Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Depression - Sleep or lack of it.

Over these years of my depression we have come to learn that sleep or lack of it plays a huge part in my ability to cope with life.

When I look back at the notes from the early part of my depression, it is lack of sleep, sleeplessness or insomnia that features heavily and this is often the case for most new mothers.

Mini and Maxi went bad sleepers, but I was under the impression that baby's often slept though and this myth was perpetuated by a lot of the "yummy mummy's" in my antenatal classes.  I though that my two were the exception to prove the rule and I was lucky to get 4 hours sleep a night.

It became a self perpetuating problem.  I didn't go to sleep as I know one of them would wake me and I couldn't cope with the anger I felt when I did wake.  I seemed to have become wired differently I woke at the slightest noise either of the boys made, it was like a mummy radar, so what was the point of going to sleep and then worst of all when I had the opportunity, when MadDad was sleeping in with them, well that's when insomnia came and I just could sleep. Often I was like a walking zombie.  

Again my consultant come to the rescue, his wife has experienced Mummy Radar too, as I now know so do a lot of mummies, so he prescribed sleeping pills.  We went through most of them until we found something that worked for me.  Not a traditional sleeping pill, but an antipsychotic (blush).

This little pill has kept me sane.  Through all the surgeries, through all the pain, through the depression, I have always know it is there is I need it and now I only take it when times are really bad.

They use sleep deprivation as a torture and it truly is, it makes me ratty, irritable, grouchy and generally not a nice person.

Thankfully MadDad and I realise this and we ensure that I have at least one nights unbroken sleep a week.  He also ensures that I get a lie in one day over the weekend.  It makes a vast difference and realising this was a turning point in my treatment.



  1. Hi Jen, yes lack of sleep is a killer isn't it? My girls hardly every slept through and when they managed it, my partner's snoring suddenly started, I couldn't believe it! my opinion is that as well as exacerbating depression, sleep deprivation itself can have symptoms that are similar to a mental illness so those who experience it may not be depressed, just knackered! I know this has been the case for me and it's such a simplistic thing to say but a good night's sleep does me the world of good! But i think it's important to realise that if depression is there, you don't have to "pass it off" as just being knackered if you see what I mean! Sounds to me like you work as a great team you and MadDad, what happened with me and so many other mums (I think) is that you get into a routine of getting up in the night when a partner is "at work" so they don't get up and that buggers you up for the day ahead. Then when you go "back" to work for however many hours, you think you may as well carry on and not "bother" yor partner. And I'm duty bbound to say having twins added the number of times I got up. Anyway I have rambled on far too long, sending you lots of love. xx

  2. It has amazed me. I always knew I needed my sleep and was well grumpy without it. What I didn't realise is how miserable I become without sleep. The little one has always been a good sleeper but recently went through a bad spell. Like you, my hubby is great for letting me catch up on sleep but the reality is that no amount of daytime sleep makes up for a lack of night time sleep.
    It took me a while to realise the link between sinking into a dark pit of misery and the lack of sleep. It has really helped me - because now I don't feel like the world is going to end, I label my moods as lack of sleep and do everything I can to recover and not blog my misery!

  3. I think you are really fortunate to have had such an attentive consultant and a very supportive husband and family. The fact that you were able to identify the source means you can look for the signs and take evasive action before things get too bad. Even if you hardly ever need the medication, just knowing it is there is sometimes enough.
    (((((big squishy hug)))))

  4. Maybe that's my problem... Well I'd like to say that, but we all know it's probably the least of them.
    It's good you've worked out one of the things that affects your health so you can do your best to avoid it.

  5. Wow you sound exactly like me, when my first was born I thought he was the only baby in the world who didn't sleep through. He was a terrible sleeper and still is albeit better. When I first got him home he slept 15 mins in 24 hours, yes really. It took a long time to get him into some kind of routine. And even longer to realise that the other mothers who were saying their babies slept through the night may actually be sleeping from 12am till 5am. That's not sleeping through the night to me. I didn't get PND until my second or not that I noticed or diagnosed with. I get counselling and I am on anti depresants. I didn't want to but something had to give. I want to give you big hugs for being brave enough to post about this, it is something a lot of woman go through. xx