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Cyclythymia & Sleep



New member
Jul 25, 2017
Hi. I'm a thirty-one-year-old female who has recently received a diagnosis of cyclothymia after fifteen years of being diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

The psychiatrist who diagnosed me as having this version of bipolar disorder met with me when I was in the ICU after a suicide attempt. I was not depressed or sad at all when I took many handfuls of pills, but rather furious. I wanted revenge. Of course the actions for which I sought revenge were the result of hallucinations due to a stomach bug making me unable to take my medication for a few days, in addition to complete lack of sleep for roughly three and a half days, but that was that. Because of the motivation for the attempt, as well as a history of my long and sordid experience with anti-depressants, he gave me this new diagnosis. To be honest, I worked as a technician in a psychiatric hospital for two years, and I didn't even know there was more than one kind of bipolar disorder!

I didn't mean to go on like this, but rather get to the crux of my dilemma. I am having a lot of trouble with sleep. I mean, I have had trouble with sleep my entire life, but this is getting on my nerves. At bedtime, I take 200 mg of Seroquel, 25 mg of Lamictal, and 1600 mg of Gabapentin. We have gone up as high as 300 on the Seroquel. None of these medications have ever made me sleepy. I've been on Risperdal, which never made me sleepy and gave me an elevated prolactin level, and since I'm on Medicaid, there are things my insurance just won't cover. My NP tried to put me on Rozerem, for instance, which it wouldn't cover. She is unwilling to put me back on Ambien, even before the suicide attempt, even though that worked for years. I've tried Trazodone, to which I did not respond well, and obviously with the new diagnosis they tend to want to avoid antidepressants.

Benadryl is hit or miss, it will make me sleep like 1-2 nights in seven. And since most over-the-counter sleep aids are simply Diphenhydramine under another name, also not helpful. Unisom is also unhelpful. Melatonin, again, has never made me sleepy. I don't drink alcohol, which is to be avoided in concert with my medications, and I would never try recreational drugs. So suggestions along those lines are decidedly unhelpful.

Hell, I don't know why I'm even positing this here. I've never joined a forum before. I'm just frustrated, and my currently weekly appointments with my NP are not bearing fruit. I want sleep. I like sleep. Granted, my sleep hygiene sucks, but when you've spent three decades with insomnia, you know not to go to bed before you're drowsy. I don't have a clock in my room and never look at the time on my computers/phone, so I just take the meds at 9-10 pm (when it actually does dawn on me to look) and next thing I know it's four in the morning. I don't go to bed until I think there's a chance I might fall asleep because I hate tossing and turning. It makes me think. I don't like reflecting on my life, past, and current circumstances, so again I avoid going to bed until I'm drowsy. Now, I have haunted websites trying to encourage good sleep hygiene for years, and I have tried most if not all of the suggestions to no avail. I don't know what to do.

God, this was a long post. Sorry. I guess I needed to vent.



Well-known member
Jul 23, 2017
Try ASMR videos. They are on youtube.


Well-known member
Apr 5, 2015
Valley of dry bones
I feel for you with your insomnia. I struggled with it for a long time before being diagnosed with bipolar 2. I am on seroquel, trazodone, and zopiclone for sleep, but slowly reducing the zopiclone because the college of physicians wants patients off of it because it's so addictive. I also take melatonin and a herbal sleep aid, and with all of that I manage most nights to get a decent sleep. I don't know what kind of sleep hygiene you practice, but things like turning off technology several hours before bedtime and listening to soothing music can really help. You've probably heard the whole speech about exercise and cutting out caffeine, but it does help. I also use essential oils in a cool mist diffuser. Lavender and ylang ylang are good for sleep. I also like to combine lavender, sage, and cedar wood oils.

The problem with insomnia is first the insomnia, but then there is the anxiety about the insomnia, and then it becomes a vicious cycle. So it is just as important to address the fear and anxiety.

I hope you find something that works for you and gives you the relief from insomnia that you need.
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