There’s this phase of existence since I’ve been medicated that I cannot decide if it’s the medicine’s fault, or depression’s fault, or both. I get a couple of days, or maybe a week or two, where I’m absolutely zombie dragging for the morning, and maybe part of the afternoon as well. I can still get things done, but I’m fuzzy and clumsy. I’m super-sleepy and a bit tired too, and there’s a part of my brain murmuring how nice it would be to go back to sleep, take a nap, something. It’s good on paper, but in practice? I have never gotten on with naps.
Even as a kid, I’d avoid naptime like the plague. I couldn’t get to sleep, or I’d try to convince my mother time had passed by wandering out stretching and yawning (five minutes after being put down, so it didn’t really work). When I got to school and there was mando naptime, I started staying up until 4am and getting up at 6am. That’s… that’s not really ideal for a six year old, yo. And then I’d catch myself occasionally passing out after school to make up for the lack, thereby perpetuating the not-good sleep pattern. Moving to another state and another school that didn’t have naptime was fantastic, because it enabled me to reset to better sleeping patterns (and got me away from a fucking horrible babysitter who also forced naptimes so she could sit on her lazy ass watching TV).
I managed to get by without any real sleep issues until I got to high school. My health and energy levels dropped to nothing, and sleep was not my friend. Insomnia would keep me up all night, I’d pass out in class, and eventually resorted to a lot of pill-popping to try and keep myself vaguely alert and out of trouble (most teenagers have some problems because their body clock is out of whack; mine was pretty darn severe).
Then there was the Air Force, and shift working hell. I actually love working mids or nights, but days were murder. I’d have to get up around 3 in the morning to be vaguely safe to get to work for 6:30am, then couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight. I had night terrors, I popped many a pill, I drank myself stupid in the hopes of passing out. If I took a nap on purpose or accident, I would wake up feeling even worse than usual (and default was horrible). I pointed out the rotation was the worst possible one for healthy employees (every eight weeks; it takes a body eight weeks to get used to a sleep pattern), and got told to be grateful that it was that stretched out. I begged to stay on mids or nights for the sake of my health, and was resoundingly shot down. But that’s the military for you – one is supposed to shut up and color.
While naps aren’t quite as horrible now as they used to be pre-child (which reset my probable endometriosis to a more reasonable point), I still tend to feel pretty crappy after them. So while it might reset the grog factor to take a nap some day, I’m not completely sure about it either. It worked once, but not the next time. I shouldn’t be in any sort of sleep deficit, because unlike days of yore, I have well established bed and rising time; this is a vital part of good mental health, especially for those of us with bipolar. It feels dicey to mess with that, but the temptation is surely there as long as this grog cloud hangs around.