Sleep is my only respite from the relentless heaviness of depression. But sleep itself is often as elusive as the relief I so desperately seek. Ever since childhood I've been a light sleeper. The slightest sound stirs me out of slumber. Usually if I'm awakened in the night, that's it. I'm up and there's no going back. It also takes an eternity to fall asleep in the first place. In the rare case that I do sleep until morning, it's a restless sleep at best. Great if a prowler targets my home but not great for keeping one's sanity.

Sleep is so important. A luxury. I don't consider myself an insomniac thank goodness, but I have had bouts of recurring nights when I'll suddenly awake at 2 or 3 in the morning consistently for a week or two at a time. These hours are the most painful and dangerous of the day. Instead of rest I'm faced with idle time that my mind runs amok with. I do try reading or even watching television to occupy myself but it's a lonely and sad time span that tends to tailspin into exhaustive, emotional episodes. I mentally beat myself up. Reflect on bad memories. Lament decisions I've made. Ruminate on all my regrets. Pray for relief. Cry for hours. I'll sometimes wander aimlessly through the house trying not to disturb the family in an effort to expend the energy.

Having also dealt with anxiety, I was prescribed a generic Klonopin. The side effect is drowsiness. This has become my sleep aid of choice. For me this drug takes a while to kick in. Sometimes 2 or 3 hours. I take a half dose that gets me through the night. It's just right. No grogginess in the morning and I avoid the nightmare of being alone with myself in the wee hours. I loathe having to resort to this. It's an artificial sleep. It can't be good for me. On occasions when I really need to hit the hay quickly I'll take an Ambien. Strange drug this Ambien. You have to be careful with it. Between the time it kicks in and the time you actually sleep it's capable of making you do things you'll have no memory of the next day. I always make sure I take it immediately at bedtime. Unfortunately we depressives become slaves to these little pills. We depend on them to get us through the day as well as the night. It bothers me greatly but it always seems to come back to being medicated.

Whether the alarm sounds or I just wake on my own, it's the single worst moment of the day. The instant sleep evaporates and reality floods in. Utter dread and sadness barge in like unwelcome in-laws. As the sleep wears off I can feel my face contort. My brow furrows. It's a really deflating moment that sets the tone for the day. Weekends are even worse because there's more time to "sleep in" which really amounts to much ceiling staring.

I should just jump out of bed and take a walk or find something to occupy my mind but it really doesn't help. I have done this many times but I tend to default to just lying there and festering in my misery. No one to blame but myself. My poor wife wakes to my contorted face and at times gets angry. I don't blame her. I would be angry too. It weighs heavy on the marriage. I have ruined many weekends for her and I'm deeply remorseful for that. The vicious cycle continues and each one starts in the morning.

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