Depression and Oversleeping: I Want to Sleep All the Time
Oversleeping is my way out of depression. That's not so odd seeing that sleep, whether it is too much or too little, can be a symptom of depression. For me, I could never get enough sleep. That is often still the case, a keen reminder that I must always be aware of the symptoms of depression that affect me. Depression makes me want to oversleep to numb the pain.
Oversleeping Helps Me Escape Depression
For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. Bouts of depression exacerbate this trait. During my major depressive episodes, I could (and would) sleep upwards of 18 hours a day. When I woke up, I wanted more. The more I got, the more I wanted... the more I needed. It was like an addictive drug. It was also like a veil over the pain I was feeling.
Like no other symptom of depression, sleep helped me escape from all the others. It was so easy, too. Just close my eyes (again) and drift away. No pain. Total avoidance. Which is why this was the hardest symptom for me to combat.
How I Quit Sleeping Through Depression
My depression was treated with both medication and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Medication can be put within arms reach; on a bedside table, under the pillow. And, some therapists offer CBT over the phone. No need to get out of bed at all. But for me, given my penchant for sleeping, getting out of bed was as essential first step along the road to recovery.
At the beginning, it was absolutely the hardest thing I had to do. I would wake up, dress, drive to the therapist, sob through therapy, drive home, undress, go to bed and fall back asleep. My therapist suggested that I should try to extend the amount of time between when I got home from an appointment and when I went back to bed. Five minutes the first day, ten minutes the next, and so on. Slower if need be. While longer awake times meant longer bouts of pain, it also forced me to deal with that pain using other CBT techniques.
I love sleeping. It is my single most favorite thing. Which is why it is also the most dangerous symptom of my depression. Too much sleep, repeated oversleeping, also has the potential to bring me down . . . way down. I must be very, very diligent, aware of my symptoms and committed to my recovery.
Scott, L. (2013, October 13). Depression and Oversleeping: I Want to Sleep All the Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2013/10/i-just-want-to-sleep