Insomnia… Another Fun Effect of Bipolar Disorder (but things could be worse)

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Insomnia sucks. Last night I managed to get five hours of sleep and I woke feeling better than I have in weeks. That’s because for the last few weeks I’ve been experiencing insomnia to such a degree that I’m lucky if I get two or three hours of sleep. So, a full five hours felt pretty good. I go in cycles with insomnia. I know it has to do with the whole bipolar BS. The insomnia always comes when the depression is at its worst and it comes again when what I call the energy phase is peaking and lasts right through the rage phase. No amount of breath-counting or meditation works. The only thing that helps is being alone. If there are other people around I can’t sleep at all. What’s worse is that the lack of sleep makes everything seem worse and makes me feel physically bad as well.

Up then Down and Back Up Again

I can get a lot done when it’s during the energy (I hate the word manic so I don’t use it) phase not sleeping. It’s amazing how much I can get done! The focus on whatever I’m doing can be very intense as well but eventually it degrades into random thoughts racing through my mind so fast that I can’t focus on anything at all. But for me the depression is much, much worse and much more dangerous. I just sit in a chair, unable to sleep, and become more and more depressed to the point that I invariably begin to think of death and suicide. I become obsessed with it. I see no hope whatsoever and life seem utterly pointless and simply not worth all the pain and inner suffering and physical symptoms the depression causes. Up then down then back up again… it’s like a roller-coaster that never ends and is completely out of control.

There Are Worse Things Than Bipolar Disorder

As much suffering as this bipolar bullshit causes me I know that there are people suffering worse things than I am. People in hospitals experiencing unfathomable pain who will never see their own home again, families starving in many places around the world, lives being destroyed by war, families being torn apart by domestic violence, drugs, or alcohol (or a combination of all three). Lots of suffering and heartache in the world. When I think of this it makes my own problems seem small. I’m not being shot at, I’m not starving, nobody is attacking me, the only war I’m involved with is taking place inside my own head… so there are worse things than bipolar disorder but sometimes during the worst of the stormy roller-coaster ride it can be hard to see beyond anything but my own turmoil. I am keenly aware that if I were to release my grip on this thing and just let it run loose then it wouldn’t be long before I was either dead or in prison. Just Google “bipolar people get shot by police” and you’ll get somewhere around 623,000 results!

That fact is never far from my mind. It’s not something to trifle with or not take seriously because very bad things can happen if you lose all control during either the depressive phase or the rage phase. But I am grateful that I am in a place that allows me to maintain some semblance of control. If I were to be in an environment of unrelenting chaos or violence I doubt I’d be able to maintain what control I have for long and I would respond with chaos and violence. My willingness to respond in such a way could be a good thing in a self-defense situation or if someone were threatening anyone I love but it’s pretty useless and frustrating otherwise. So, I suppose I can deal with lack of sleep because I know there are people in places of famine, disease, or war that would probably happily take upon themselves everything I go through in order to escape their own situations. Still, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever find peace and happiness myself.



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  1. I appreciate your honesty and heartfelt situation. I think it is good you share your struggle that may help you along and help others facing similar things. You have compassion which is a gift you have and express it willingly. I am here for you if ever need to talk – I can listen. I am praying for you to get more breakthroughs with restful sleep and ability to be productive…

    • Thank you!


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