when not sleeping leads to madness

one good bumblebee, flickr

one good bumblebee, flickr

The first time I got manic, ever, I was in college. One morning, my junior year, I woke up around 5 a.m. with so much energy I was compelled to rearrange all the books on the shelf beside my bed in alphabetical order. The strangest thing about bipolar disorder, or one of the stranges things about it, is that sleeplessness is both a cause and a symptom of mania.

What may surprise you is that reduced sleep isn’t just a symptom of mania – a short night can actually precipitate manic and hypomanic episodes. Studies have found that 25 to 65 percent of bipolar patients who had a manic episode had experienced a social rhythm disruption prior to the episode. “Social rhythm disruption” is some disturbance in routine affecting the sleep/wake cycle; it can be as simple as staying up extra late to watch a movie on television or getting wrapped up in an interesting online chat session, or as serious as being unable to sleep due to a family member’s serious illness or death. –bipolar on about.com

I know that I need to log off this computer, find my pills, and take them. Extra Lunesta and Seroquel.  I know that’s what I need. So why, then, am I still typing?


One thought on “when not sleeping leads to madness

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your diary of what is like to have Bi-polar, I can relate to nearly everything you have and are going through,
    Although I have not been diagnosed with Bi-Polar but several forms of schizo related personality disorders for example schizo-effective and more recently typical personality disorders, along with OCD, Depression, anxiety and psychosis, I have been put on Zyprexa, Solian and also Seroquel,
    I was taking 400 mg of Seroquel for over a year and then I started getting really bad Sleep Paralasis, (sorry about the spelling) every time I tried to get off the Seroquel I too ended up getting manic episodes, Full of energy, mind racing at a million miles an hour, thinking I could do everything and anything, so many great idea’s, but way to hyperactive to actually sit down and write down the idea’s and concepts, because they would come and go so quickly,
    Couldn’t sleep at all, after a couple of days I also felt the sleep deprived body feelings, my body was completely worn out, but my mind would just keep racing faster and faster, I would close my eyes but that would make it even worse as those thoughts became visual,
    and then I my anxiety would kick in, I should say start instead of would because its still happening to me now, I start getting paranoid, my idea’s and energy starts fueling my anxiety, the paranoid thoughts get worse, I feel like I going completely insane,
    then I have no choice, I have to take the seroquel, and the xanax for the anxiety,
    I’ve been on a medication bender for the past 5 years,
    At one stage I was on about 17 different medications, and I was so miserable and pissed off with the weight gain, the idea’s and energy going to waste as the drugs would just nullify all my motivation, so I ended up smoking weed,
    I was a total mess, how the hell I managed to stay out of a nuthouse and also travel around the world with my 10 weeks supply of drugs and get through customs is still a mystery to me even to this day,
    I ended up having lap banding done in March 2009, and its been a total waste of money,
    trying telling a surgeon who knows nothing about the side effects of these drugs i.e the weight gain, and that the band isn’t working and he tells you “I have other patients on medications who have lost weight with the band and still taking there meds” well fuck him, about 6 weeks ago after 6 months of constant vomiting after dinner each night I called his office to have all the Fluid taken out of the band, but as a useless bastard he is along with his nurse they just happened to be interstate, so I had no choice but to go to the local hospital and wait 4 hours to see a doctor to take out the fluid so I could actually eat again,
    At the same time I had (the previous week) increased my dosage of Seroquel to 600mg, and my sleep paralazis was happening every night and scaring the crap out me)
    So I decided that enough was enough, I dropped my seroquel dosage back to 200 mg, but still the sleep paralasis was happening to me, so then I decided that (knowing full well that if I didn’t take at least so of this drug I would never sleep) I dropped down the dosage to 25mg in the morning and at night, also I had dropped my intake of xanax from 6 mg (previously 10mg) to 3 mg, and after being on this combination (I also stopped taking the anti-depressants around the same time)
    anyway to cut a long story short, Since I have had all the fluid taken out of the band, and lowered my dosage of both the Seroquel and Xanax, I can now eat as much as I want. I get plenty of sleep, I’ve lost 6.5 kg over the past 4 1/2 weeks, (more than what I lost the entire time I had fluid in the band) and apart from having a cold at the moment, I feel like I’m nearly back to normal.
    I still have very slight moments of mania, but nowhere as bad as I used to get, but it seems each day the mania that usually comes around mid afternoon until I take my meds in the evening is getting less and less,
    After 5 years of trying to control my racing mind, my anxiety, paranoid thoughts, and manic episodes (I won’t go into detail as to what I do when I have these episodes, its not that much different to what you have been through)
    I feel like the past 26 years of my life (I’m now 32) have been just one big roller coaster of emotions and delusional thoughts and mania) that I have finally found a drug combo that seems to be working,
    I quit the weed in 2008, as I was smoking it 3-4 times a week for 3 years, I have had a few grams since then but its nothing like how I used to be with it,
    I don’t like having to rely on these drugs to keep me sane,
    the manic or mania trips I have been on while not taking the seroquel feel like a holiday for my imagination at least for a few days, but like you once it starts becoming to much I have to take the drugs to calm myself down)
    None of the Shrinks or doctors know what to label me with having, somehow I don’t really know how but I feel like my mind is like a wild beast, and knowing this can be extremely scary because I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t have these meds availible when I really need them, more so the Xanax as the paranoia freaks me out more than anything else,
    anyway I think I’m finally on the right track, I would like to get off all these drugs sometime,
    also I was going to mention before that due to my weight gain I have developed osteo-arthritis in my lower back and knee’s which I now have to take pain killers for,
    3 at this stage, hopefully I will continue to loose the weight and the pain will ease up so I can lower the dosage of pain killers I’m now on, but time will only tell,

    And to all those bible bashes out there, don’t tell me god and praying will help me, if your god is so great then why would the sick bastard give people these horrible conditions…


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