It seems the pendulum that regulates mood and activity level is always swinging back and forth, sometimes to quite extreme lengths. Over the weekend, I fell into a depression and overall feeling of despair. I starting sleeping Friday night after getting bored of watching TV, slept all Saturday (getting up for the bathroom and food of course), and finally until 9:00 PM Sunday evening. No matter what I tried to do, I just couldn’t get myself out of bed, nor motivate myself to get out and move around. I tried going to my computer to do some work a couple times, but even then I became disheartened within minutes and found myself crawling back into bed.
Now, if I was old and tired, or in a psych ward for clinical depression, this behavior might be acceptable. The fact is, however, I’m a 31 year old male in the prime of my life, unmarried, and without many responsibilities, yet I’m spending the better part of the weekend in bed. I know this can’t be healthy. BPD and depression can really pull me down, and it seems to come out of nowhere, or sometimes after a series of disappointing events.
I’ve been trying to think what precipitated my sleep filled weekend, and I’ve come up with the following thoughts:
- Business Partner and I lost a potential job with a client who was stonewalling us on signing a contract. We were working for free and needed to take a stand. The client told us to take a hike. I think my partner and I were in the right asking for a contract after 2 months of providing free consultation and professional advice. Apparently this guy felt otherwise.
- Memories of unrequited love. I realize it may sound hopeless and desperate, but my mind still wanders back to women I’ve loved in my past who did not have those same feelings for me. I imagine myself being with them and somehow being extremely happy. All the same, in the here and now, I almost feel like I will never meet anyone worthwhile again, and will spend the rest of my life single and longing for opportunities that never materialized years ago.
- I’ve been suffering chronic constipation, and a few months ago I went to the doctor because I had enough. Since then I’ve been on a few different meds, each somewhat helpful but not quite doing the trick. As a result, the doctor recommended that I have a precautionary colonoscopy and endoscopy. Again, I’m only 31 years old and live a relatively healthy life style. I already have to cope with mental illness and Type 1 Diabetes, do I really want stomach problems too?
- When I get down I also tend to start thinking about dead people and pets that gave me comfort while they were alive. When I’m lying in bed completely depressed, I picture our old family dog lying at the foot of my bed, snoring away, keeping me company in my low moments. Although this is sometimes a soothing thought (since it can’t be taken away) I tend to feel overly sad that the pet is gone and will not come back.
- Am I Normal?…and similar thoughts. Having BPD makes me grasp at threads. I don’t know whether or not I’ll come out of it and live a normal life, or if I’ll be stricken with it for the rest of my life. My real fear is not what happens to me, but those around me. Suppose I get married and want to have children: do I really want to pass on a predisposition to mental illness (it runs strong in my family) and Type 1 Diabetes (The devil’s curse)???
Throw all this together and mix it with a heaping amount of self doubt and lack of confidence, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for sleeping. And that’s what I did, I just slept, preferring to live in dream world instead of the real world.
The funny thing about dream world is that while I’m there, it feels like reality. In essence, it becomes a place of escape instead of a brief visit during a normal night’s rest. My dreams are vivid, and I often talk in my sleep, move around frantically, and generally mess up my bed to the point that it looks like I was fending off a monster in my sleep.
From a global standpoint, the thoughts behind these sleep marathons are helplessness, hopelessness, and an inability to effect the sort of change I want in my life. I wonder why people I like don’t like me back. I wonder what makes their partner better than me. I also feel trapped by the obsession itself: for me, it seems to make more sense to carry on thinking that I could have had a wonderful life partner, instead of actually getting out and trying to find someone new who might really like me.
On the small scale, sleep makes sense because it is relatively harmless and does not indulge my addictive personality. Instead of drinking, smoking, doing drugs, gambling etc. I sleep to kill time, and usually the only side effect is a sore body and stiff legs. These results are much better than a weekend-long binge on alcohol or gambling, since I don’t end up penniless or horribly sick from side effects.
You’re probably thinking, “this guy is obviously addicted to sleep. He uses it as a crutch in down moments.” Well you’re absolutely correct. What else can I do when real life seems so intolerable, while dream world waits around the corner, only minutes after closing my eyes and laying down?