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Ramblings From A Bipolar Insomniac

“I want to scoop my brain out and tell it to be quiet,” I told him as my hand mimicked a barbaric melon baller.

He rolled over and said, “You know you sound nuts.”

For three years, the Nursing program owned me from the moment I woke until I ended the day with a much deserved dose of ibuprophen and having my head swallowed by a big ass pillow. Sometimes those days would start at 5 am and end at 5 am the very next day. 24 blasted hours of call bells, barking patients, vying for the attentions of doctors who wouldn’t dare give a student a minute of their intelligence, clinical instructors hunting me down with enema kits because for some reason, I was the go to girl for bowel issues.dream1

What that says about me, I have no idea.

Gentle hands perhaps.

Tack on working part time to pay for the torture.

I barely had a moment to pee.

Studying for exams was the last on the to-do list. Now hold on to your bed pans. I retained the pertinent details of class of which I learned from wasting my time in high school absorbing useless things such as figuring out math word problems.  Have you ever gotten lost in the insignificant details?

John is Julie’s friend or maybe it’s his aunt and is she is wearing a wig or is that a bad dye job and the wind is blowing her skirt from the northwest and holy shit, you put numbers in there? What am I trying to solve? What. Am. I. Trying. To. Solve?

Despite the fact that I crammed the knowledge of the inner workings of the circulatory system in a single night, I made really good grades. My secret weapons were a cup of microwaved instant coffee and a shag carpet from the late 1970’s which was like the world’s first Swiffer sweeper of memories, Kool-Aid, and that time when my sister ate an entire bag of ketchup chips and puked.  I didn’t dare fall asleep on it.

I’d squeak in an hour or two of sleep and then go to class; not before I told the curb that I ran over in the college parking lot to f*ck off.

Sleep deprivation was common during those three years. It triggered irritability, sluggishness, stress,  and I seriously contemplated carrying out my thoughts of killing cats. I would recover fairly quickly though, with a few consecutive nights of solid sleep. Before I knew it, I’d be back to my normal self on the medical surgical floor with pockets full of rubber gloves and lubrication because lord knows my instructor had already to assigned me to twenty enemas that day.

Sleep plays a huge role in our moods and how we function and for me, like so many others who have bipolar disorder, sleep is as vital as breathing. I follow a pretty strict sleep schedule which means that I go to bed and rise at the same time (I give an hour window for each). If I’m thrown off schedule, I turn ugly.

These past few weeks have been challenging as far as sleep goes and needless to say, life has been uncomfortably interesting. I have unwillingly jumped on the proverbial roller coaster of rapid mood switches. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s like I’m coming and going and feeling giddy and crushed with depression and the constant vibration of energy that innervates my being. All in a 24 hour period.insomnia

The most irritating of them all is the 100 radios turned on all at once blaring words that beg to be heard. My only respite is the huge (“very crazy people huge” according to my sister who is a psychiatric nurse) dose of anti-psychotic medication that I take at night. It takes me out at the knees like it always does yet I still wake up in the middle of the night*.

I wish it were as simple as treating a cold but unfortunately, it is not.

So while my eyes are open, I will dream of my hand being a giant melon baller and scooping my brains out.

I’ll laugh because the word “melon baller” is hilarious.

Then I’ll cry because I don’t have a melon baller.

Then I’ll get angry because Shawn is sleeping.

Then I’ll kick him in jealousy.

Then I’ll laugh.

And then cry.

And get angry and decide to write a post about sleep deprivation instead.




I am fairly certain that my increasing back pain is the culprit for interrupting my sleep. I had a xylocaine infusion on Saturday to help make the pain more manageable. It tipped into full on euphoria however Sunday, I was the complete opposite. Angry Kim. I’m really hoping that once the pain gets managed, I will be able to sleep like Shawn only look much cuter and with less drool.


  1. Tiger Lilly,
    Brain dump away… it helps and it gives me something to do while I’m at work.
    Love you noodle.

  2. I hope you get the sleep you need.
    I don’t get ragey on little sleep (which is pretty much everyday), but I’m always on the EDGE of ragey. Not a good thing either.
    I should be in bed now.

  3. Kim Kim

    Ugh – I’m sorry that you aren’t sleeping well!! I hate that feeling of being awake in the middle of the night (while everyone else snooze’s peacefully). Hopefully your back starts feeling better and hat helps the sleep issues!!

  4. Hi Honey, Do you know that kids these days intentionally take drugs to make them feel like they can hear 100 radio stations in their heads all at once?
    Kids are fucked up.

