9 Minutes in Snooze Heaven and Crazy Dreams

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Hello my name is Lauren and I’m a snooze-aholic. I have a t-shirt that has the above picture on it. It was given to me by my ex-boyfriend who observed my addiction for a year and a half. I have had trouble getting out of bed since I was in high school and maybe before that.

On my bad days with depression I have extremely vivid dreams. Dreams that take over my entire consciousness. When I wake up while I’m dreaming I immediately go back to sleep to finish the dream and have no further thoughts. It’s like I’m hypnotized. This is especially damaging on mornings when I am depressed. Motivation is completely absent from my brain and the only thing worth doing is dreaming some more. It is like someone injected the motivational part of my brain with Novocaine; there is absolutely no feeling at all. So this is what happens: I snooze….for hours. This morning my first alarm went off at 7:45. I stopped snoozing at 11:30. If this seems like torture to you, you have not experienced the 9 minute dream. I had several (maybe 4-5) dreams this morning between hitting my snooze button. The only one I remember involved being some type of rodent on a balloon with other rodents (who were actually people) traveling around with the goal of reaching Jupiter. Yeah. I don’t need drugs because this is my brain.

Still does not sound that interesting? The 9 minute sleep is the most delicious sleep I have ever experienced. You stay in that just-asleep awesome relaxed state for hours.

This post is not supposed to only tell you about how awesome this is. It is a great technique for training yourself to remember your dreams (if you write down words between snoozes), but it is very unfortunate when combined with can’t-get-out-of-bed depression. It makes it almost impossible. It is hard to explain why I can’t get out of bed when I am awake (or near awake) every 9 minutes for hours. This is where the distinction between oversleeping due to an accident and depression comes into play. Someone who is depressed cannot get out of bed even if they are awake. This concept is impossible for anyone who has not experienced it themselves.

I have heard that people who are Bipolar have extremely vivid dreams compared to the normal person. Is this true? Has anyone else experienced crazy dreams like this?

TWO BAD DAYS

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No one would know it. I look fine. On bad days I put a large amount of effort into looking presentable, clean, and even stylish. I focus on not stressing myself out about it when I do manage to get out of bed. I take the time to shower, get dressed, and eat a healthy meal before getting to work very  late. Even now that I’m at work I get a fair amount done, and everyone sees that I am being productive. I’m sure to them it seems as if I chose not to come into work this morning. I did not choose it.

My housemate has expressed her suspicions that I am not where I say I am. She has this fantasy that I am having a great time instead of being at work. I can’t help but wonder if this same suspicion is shared by some of my co-workers. It is hard for them to understand. About a month and a half ago I let them all know I’ve been struggling with a health issue. They were supportive and starting asking me how I was doing. Now that I was getting back to normal and my sudden relapses remain unexplained, the understanding has been replaced yet again by confusion and suspicion.  On top of it they see me taking off early on occasional Fridays to go on trips with my housemates and think “she’s acting fine now.” They do not understand though if I do not do the social/fun things with my housemates that it will be worse for me. Recovering from depression/bipolar mood swings is not all about rest like a physical ailment is. Of course my therapist would probably say something along the lines of “You do not know what people are thinking so don’t assume it is bad.”

Also, here is something worth mentioning: I am a volunteer. I do get paid a little, but it’s not like I am missing hours at a real job and then taking more vacation time off. Being a volunteer does not make me less dedicated to my job, but I feel better about taking time I need for myself.

Somehow through dealing with this all throughout college, I only experienced one time when I completely shut down for about a week and forgot all responsibilities. I am pretty good at keeping myself close to afloat (or I have been lucky enough not to experience a more severe episode). I hate to admit this but I read about other people going off the grid for weeks, and it sounds kind of nice. I know letting myself down there would be more painful, but when I am so exhausted/depressed like this it just seems like it would be nice to come out to everyone in my life that I am not well and disappear for a bed vacation.

POW! Fighting Back Against Morning Drowsiness

I’m tired of being tired. My most tangible “symptom” from the outside has been oversleeping and missing work in the mornings (I have mentioned this before, but my supervisor is very supportive about this as long as I keep her updated). On top of this long-standing problem, I have been on Seroquel for about a week now. One of the symptoms is drowsiness….great just what I needed! I’m not okay with not participating in the world like I should be anymore (not that I was okay with it before, but now I’ve had it).

SO HERE COME THE BIG GUNS!

1. A New Alarm Clock: One of those super obnoxious ones that starts pretty quiet then gets REALLY loud, and is plugged in across the room from my bed.  If I time it right with my cell phone alarm, they alternate which means I have to get out of bed twice if I snooze. Also…it has radio. So if I turn that on instead of snoozing then I’m awake.

2. A SAD Lamp: I don’t think I get enough sunlight in the mornings to wake me up and then I sit in an office all day.  I ordered it last week so it should arrive pretty soon. I’ll let you know how that goes.

3. Getting Rid of the Eye Mask: Yes….I am one of those people who sleep with an eye mask (and earplugs). This usually helps me get a good nights sleep without waking up when a car alarm goes off in our neighbor’s driveway. BUT since my problem is not insomnia/inability to sleep I need to lose it.

This morning my master plan worked. But we also have people in town visiting, so that makes it more exciting/worthwhile to get up in the first place.

We shall see.