Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sleep Deprivation and Mood

As part of a "Fatigue Busters" plan, a plan than entails removing anything from my life that is making me exhausted, listless tired etc., I am slowly (trying) to wean myself of Valium. I am not on a large dose, but have been taking benzodiazepines for a great deal of the time I have been in this Depressive Episode.

It may sound stupid to take a depressant when you are depressed, but a huge component of my depression, or something that makes my depression worse is anxiety. Valium really helps relieve me of much of my anxiety.

The problem is it comes with a price. Dr. X. uses the metaphor of a credit card. You use it upfront to get what you desire, but you always need to pay it back.

He's right. Going off Valium is always an ordeal for me. I managed to go from 15mgs to 10 mgs over a week and that seemed okay. I hadn't been sleeping well anyways, so never really noticed the difference. I am now taking it down to 7.5 mgs, which may not seem like much of a difference, but I pretty much haven't slept more than 2-3 hours a night since I started taking only 7.5mgs.

The not sleeping is bring on an unexpected side effect. One I know can happen with decreased sleep, but unexpected nonetheless. I feel my mood lifting a bit this morning. To the point that I bounced out of bed at 7:30, read the paper and then went for a walk in the blueberry field.

I saw the intense beauty of the flame coloured bushes enveloped in fog and encased in frost. I watched as the sun lifted the fog and the frost began to melt. In the field I saw the life force slowly returning to the crisp green grass.

I gazed in a dreamlike state as the warmth and melting frost began returning the quick to the blooms of the requisite dandelions strewn amongst the bushes, grasping for one last chance to bloom and turn to seed, thereby enabling them to release their parachuting progeny into the wind; ensuring a return of their children to life in the spring ahead.

I stared intently as the drifting, disappearing frost melted in conjunction with the rising sun. An unnatural parallel line appeared to be dividing the field in two: On one side the red leaves on the blueberry bushes appeared as flames, the richness of the red enhanced by the dampness left behind by the melted frost, the flaming red colour rising and racing across the frosted blueberry bushes.

On the other side of the line the leaves of the bushes stood at attention; cold, deathly silent, stiff, and ice encased. The red was hidden. Instead of flaming red the frosty army of bushes appeared pink because of the combined colours of red leaves and white frost.

As the moments passed the sun became warmer and more intense. Red flames roared faster and faster towards the pink army; an army that stood defenseless and silent in the face of the oncoming heat of the sun. The frost melting more quickly with the passing of time.

I raced home to get my camera, because I was awestruck and wanted to share the blueberry bushes joyous return to life. It felt like I was returning to life with each waking bush.

The moment had passed. My camera was too late. That moment is however, captured in my mind as a beautiful moment in a difficult life. If I were not here the moment, as I experienced it, would not have existed. I will remember those moments are worth living for.


sara said...

Yeah. As horrible as those 30 hour shifts are, my mood is always fantastic at daylight when they end.

jcat said...

wow, you write so beautifully. glad you were there to see and embrace it.

Michelle said...

Wow that sounds like a beautiful experience. I had been on Klonopin (also a bezo) for about 6 years and decided to come off of it. I have been off it for 5 months now and I am glad I came off of it but MAN the month when I weaned myself (with Dr. help) off of the last little bit (literally crumbs) it was awful. I never want to go through that again and will think long and hard before going on it again.

Being tired is one of the worst triggers for my moods - at least when I need to have a trigger sometimes I am dressede just because. Hang in there.

Tamara said...

Getting off of meds can be really tough. I know what you mean about less sleep being energizing. I can control my moods to a rather large extent by the amount of sleep I get. If I am a bit depressed then I sleep an hour less and it lifts my spirits. But, if my mood begins to pick up "a bit too much" then tack on a bit more sleep and it will calm me down. It is a useful tool at times.

Good luck getting off the valium. I hope you keep feeling better, are able to get more sleep and that you get to your camera in time next time!