February 17, 2018


One of the best things a person with bi-polar disorder can do to stay stable and fill in those dots right down the middle of the mood chart is to regulate sleep.  I don't just mean getting eight hours every night; having the same bedtime and same waking time is critical.  Something about biorhythms and the regulation of some chemicals and processes that I can't pronounce.  I've found it's true.  This must be why my psy-doc allows my regimen of nightly meds, taken exactly forty-five minutes before I intend to be in bed and sound asleep.  Lunesta and Vistaril and melatonin work together like they're the A-Team from season three.  Lunesta is definitely Mr. T.

The problem is, they work.  Period.  You can't just take them and then feel free to move about the cabin.  So if I'm not in bed yet, errantly wandering around the house, doing that last load of laundry or helping the kid with his homework Internet connectivity issues, filling out last-minute paperwork for a school function or even reading or gaming, I'm still going to fall asleep exactly forty-five minutes after taking the pills.  P.J. calls it "hitting my wall."  I suddenly go stupid and incoherent and sometimes have to bumble down a flight of stairs, while she shepherds me.  "Hold on to the hand rail!  Are you holding on to the rail?  Hold the rail!"

P.J. follows me down the stairs and tells me something and I just stare at her, wobbling slightly on my feet, my jaw slack, and make a noise that would be "Hunnnnnnhhh?" if I were able to articulate something that complicated.  I think I end up sounding like a yeti with a speech impediment and the flu.

"Go to bed."

"Akahiuhhhhhn."  I'm suddenly holding a pen and trying to fill out a field trip permission slip, and I see this really cool aardvark on the kitchen counter.  Then he joins the other aardvarks and they head to the coliseum where I'm supposed to be running the concession stand but everybody only wants Mountain Dew and we're out of it and the basketball game is almost over --

"Yes, you can.  Go on, go to bed."

"Ejssvvtofnshhhss."  P.J.'s voice.  Awake.  Paperwork.  Right.  I can do this.  Except the aardvark footprints are all over it now.  There was a stampede to get the Mountain Dew.  Somebody just shattered the backboard and I'm sad because I can't see over the crowd of people's heads and the man is mad at me because I didn't buy a ticket, and I'm a lowly concession stand worker, and he's carrying an injured aardvark --

"No, you don't need to finish that.  You can do it in the morning.  Go to bed.  Go."

"Szzrk."  Jerk awake again.  Paperwork.  It's still here.  Why does my handwriting look like that?  Why won't she get me a bandage for the aardvark's nose?  Can he breathe like that?  Permission slip.  Last name, First name, Middle Initial.  Date of Birth:   08 / 11 /  20aardvark .

Unfortunately, being asleep on my feet also means my stubborn streak is unrestrained by my consciousness and allowed to run rampant.  And soon I start making whimpering sounds of feeble protest.  The longer I'm up, the more tough love it takes to get my recalcitrant, dozing form under the covers with my head on a pillow.

It's in everybody's best interest for me to hit the sack before I reach this state.  Someone begins a conversation and I say, "You've got fourteen minutes.  Talk fast."

On weekend nights, I succumb to the peace and quiet of the hour and I stay up late.  I shouldn't, but I do.  So after I've taken my meds, I settle in to play my dragon game.  My battle team gets concerned on nights like this.  They've fought a few hard-won battles and then they look up and notice me.

Fireball:  "Uh-oh.  Her head's tilting again.  And her eyes are closed.  Shit."

Warrior:  "Wake her up!  We have to finish!  Otherwise, the game will time out and these assholes across from us will win."

Energy:  "I can't, War.  She has the volume muted.  She always has the volume muted."

Warrior:  "Hey, she just jerked awake and is looking at the screen.  She's blinking.  Any second now, she's going to remember that we're in the middle of a fierce battle here."

Fireball:  "Right!  Woo-hoo!  She just told me to fire away."  (roasts a few dragons on the other side)

Energy:  "That's more like it.  Click on me now!  Click on me!  Wait.  Noooooooooo, her eyes are crossing again.  There goes her head.  Now she's snoring.  God damn it!"

Warrior:  "Fuck it, I'm leaving.  We all know how this will end."


Energy:  "Do you always have to be so dramatic, 'Ball?"

Fireball:  "Fuck off."

My dragons have become as foul-mouthed as I am.  I guess that's the whole bonding-with-your-master thing.  It makes me sad that I miss most of these conversations.  But I'm asleep.


  1. I know the aardvarks now. I love the aardvarks now.
    Dear god, Lunesta sounds strong.

    1. It is a tiny, mighty little pill that can fell giants. It's way better than Ambien, though, because with Ambien I thought the ceiling fan was coming to get me.