For persons with disabilities (including me), sleeping can be real shitty

So, I haz a question: Why can people be so judgey about if and when you sleep? I keep encountering this over and over again in my everyday life (and yes, I judged people too. I am not exempt from the circle of judgmental-ness)

judgey oprah.gif

Day people (who sleep at night) can be very judgey of night people (who sleep well in the day). To lesser extent, night people judge day people. BUT, for the most part the world revolves around people who are active in the day. People are also judgey if you sleep too much or at the “wrong times” (whatever the hell the wrong time is)

But then what people judgey about sleep got to do with me? Well,  as a person with bipolar disorder, I have sleep issues y’all and I still gotta live, work and play around other human beings – so yeah. For me, my sleep issues go a bit deeper than just not getting sleep and feeling crappy the next morning. For me, lack of good sleep or sleep at all over an extended period of time is a major trigger for a depressive or manic episode. Let me ent sleep for ah two weeks, nah. There will be a very high probability of  that I end up in psychiatric hospital. So all I need to do is go to sleep, right?

Well the problem is that I have issues going to sleep at night. It is  a struggle every night to do what most people take for granted – hop into bed and drift-off to La-La land. A lot of times Mr. Sandman can be a hater towards me y’all. The Sleep Fairy be giving me that nasty sideye!

sleep-fairy

I do have a bag of tricks to help me sleep. These tricks include playing soft music, put some drops of lavender oil on my pillow, bathing with a lavender body wash at night, reading a nice book, drinking chamomile tea and doing a nice online sleep mediation exercise and failing that take a sedative ( last resort). BUT, I can do any or all of these and still not fall asleep.

If I forget to take my nighttime dosage of medicine on time, no sleep. I have acid reflux issues as well. If my belly is kicking up a storm, no sleep. The acid reflux issues causes sinus issues, if I get sinus blockage and don’t relieve it, no sleep. If I am under extreme stress during the day and I get wired up, no sleep. However, I have a lot less problems falling asleep in the day. I said less- not none. So here it is y’all, I love to sleep but sleep does not always love me back.

It means that my schedule can be wonky and it can affect my work flow, which can be frustrating at times. For me lack of sleep means that  yes, I feel crappy. It also makes me somewhat more irritable. During those times, I am conscious that my tolerance levels are low and try to adjust accordingly – (which means ignoring people when they do stupid stuff that annoys me or choosing to speak up at a later date) Depending on how much sleep I was able to get in, I can push it and function. It just means that I crash when I can. When I crash, it may not be at the “right time” for other people  – hence why I talked about people’s judgmental attitudes earlier. Thank God now I work at Me, Inc. and I have an understanding husband. When I was out there working for the man it wasn’t easy and I had to have extreme discipline to go to work. However, it was doable.

This is not just a personal struggle, though. Persons with bipolar disorder generally have struggles and issues with sleep. It is one of the physical symptoms of this particular disability. However, what I did not know until recently is how much persons with other disabilities struggle with sleep issues. I only began to realize that when I began to hang with a couple of Moms of autistic children (shout out to you all, ladies) who told me about their issues with staying up with their kids. However, after I began to do some more research the list of other disabilities where sleep problems are part of the disability is long : blindness, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, muscular sclerosis, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorders, spina bifida, –  whew that list is long!

So, as I finish writing this at almost 1 a.m., for the non-disabled just know that many times having a disability means no sleep or impaired sleep and be a bit more understanding. For persons with disabilities out there, can you share about your experiences with sleep? Are there any disabilities that I have missed out? Talk to me, people.

Signed,

Sleep Troubled PWD in Trinidad

Author: writes4god

I am 36 year old Trini gal who is a researcher/disability activist/writer

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