Friday, August 23, 2013

Depression and Sleep

Depression has many physical symptoms as well as emotional symptoms.  Emotional complications being: despair, feelings of worthlessness, extreme sadness, loss of interest in everything, etc.  Physical obstacles include: fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, back aches, and many others.

Since recovering from depression, most of my symptoms are nonexistent.

Fatigue is the last of my physical symptoms to go away.

I have zero energy.  I feel tired all the time.

For a while, it was really bothering me.  “Why can’t I just be normal?  Why can’t I do all the things normal people do?”  This reaction is common among depression treatment patients: the wanting to be normal part, and the fatigue part.

I recently came to the conclusion that, maybe, just maybe, I have unrealistic standards of how much sleep I’m supposed to get.

How much sleep should one get in order to function?  To answer this question, I immediately look to the minimum.  A normal person should be able to live off of 5-6 hours of sleep a night, right?  I know some mothers that can survive on less.  I’ve heard the horror stories.

If we want to feel successful and worthy of life, the ruthless world demands that we only take the minimum amount of sleep.  Most people try to get less than 5 or 6 hours of sleep each night and still try to get everything done.  Not only are we expected to be successful at our jobs, but we also have to have side projects, start our own business, raise perfect kids, have an immaculate house, invent something as good a sliced bread, defeat world hunger, and save everyone from harm.

I have a difficult time not feeling guilty with my quiet life and 8 hours of sleep.

I know I’ve fallen into the comparison trap.  I feel bad if I sleep more than 8 hours a night.  “Am I taking more than my share?   Am I wasting my life away?  What will people think of me?

When it comes to sleep, just like a lot of things, everyone is different.

For me personally, I know that I need more sleep to take better care of my mental health.  It’s not optional; it’s mandatory.  I am a different person when I have had sufficient sleep.

I don’t want to just survive; I want to thrive.

I have to remind myself that it is OK to take care of myself.  I don’t want to go back to the way I was.  I have to stop worry about other people’s standards.  If other people think I am a boring, lazy, good-for-nothing then that’s their problem.  I am going to take care of myself in the best way I know how.

So with that said, I will try not to beat myself up so much when it comes catching my ZZZZ’s.

Cheers to afternoon naps!


  1. Hi Mary, I know what you mean and I agree that we are all different. I use to compare myself to my coworkers, friends, PTA , neighbors who seemed to have it together while sleeping only 5-6 hours a day. The reality is they are struggling to survive on a day to day basis. I realized over time making comparison will compromise my mental health and my well being. I can't function if I don't get my 8 hours of sleep. I simply do not work with only 5 hours a day and I would not deprive myself of what my body needs and torture myself. In fact my entire family is that way. My sister, my mom, cousins all need good 8 hours of sleep to function and feel healthy and I was really happy that they share that with me.

    1. Comparing is such a slippery slope! Most of the time, when I am down on myself, it's because I'm comparing myself to someone else or some unrealistic standard. It is good to find people who view the world in the same way as you do;)