I don’t write about my manic depression (aka bipolar) much — mine is type I manic depression, the full-meal deal that comes with adventures in psychosis. Not enough sleep means I can become psychotic (though usually I just feel exhausted and then crash, like most people). Psychotic: hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, Beautiful Mind-type stuff. And my inclination towards mania keeps me restless internally, which makes falling asleep hard. Put it all together, and waking up on time is a struggle for me.
Didn’t sleep enough? Soon, orderlies will seize you, drag you to a back room, and inject you in the arm — congratulations! Having difficulty falling asleep because you’re anxious it’ll happen again? Pansy. Going home early to maintain a sleep schedule? You are a social toxin. Didn’t get up on time? What are you, some kind of wuss? Sleep too much? Now you’ve missed a scheduled event, and the organizers take it as a personal affront, since for them, sleeping and waking isn’t such a struggle; they don’t understand, and if you try to explain, you must invoke mental illness: that makes you both a sissy with your psychological excuses, and it makes you Jared Loughner or whichever crazy attacker de jour, so you’re a threat. Bye, social capital.
One reason I dropped out of the University of Dallas where I had a full scholarship was because I couldn’t manage my sleep well enough to get to class on time, despite having a roommate. At another university I joined Habitat for Humanity, but after arriving late for one of their early morning departures, I quit, too embarrassed to go back. I’ve even missed plane flights.
I wish there was a happy sentence that would close all this up tidily, but there isn’t.
Manic Depression and Waking Up on Time by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: email@example.com.