Sleep. Boy do I miss my dear friend Mr. Sandman. You see, there wasn’t room for the two to be in Depressions life anymore. So eventually, one of them had to get the boot. I bet you know which one got the boot. Remember, Depression is a selfish, gluttonous little illness. And he has to have you all to himself, at least mine does, whether you or anyone else likes it or not.
The loss of sleep is normally one of the tell-tale clues that you might be depressed. Laying yourself to bed each night becomes an exhausting chore. You know you are tired. Your body and soul are screaming for the peace of rest. But your mind is always on the go. Of course it’s normal to have a constant outpour of thoughts, right before you go to bed. That is just your body’s way of unwinding. But generally, after you do wind down a little bit, your mind gradually declines downwards and allows for that much needed rest it needs in order to thrive and survive. Give or take each individuals habit.
I can’t seem to console my mind to get an actual good nights rest anymore. But I’ve managed to sleep in short intervals. Cat naps, I guess you can say. My mind eventually caves in from the sleep deprivation that the insufficient napping doesn’t seem to provide. And when I’m lucky to have one of those episodes come to me, I can finally sleep like a rock.
One of the worst feelings I have been experiencing upon awakening is, an over whelming amount of sadness that will envelop and consume my thoughts. The first thing that I do when I wake up is cry. Uncontrollably so. Knowing that this wasn’t all a dream. That the emotions I had and still have, are right where I left them when I dozed away. My eyes then open to that nasty little demon (Depression) sitting on my chest saying, “I’m still here! See? Can’t you tell by all this weight I’m pressing upon your chest and shoulders? I can sit forcibly harder if you would like. Now… wake up sleepy head, so I can play!”
It is such a raw and emotional feeling to have. To wake up, only to have no hope anywhere in site. The actual feeling can leave me to believe as if my throat is closing up. As if that miserly demon is wrapping his long tendrils around my windpipe, leaving me in gasping breaths. Wondering if maybe I might have something inside my esophagus. But coughing or clearing my throat doesn’t seem to fix the problem. I soon learned later on that, these were panic attacks I was experiencing. Waking up in these cold sweats, shaking and trembling, was now another little ugly monster that was rearing its head in my mind. Sharing my thoughts. And wouldn’t you know? Depression actually stepped aside and said, “Welcome to the party! Kick up a seat!” What an exasperating feeling to have! Panic attacks. Just one more thing I didn’t want to have on my list of mental disorders.
I thought maybe I could beat him. My demon that is. When it comes to trying to actually get some sleep. I would take over the counter sleeping pills. 2 was the recommended dosage. It worked! But then….I had to eventually had to take 3. Then 4. Then 5. Then 6. Now 7, per dosage. My body has become so immune to sleeping pills that, taking 7 doesn’t seem to do much for me anymore. I just get drowsy. But on the rare occasion when sleepiness occurs… I get excited. I rush on over to my nice comfy bed, hop in and throw a pillow over my head and wait. I usually get up within an hour, if I notice sleep has decided to be a no show. And doctor’s don’t seem to want to prescribe sleeping tablets for their depressed patients. Which I can understand, to a degree. And Psychiatrists say you don’t need them in order to get a good nights sleep. Just eat healthy, exercise, get out and soon your sleeping will get back into it’s normal habit once again. They give a regimen that seems to be the holy grail on “fixing”. But in the meantime, they will write you a controlled prescription. Only take as needed. And Boy, do I need! Everything that has been given, usually never works for me. The dosage is either too small for my immune system or, I end up taking more of the pill per dosage, just so the darned things to work. Because apparently, they know my body and mind, much more than I do.(Can you catch my sarcasm in that sentence?) Which then kind of defeats the purpose of therapy and psychiatrists altogether, if you ask me. I just need someone to trust and listen!
