I have been on Depakote, with very few small breaks, for 8 years. The day I was put on it it made me tired. And on the rare occasion I was off Depakote I was often on something else have at least moderately sedating. But Depakote was always the worst. I have been sleeping in till 10 or 11 almost constantly for years. I would miss half the weekend with my family and miss out on going to church because I could not wake up. I would set all kinds of alarms. I would ask my husband to help me whenever he could. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to change my body clock, that I needed to get up early whether I was ready or not, that it was lazy not to be awake by 8, that I needed to start going to bed earlier, and all sorts of other advice or criticisms. But the thing is I tried to change my body clock. I went to bed between 8 and 9. When my husband would force me to get up while I was still that tired (usually at my request the night before) I would end up too exhausted to move all day and I would have a mood swing. And no matter how many days I did that my body still wanted to sleep and sleep.
Past a certain point I privately began to wonder if people were right. Maybe I was just lazy. I didn’t know anybody who laid in bed as much as I did. Everyone else got up in the morning. Not at noon. Some people get up for their jobs, some people to do activities with their kids which I was missing out on, and even the people who periodically sleep in as late as I was sleeping in were capable of getting up earlier and being functional people, especially when they needed to do something. For me it didn’t matter what I needed to do it was a nightmare to get up in the morning. But I seriously wondered if maybe I was lazy. I wondered if it was a character flaw.
Over the past week I have been vindicated. The doctors pulled me off Depakote. Initially that wasn’t good because I went manic, but since then the other drugs they have put me on have kicked in and they are much less sedating while still keeping me stable. I’ve been getting up naturally between 4:50 and 7 every morning without setting any kind of alarm. I get up and I spend time with my family or I do work around the house or I get ready for church. I spend a full busy day doing stuff and enjoying my life. I am not laying around in bed, and I feel great. I really hope this continues and that these drugs work as long as possible. But even if these burn out, as almost everything I have ever taken has, I have learned that I will refuse to go on Depakote again. I will never ever take that drug again. It’s heavy stabilizer and it prevents Mania, but that’s not worth what it does to you. You miss half your life sleeping.
I am just enjoying being awake so much! And it feels so good to know that it really was the medication and not something morally wrong with me. I felt so bad. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how strong some of these medications are and how many different bad side effects they can have. And sleeping all day is not even the worst thing that can happen to you. But long-term it’s a pretty serious consequence of the medication because sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day is no way to live. I will never go back to that again.