The challenge of dealing with more than one chronic illness

21Mar06

comorbid condition: a disease or disorder that is not directly caused by another disorder but occurs at the same time.

I not only deal with chronic migraines, but I also have Bipolar Type II disorder. There are days it doesn’t really affect me all that much, and then there are the days when it really throws a wrench into my migraine management.

Bipolar Type II disorder is characterized by periods of depression and hypomanic episodes. It’s considered generally less severe than Bipolar Type I disorder (manic depression) but can be just as disruptive.

The main problem I’ve had lately is sleep disruption and insomnia, which directly affects my migraines. As most migraineurs know, a regular sleep schedule is incredibly important. Add hypomania into the mix and your sleep goes right out the window. I don’t like sleeping pills so I’ve resisted using them so far. Sometimes during the day I can tell if I’m becoming hypomanic, but not always (the onset can sometimes be subtle). Often it’s not until evening rolls around that I’ll realize that I am far too wide awake to fall asleep. I might make an attempt at sleeping on those nights, but it’s always unsuccessful. So far this month I have been unable to sleep on the 9th, 12th, 13th and 17th. There is always a strong and stubborn migraine to deal with by the next morning.

Obviously things aren’t under optimal control. I’m currently undergoing a medication change to try and balance things out better. Hopefully that will put an end to losing several nights of sleep per month.

Is tonight one of those nights? Honestly it’s hard to tell so far. I’m usually in bed by now, but there’s still hope yet!

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