Most of the professionals that I have seen, don’t seem to take the time and effort to actually listen. I’m not saying that all the professionals out there are like this. This is just my experience and what I’ve been through. And what my experience has left me to believe. I know they can’t wave a magical little wand and say your cured. And I know you can’t rely on others to fix you and your problems that you yourself (and depression) have created together. They are not of a higher being and they don’t have all the answers. But I’ve come to think and believe, that they feel they are talking to the disease more and not the real you. So they will decide what is best and how to proceed with this. Which is completely understandable, to a degree. They have a professional development in this type of field, which you don’t after all. But they have to also realize….my illness doesn’t give me much for patience anymore. I comprehend you know about the illness and how it works. The signs, the symptoms, your textbook words on what to do, etc…But do you truly understand? Have you lived it? Felt it, tasted it, grasped it? True deep, dark, uncontrollable depression? Trust your patients as much as you can. Let go and believe in us.
Living becomes bleaker and bleaker as each day passes. As each session feels far and few in between. Everything seems to linger on and it feels as if therapy and psychiatry, is going absolutely nowhere. And pretty soon, It will allow the thoughts to just rear its ugly head and consume. I finally quit going altogether. You see….those days, hours, minutes and even seconds, counted for something. The slowness of time dragged on until I could see them again for their advice and help. It was a lifeline that I clung so desperately onto. But in the mean time apart, it allowed depression to tell me that you are a waste of time and money. That you are just another client on their list to see, so they can get paid, go home to their traditional little lives and homes and await to return to their routine the next day. But I promise, I’m in here. Somewhere. And sometimes my voice can be allowed to speak. But you have to take that chance. That leap of faith. That time. Just look into my eyes and feel my soul cry out for help to you. You will begin to know the difference in between. If it is me speaking or the illness. Maybe I just need to be locked away. Managed and tended for like a newborn babe. It sure does feel like time is going backward. And pretty soon, I won’t be able to manage anything on my own. All the simple things that an average adult person can do in their life.
At the moment, I have to keep track of the sleeping pills I take throughout the day. Writing the exact times in my journal. Otherwise I can forget easily. If I take my dosage too early, my heart begins to flutter, which then brings on a full blown panic attacks that breathing techniques don’t seem cure. The racing thoughts will leave me with, “This is it, I took to much this time. The lights in my mind are going to finally fade out, leaving me to die in such a desolate looking state of poor hygiene. For that’s how I imagine death. Like a lightbulb whose filament pops out and dies in its process. Blackness.
It seems to have become more of an addiction, for me seeking this deep sleep that my mind craves so badly for. I desperately want to leave these thoughts and cares behind and tuck it all away in the dark corners of my psyche for awhile. The routine I have grown accustomed daily to now is, 6 sleeping pills (25mg per of Diphenhydramine) every 3 hours throughout the day. Usually the 30th pill allows me to gather some rest. I’ve allowed it to spiral out of control. That is how I live my days and nights anymore. Whenever my mind will allow some sleep, then that is what is considered my night. I know eventually, in time, my heart will give out on me. I feel the flutters in my heartbeat more and more each day, which leaves me gasping for breath. But it’s the chance I’m just willing to take. I’m a much more somber person when I’m drugged behind the mask of diphenhydramine. It dulls and quiets depressions’ ugly voice. And for some reason what other prescribed medications won’t do. In a way, it can be referred to that classic movie, “Drop Dead Fred”, if you have ever seen it. Lizzie has an imaginary friend, whose name is Drop Dead Fred. Only she can see him when she is a little girl. As she grows older, she ends up taking pills that eventually wipe and fade Fred away out of her life for good. He eventually disappears. In a way, the analogy of the movie is a close example of my little demon. It’s my only way of feeling in control of my mind. To repress so many sad thoughts that cycle in and out throughout the miserable days. So most of the time….you will normally find me looking at a clock. Waiting for that three hour delay to be up, just to see if the next round will actually conk me out. And hoping to find a moments reprieve from the bleak world depression has created. Sleep. Boy do I miss my dear ‘ol friend Sleep….