I’ve been wide awake since 3 am. It’s an intriguing time of night, 3 am. I like to call it ‘the dead of night’. Nature is sleeping sweetly. The wildlife that frequents my garden are all nestled, gently breathing. Even the trees look asleep, as they stand strong and still, without a quiver from a single leaf.
3 am, is my favourite time of the day. My brain is awake; my head is clear and I can be truly alone with my thoughts and creativity. No sights or sounds to distract me. It is the perfect time to write and read interesting articles. My brain is unjumbled and I can make sense of everything.
Unfortunately, none of this is the case when I am in a depressive or manic episode. The depressive head sleeps through and never notices that 3 am, ever happened. The manic head races around, not stopping to think with clarity. Writing is rushed and creativity is crushed by the speed of my brain. It doesn’t even know that 3 am exists.
So, if I am not manic, why on earth am I up at 3 am? Because one of the drugs I take to treat bipolar disorder; Aripiprazole, is messing with my sleep. I am dead-on-my-feet by 9 pm but hold on until 10.30pm to go to bed. I wake by midnight, then again around 1 am and 2 am; each time, I become more awake instead of sleepy. By 3 am I am wide awake and stay that way. I already have a sleep disorder to contend with, so this is a cruel twist to get from a drug that I need to treat the bipolar symptoms!
I have read and written my way through three hours now. I have watched first light appear and heard the birdsong start. My loyal cat Charlie has been by my side on the desk for the whole time. He has just drifted off to sleep, bless him. My sleep disturbances are affecting him too, as he wants to be at my side all the time. If I am awake, then so is he. It is my cue, I too should be drifting off to sleep as the few hours I have had, is not sustainable.
I rest my head on the couch, but my eyes won’t close. I come back to the laptop and my eyes won’t stay open. I am sleepy but feel awake. I cannot sleep and I cannot stay awake. A paradoxical hell created by medication. Instead, I shall blunder through the day with fuzzy head and weary body. My eyes won’t focus and my brain won’t think clearly. My memory will fail and my speech will stutter. I will look, sound and feel stupid, so I will hide away from the world and won’t go out.
Me and Charlie will be fine; we have each other. I have the internet and he has his blanket next to the laptop. We both sit at the desk looking out into a lovely garden full of bushes, trees, birds and squirrels. I will look forward to 3 am when I will feel alive again.