Saturday, 5 February 2011

Being Up Nearly All Night -but not manic or deluding yourself!

I have not had so many manic episodes, considering my 28 years of bipolar disorder. I can probably count serious episodes on one hand. Fortunately, each one has got less severe as I hopefully gained insight. I think that insight is often not included as a tool for recovery.

One of the key results of a mania is the loss of sleep or at least you "survive" or "make do" with less sleep. I can remember being awake between midnight and 8am for weeks on end. It might be a little irritating when manic but I think you can survive quite happily. The main thing is to find enough distractions. I don't think the internet was around or as popular when I had my most severe episodes. It makes hypomania so much more bearable and it must do the same for mania. It depends whether you have a car and or funds, how much mischief you can get up to. The world can be you oyster. I still remember cruising the LA freeways at 4am and eating huge breakfasts at 24 hour diners. In a way that was the upside of being manic. It was easier in LA as long as you had the use of a car.

My situation now is not a problem of mania, not even hypomania, but the jury may be out on that. My recent behaviour might be considered "manic" by some people. The similarity to mania or hypomania is that I am awake very early, typically at 2am. It is much harder to handle the nights when you are relatively "sane". When you are just awake a lot, it becomes tedious in the extreme. What do you do every night in the quiet of you own home. Apart from the lack of transport, there are no 24 hour diners in Warwick. I am sure I could find somewhere open if I tried really hard. The fact that I have not left my apartment during the night in these past 4 weeks, tells me that I am not at all manic. There are such things as taxis if I ever got the serious munchies.

If I got too active in a mania, I would take power naps and wake refreshed in two hours. My recent naps are restless and not too refreshing. I find myself passing the time from 2am onwards best I can. The early temptation was to go at 100mph and burn out by early evening. I have realized the error of my ways and I am working hard to manage my time better. I also have had a problem "doing nothing" without getting very anxious. This has not helped. I am making ground and I am trying to take not of the coping list that I made. "Slow Down!", "Take Breaks" and "Quiet Time" stand out from the list. Time management and better pacing seem to be my key thoughts.

I like to write blogs like this. Blogs that express frustrations normally hidden from the sleeping world. I hope it helps to express the deep frustration, in the hope that non-sufferers will gain a little insight. Maybe they will say hi on facebook if they suffer a little insomnia?

Thanks for reading this. I hope you found it useful.


  1. Morning Clive,

    I too have been awake since 2am but for me it's because of Nightmares. I have had them every night for the past two weeks.. same dream every night without fail. Normally I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours till they woke me up again and so on. But tonight it was just to much and I just had to get out of the dark and occupy my mind. SO far I have customised a new theme for one of my blogs and written some stuff to be posted at a later date. My eyes are sore through forcing them to stay open but I know that if I go back to bed I would be awake again by 9am with the same old visions.

    Anywho, good morning to you have a coffee and enjoy the sunrise

  2. While on occasions I have worked around the clock that has always been because of need rather than mania. While it would be great when young it must rapidly get very, very annoying.

    I woke up at 2am this morning but that was after going to bed at 9pm. I then woke every 90 minutes till 7am. Annoying but not too painful.

    What amazes me about bipolar is how much variation there is in its manifestation.

  3. Sleep is my friend. Clonazepam useful for a few days - not so good if I am sleepless too long. I avoid tv's, dvd's, internet surfing (ok if there is purpose to accessing the internet). I keep a dream diary for the times I do rest ... recurring themes meanings are fun to explore ... my sleeplessness is often random without triggers ...

  4. Thanks again Clive. I totally feel you on this and your post was very helpful.

    @Paul, hope those nightmares have cleared up :-/

    Take care,


Please leave a comment. It is very much appreciated.