Sleep has paradoxically been the reason why I’ve overslept, slept, or tried to sleep the days away. It’s why I haven’t been able to sleep at night or have gone through periods where I don’t sleep correctly or soundly for nights on end.
It’s all a part of having a major depressive disorder, something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I do wish those who think depression is a choice, however, could see what both those restless days and sleepless nights looked like, or experience them regularly like I have. That might help them better understand depression and its impact on not only the sleep schedules of those it affects – but our lives as a whole.
Nobody who is content in life or on the right path chooses to sleep the day away or stay up all night (barring those who work at night or have alternative schedules for various reasons).
It’s not a choice. Because too much sleep, and not enough, isn’t good for our brains or bodies. I’m obviously no doctor, but it doesn’t take one to know that the brain and body are closely connected, and that our sleep cycles affect our moods as much as our moods affect our sleep cycles.
I’ve dreaded the dullness of the day-to-day grind, the one through the distorted lens my depression prescribed me, so much that I tried to sleep days away, regularly. Ironically, the anxiety that so often accompanies depression would stop me from being able to sleep.
Again, a cycle I would never wish upon anyone.
Today, I would rather try and help someone dealing with it, out of it, if possible. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t think it was for me – but I know for certain I’m going to try, rather than sleep the day away.
In fact, it could be said, trying to help other people has given me a reason not to sleep the day away, or stay up all night. Because I know I need to show up each and every day now, for myself, others, and for life in general.
The miraculous part is that I actually want to and look forward to it. When I do, I’m truly present and not asleep at the wheel – in the blur and heaviness my depression kept me under for so long.
Listen, as I said, I never thought I’d be on this side of things, speaking to you from this perspective. But by the grace of something greater than me, I am – which means you have a chance too. I would say you probably have a pretty good one, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
It took a lot of weary days and sleepless nights to show me I was worth it. I hope you’ll wake up long before I did if you’re still sleeping days away. I say that with empathy, not judgment.
Photo Credit: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections via Getty Images
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