I’ve written before about side effects, but I don’t think I’ve done a whole post whining describing my eternal struggle about napping.  So here we go.

When I first had my breakdown, nothing would put me to sleep.  Finally, a med was found that would knock me out;  unfortunately, it was the same med that caused me to gain those 80 pounds.  So it was back to the drawing board.

After many trials of different meds, different combinations of meds, and even more meds, Psydoc and I discovered one that allowed me to sleep without intolerable side effects.  (I’ve mentioned that I’m fairly accepting of most side effects.)

This med also, it turns out, reduces anxiety.  (An off-label use, but I’ll take it.)  It’s not technically a “sleeping” pill, but it works for me.

I find it very sedating, which was, of course, the point.  But it makes me sleepy during the day, too.  It took a while for us to find a dose that would allow me to get some very necessary sleep at night, but not conk me out all day, too.

Just to put things in perspective, I usually take my nighttime pills and go to bed around 9 pm.  I don’t usually fall asleep until 10:30 to 11:30, but I have found that I need that time to settle and relax.  If I go to bed at 11, I won’t fall asleep until 12:30 or later.  So I head downstairs pretty early.

I sleep like the dead until sometime between 1 am and 3 am.  Seriously good sleep.  LOVE that kind of sleep!  Then I get up and take a second dose of my “sleeping” med.  I used to take the whole dose when I went to bed, but I was waking around 3 am and not getting back to sleep.  So I have made the decision to split the dose, which seems to work well.

I go back to bed and it takes up to an hour for me to fall back asleep.  Then, I sleep until sometime between 6 am and 7:30 am, at which time Dannan lets me know that he needs to go outside.  I let him out, go to the bathroom again myself, and give him breakfast.  Then we go back to bed until around 10 am.

Sounds like I get an absolute ton of sleep, doesn’t it?  You’d think it would be enough.  It’s not, though.  Around 1 pm, I get really sleepy again.  I don’t need a nap every single day, but if I don’t have a nap every three days (or even sometimes every second day), my mood plummets.  I can feel myself starting to get jittery, to be overly sensitive and anxious, and to feel on the verge of tears.  I can feel myself slipping into a bad state, and I know that it’s not far to depression’s dark pit.  Seriously, the “lack” (ha ha, sarcasm) of sleep makes me rapidly start to lose it.

I really resent having to take naps.  I hate it.  It is such wasted time.  I have so little of what I call productive time as it is.  I really and truly hate to have to take every second or third afternoon, and spend two to three hours napping.  I fight against this need often, and I always feel myself sliding into a bad place.

Clearly, I need more sleep than many people do.  Whether this is because of the medication cocktail, the mental illness, or what, I don’t know.  I just know that this is one factor that I can control that makes a real, substantial difference in my mood.

So you would think that I would be grateful for this important piece of knowledge and embrace the (rare) opportunity to manage my illnesses.  You would also be wrong — I fight, sometimes tooth and nail, to avoid the nap.

It’s pretty dumb, and I know that.  I think that my resistance is largely fueled by this core belief that I have:  people must be productive to have value, where productive means doing something approximating work.  Which could include housework, reading a book, writing, answering email, or something like that.  (At least, this satisfies my definition of work for the purposes of discussing napping.  It doesn’t, however, satisfy the definition in other situations.  Strange thing, the mind.)

Sleeping and resting do NOT fit within the definition of productive, in this core belief.  I feel like I am willfully wasting time.  (Yes, Counsellor, I do know that what I really mean to say here is that I THINK I am willfully wasting time.)  I know that the definition of productive can be whatever I want it to be, and certainly including “stable emotionally” in that definition makes a lot of sense.  Change is hard, this I know…

So I fight the need to nap.  I took a nap today, because I know I’m getting to the point where if I didn’t, I would be teetering on the brink of slipping tomorrow.  I am unhappy that I have so much conflict about something that is clearly vital to my emotional balance, but yet I still struggle with it.  People are perverse, that’s my problem.  😉