  5. I love you by the way. I had to post your word problem on FB and tag my brother who is a math and science teacher.

    Sending you sleeeeeepy thoughts and heavy eyelids.

  6. Janet Janet

    The mood changes sound exhausting in themselves, even without the lack of sleep. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, along with the back pain.


  7. UGh. Sleep deprevation is the worst. Right now I sleep reasonably okay. But not too long ago, it was agony. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep or fell asleep quickly and then woke up every hour. My back is a giant ass when I sleep poorly..and my knee..and my pelvis..and, well my body pretty much falls apart when I sleep bad.
    And the mood swings? You should meet my friends happypants and crankypants. Insider joke. Get it? Ha! I’m so funny when I laugh at my own jokes..

  8. People who are nursing students and nurses ASTOUND me. There’s a special place in heaven for people who even attempt that.
    That said, I am very weird with sleep. Very weird, indeed.
    Wishing you lots and lots of hours of it.

  9. Ugh… sleep deprivation sucks. Been waking up around 4:00 every morning for the last week and not being able to get back to sleep. This morning I just gave up and got up. Wishing you lots of sleep soon! (Hey Macarena…) 😉

  10. Hope you get some sleep soon, sweetness. It sucks to want it and not get it. I never want it except then. It feels like time wasted.

    But at least you wrote, and we got to know you a bit better *hugs*

  11. I’m normally a great sleeper, but once or twice a month perimenopause laughs at me and keeps me up and leaves me an unrested b*tch. I cannot imagine how you deal with insomnia on a more than a night or two basis. I wish I could give you magic sleeping dust to make it happen.

    That said, there is NO more irritating sound than the sound of my husband sleep-breathing when I cannot… GRRRR! Shawn will just have to deal with a kick or three.

  12. ….ketchup chips?
    My sleep schedule is insane. As you know I’m a night shifter. I used to be able to sleep no matter what, and if I got woken up I’d go right back to sleep. But I guess old age is kicking in because all that has changed.
    And I love, love, LOVE to sleep.
    Hope the pain & sleep get managed, stat.

  13. From one insomniac to another I feel your incredible frustration, Kimberly! It comes and goes but when it’s bad it affects all areas of me…being short with folks, irritated, frustrated, maybe some depression. And I have to constantly check myself and remind that it’s me not them or other life factors. Just a frickin’ lack of sleep. Good post, our friend 🙂

  14. You know that commercial for the sleep aid? ZZZQuil maybe? Where the woman is tossing and turning and staring at her partner and thinking “How are you sleeping? Right NOW?” Yeah that. I feel you.

    I was having a lot of insomnia, related to anxiety and perimenopause. Now I’m back into a sleep all night and all day every day depressive kind of place. I’m not actually sleeping quite that much but boy would I like to!

    Hang in there my friend! xo

  15. ***and I seriously contemplated carrying out my thoughts of killing cats.***

    –how is it that in the midst of total seriousness, you can make me smile 🙂

    Luv U.


  16. Jean Jean

    I have Bipolar I. I got it in my forties. I got it from a) having it in my brain when I was born, of course), b) stress from running a home program 40 hours a week for one of our sons with autism c) grief when we found out one of our other sons had autism — I don’t care any more but 20 years ago I cared and wanted a ticket back to normal–I have 5 sons. We are so abnormal now I celebrate it… and, one of our sons died. This is REAL pain. Inexpressibly different from me coping with having a disorder,
    and d) being given Paxil in an improper dose before they found out I was bipolar I — it knocked me right into hypomania. And then into my first manic episode, for which I was hopitalized. Never again, despite the fact that I am bipolar I. I have a family to take care of.

    I am proud to know that you are coping. I am honored to meet you. We share something that is hard to explain and frankly is very serious. I am so glad you are taking care of yourself with meds. I spent ten years on a health site as a representative for them– journalling, and counseling people with our disorder to take their meds.
    It was hard to get them to listen unless I could give them an example or two of a movie star (of which there are many) with this neurological disorder, who had ruined his or her career due to mishandling his or her self care. Because it is up to the person. Nobody but you and me can take care of us.

    Keep trying to get the sleep in, That I think is really important.

    In case you are wondering,

    I found you through Lizzi R.

    If you ever want to write me for any reason–just general blather combined with total acceptance– or anything at all, just email me.

    You are awesome. There is still so much stigma attached to this disorder I cannot believe it. It is ridiculous.

    Best wishes and love,


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