So far today, my mood’s been fairly stable. I won’t go so far as to say it’s GOOD, mind, but at least it’s not pinging wildly back and forth between joyous, distraught, and angry anymore.
I think one of the things that has helped as much as anything is sleep. For several days before my mood tanked the other day I’d been getting somewhere between four to six hours of sleep a day. Last night, I got a full eight, plus a couple of naps this morning and afternoon. I feel rejuvenated, and I think honestly sleep had a lot to do with it. I’ve been productive more today than I have been over the last couple of days, even given the extra sleep that I’m getting, and I feel more accomplished because of it, which in turn is boosting my mood.
It makes sense, though. Experts talk about how important regular sleep is to mental health. I’m living proof of that. Several years ago, I was getting about two to three hours of sleep a night for about four months. The extreme sleep deprivation started affecting my decision making ability, and I decided that I needed to come off my medications. A week later, with no medications in my system and barely any sleep to speak of, I had a full-blown psychotic episode that lasted a week. It was the worst time of my life, and I’m thankful that my wife listened to me when I got thirty seconds of lucidity and begged her to take me to the hospital.
Part of the struggle with getting my care right is understanding that my body is changing as I grow older. I turn 50 during our next presidential term of office. That’s not that long off. My body has been regularly changing since I turned 40, and learning my new aches and pains and limitations is a growing experience.
Somehow I think I’m going to have to find a way of tracking my sleeping habits to see if there’s a more consistent correlation between the two. In the meantime, I think it’s going to be important to ensure that I get regular sleep from here on out. It seems to be affecting me more as I’m getting older. One long night once in a while won’t do much, but if I’m getting less than six hours of sleep a night for a few nights in a row, I’m going to need to listen to my body and let it rest for a while to head off episodes like this in the future. And if it won’t listen, I’m going to have to force the issue with a sleeping pill.