Back in February, my doctor put forth an interesting theory on my depression. He wondered if perhaps the reason I wrestled so much with being depressed might be because I wasn’t getting adequate sleep at night. I was already taking a drug designed to alleviate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, so my doctor wondered if upping the dosage of my medicine might help curb my depression as well.

To put it bluntly, the experiment was a total disaster. I went from taking one pill before bed to taking two and experienced three consecutive nights of ridiculous insomnia. Instead of lessening my depression, the lack of sleep only served to increase it and heap a dose of anxiety in on top of it. Needless to say, I stopped taking the medicine after the third night, and I’ve slept just fine ever since.

Or have I?

Last month, I underwent a sleep study at the local hospital. I usually don’t have any problem falling asleep, and Iimage can’t say I’ve ever noticed myself waking up during the night. Waking up in the morning is always a chore, though, and I never really feel fully rested, even after a long night’s sleep. While the study did not reveal any signs of sleep apnea (during which a person can actually stop breathing in their sleep), I was told I woke up a few times during the night and should come back for another study later this month.

Because my brain is constantly over-analyzing everything, I’m wondering now if my doctor might have been onto something. Unfortunately, theories on the connection between depression and sleep (or the lack thereof) range far and wide. For example, I have long believed that my depression is what causes me to want to sleep so much and so often. Others who struggle with depression, however, suffer from extreme bouts of insomnia. From what I have read, no one is exactly sure at this point whether interrupted sleep is a symptom of depression or whether depression is a symptom of interrupted sleep.

Of course, all this points to the maddening nature of depression. It is obviously real. It obviously exists. It obviously affects some more than others. Yet at the same time, no one can seem to pin it down. Medicines can help manage it. Counseling can help some people move past it. But does anything actually “cure” it?

I am looking forward to the results of my second sleep study, mainly because I want to be able to begin testing my doctor’s theory. If I start sleeping better, will my depression lessen? I’m on the doubtful side, but who knows? I never want to rule out any solution to feeling better. Speaking of sleep, I hear my bed calling me now. Good night, everyone.
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