The Holy Grail of Bipolar

And to think I once believed it was found in pharmaceuticals.

I’ve always been a firm proponent of the restorative qualities of sleep; I’ve just never been particularly good at applying any self-discipline in this regard. I loved my late nights and would have been more than happy to continue in the same vein forever, had life (and my psychiatrist) not intervened to put an end to my erratic sleep patterns.

Truth is, resetting my body clock by going to bed and getting up at the same times each day has done wonders for my mental health. Sleep was the missing ingredient in my treatment, and all the drugs and therapy in the world wouldn’t have gotten me to this level of wellness. It’s just too bad I was so resistant to establishing a routine; who knows, I could’ve been healthier a lot sooner. But sometimes I have to be beaten pretty much within an inch of my life to make me do what’s in my best interests, and by the time Dr. Awesomesauce imposed my “curfew” I was utterly exhausted from battling my illness.

Now I’m a firm adherent to my schedule, and being in bed by 10:30 PM on a weeknight doesn’t piss me off anymore……in fact, that was the time I decided on when I had to start getting up early during the week. I do stay up till 11:30 on the weekends—gotta have SOMETHING to look forward to on Friday nights, you know?—but “sleeping in” now means 7:30 AM instead of whenever the hell I feel like hauling my sorry carcass out of bed.

I know sleep won’t cure me, or relieve me of the need to take my meds (as much as I wish it could). But sleep is stability. Sleep is wellness. Sleep is the Holy Grail of bipolar. Seven hours of quality shut-eye enables me to play well with others and stay calm and focused all day long…..who knew I could do THAT? Even my memory has improved—I still can’t recall what I had for breakfast two hours ago, but I usually can remember to pick up Will’s prescription from the pharmacy, and I haven’t lost my car in the parking lot for quite some time.

I just hope I can keep all of this in mind come summer, when the days are long and warm and I want to play on the computer and listen to hard-driving music well into the wee hours. It’s not so hard when the weather is dreary and my brain is fried from being in intensive training all day; but hopefully I’ll be so much in the habit—and have months of wellness under my belt to prove to myself that it’s worth it—that I’ll stick with the routine, even when my natural instinct is to par-TAY!! all night long.

Which reminds me: my birthday is this Sunday. Another trip around the sun completed, another year older……and hopefully, another year better. 🙂



Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “The Holy Grail of Bipolar

  1. I’m finding a set bedtime has really improved my mood over the past few days. I too, hope I can keep up with the bedtime come summertime but I’m certainly enjoying feeling good right now!


  2. Well, I take a boatload of medications that *help* me sleep, although for some reason my p-doc won’t give me “sleeping pills”—if I can’t sleep for more than a couple of nights, I’ve got to hit the Zyprexa. I guess he feels I’m better off taking a second AP—probably because bpnurse + no sleep = mania. LOL


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