“The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”– Poppy Z. Brite

I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night, typically around two a.m. I never know what to do with myself to get back to sleep. So often when I wake I’m filled with anxiety over everything — the day to day stuff, global pollution, what the real purpose of the human race could actually be. My heart races and pounds, my hands tremble, I’m incredibly hypersensitive. Sometimes, miraculously, I’m able to go back to sleep within a half hour or so. But other times I will be up for closer to two hours.

Does this happen to anyone else with Bipolar? I know we all go through changes in sleep patterns, and that life stressors can cause sleep disturbances, but what about these feelings of total destruction to the world, and what our purpose is here on said planet. Perhaps your sleepless nights contain different worries and questions, but for me it all come back to “Why?” (Why are we here? Why are we so destructive? Why are we so disrespectful and mean to each other? Etc, etc, etc…)

And so my mind goes. I wish I had an answer as to how I reign myself back in, that I have the perfect magic technique, that everything my therapist and I talk about as an action plan (paced breathing, meditation/prayer, reading until tired, and so on) actually works every time this happens. But I don’t. Some days my mind just is. Oddly enough I should be used to it by now. But after twenty some years living with Bipolar, I’m not. I’m not used to it at all. Mostly because I have this sinking feeling that there are so many other people out there that don’t experience these kinds of thoughts. Ever. It simply doesn’t happen for them.  They glide through life without the anxiety, the worry, and most of all, without the bigger questions that don’t have answers. The “why’s” just don’t exist for them. I simply can’t imagine how peaceful that existence could be.

My current question now is, should I post this? Will people think I’m nuts? Probably. But my intuition says, go ahead. Post it. Because there has to be someone else out there with Bipolar going through the same thing who could use some reassurance.  That, whoever you may be, you also get up at night, and all the tools you have to call upon, for one reason or another, can’t get you back to sleep. That you have greater worries about “everything”, with the understanding that there are no answers.

Perhaps simply reading this will bring you a measure of much needed comfort. And hopefully, that comfort will be enough to ease your mental clatter and allow you to go back to sleep. Know this — you are not alone in your sleeplessness. You are not alone with your symptoms. You are not alone. Just remember that there is someone else out there that has the same trouble sometimes. And we’ll all just continue taking it one night at a time.