough, I was not tired.
This insomnia would come in waves, there would be months where I would sleep perfectly fine, and then months where something just like this experience is what would happen.. even to this day sometimes I find myself laying in bed, and I will find hours go by before I actually drift into sub-conscience, (I used to be on Seroquel to aid some sleep, but there is sleeping, then there is not waking up from sleeping. Plunged me straight into the bottom of a whole new deep dark well)
I think the most unusual part about not sleeping was that it didn't bother me. I wasn't tired after all that. I felt 'normal', like I could still actively take on the day. I thought this WAS normal. This is what we call Mania.
"Who needs sleep? Who has time to sleep! There is so much I could be doing or thinking... Why waste my time sleeping?! I have things to do!"
I remember getting anxiety at the thought of sleeping, it was like if I laid down long enough my brain would win.. and sleeping was just me waving the white flag. So I would stay busy - silence was the scariest thing of all, I don't know if it is like this for anyone else, but this was a serious problem for me.. and sometimes.. still is. Whether it be coursework or painting something, I'd avoid the bed as much as I could. I figured if I slept, things wouldn't get done in time, then paranoia decided to play a rough game.
I'm sure not sleeping was at least part of the reason I developed other interesting habits - *cough* cough*... alcohol... When it felt like I was about to crash, alcohol brought me back up. Another entry.
I could say it started with my morning coffee, I could say highly sugared drinks were the next step, and I could say from there it was just a cocktail of whatever kept me as far away from sleep as possible.. I could say a lot of things.. BUT.... I want to save the topic of alcohol for another entry.
All in all it doesn't matter what you say either to yourself or to someone else...Sleep is important. REALLY important. When we don't sleep properly our brain malfunctions, signals aren't sent properly, nor are they received properly.. we shut down, (unless fuelled by something else- Elinah, leave it for another entry!) our serotonin (and other spectacular brain chemicals) gets out of whack.
We NEED our sleep!
Mania is a sleep killer... we think we can escape it, or live without it, we want to keep going, keep doing, keep accomplishing... ultimately we want to keep moving.
Sometimes I used to think mania and depression were fighting inside me and the reason my mania kept me going for so long was because it knew if I sat down just long enough, depression would come and it would take over the winning position (this again leads to mixed episodes, where instead of fighting it's like they've decided to dance.. the fox trot.)
Please remember to sleep.. take the necessary actions to get proper sleep, talk to your doctor, go to a nutrition store, do something. I can't stress this enough.
Lack of sleep ultimately leads to insanity (or a form of it)
I'll leave my sleep article here.
The moral of the story is: RESPECT YOUR SLEEP.. LOVE IT.. CHERISH IT.. YOU NEED IT!