When I am low all I really want to do is sleep. This is partly because depression saps energy, but also because it is a way of shutting out reality- checking out of Hotel Sadsack as it were. My instincts tell me to shut down, to withdraw, to hide and to ignore, and sleep allows me to do all of the above.
When I was on my gap year, I was put in my placement with a guy called Nick, who in retrospect had very severe clinical depression (our nineteen year old selves had no clue what was going on). We were out in the sticks in Southern Zimbabwe, in a concrete shack with no furniture, electricity, water or windows, supposedly teaching in a primary school which didn’t want us, and while I was on a relatively rare high with the adventure of it all, Nick responded more rationally by trying to sleep through it. He literally slept for twenty hours a day, lying on the sandy floor in his sleeping bag, blissfully out of touch with our surroundings.
When you have to look after children you can’t go to bed for the day unless you have a proper breakdown. I think perhaps for me that is a good thing- they keep me engaged, and they make me fight the urge to back out of my feelings, and they force me to think of the well being of someone other than myself.
I know that for some people, depression causes insomnia. How is it for you?