Morning Anxiety and Depression

Most days I wake up around 8am with a strange and uncomfortable feeling in my body.  It is a mixture of anxiety and depression, and it makes it really difficult to get out of bed.  The feeling is always worse if I have a busy day of appointments ahead, but even when I have a clear day the feeling is still there.  Most days I will lie in bed until after 10am, unable to shake off the feeling and begin the day with any sense of peace or excitement.

I remember this feeling from when I was working for Age Concern Oxfordshire in 2007.  I was taking the antipsychotic Olanzapine which makes you want to sleep for ages, making it particularly difficult to get up in the morning.  I was working a 9-5 job as a busy administrator, and getting to work on time was a nightmare.  I remember that during the walk to work each morning I would normally consider taking a detour to the doctor and getting signed off sick with depression, but I was determined to live a normal life so most days I would just push through and get to work by 9am.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been working.  The side effects of the Olanzapine were so severe that I was like a zombie for much of each morning.  I felt depressed for the whole day, and working a busy job in those circumstances was just too much.  But I felt a certain pressure from my father, with whom I was living, to keep on working.  He wanted to see me live a normal working life and would have hated to have me mooching around the house all day feeling depressed.  Whereas I really needed time and space to recover, he wanted me to push on through and carry on working.

At the moment I am living in London in a shared house with other people with mental health difficulties.  I honestly don’t feel I can work with the crippling anxiety and depression that I wake up with each morning.  Sometimes I think the feeling is linked to the antipsychotics I am taking (this time it’s Depixol), sometimes I think it’s the result of life circumstances weighing me down, and sometimes I think this feeling is just part of who I am, and always will be.

I am hoping to find some way to stop feeling this morning depression.  I have a medical review coming up on 10th March, and I’m going to talk everything through with my doctor.  I would be prepared to try an anti-depressant if my doctor thinks that will solve the problem.  Otherwise, it might help to try a reduction in the dose of antispychotic I am taking.  Or perhaps I should try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy again.  Something has to change, as I have been feeling suicidal in recent weeks.

I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, and I have to accept that part of my illness is to experience spells of depression.  This needs to be managed in the best way possible, but having this condition makes it very difficult to live a ‘normal’ life.  I would love to be able to get up feeling a sense of energy and anticipation about the day ahead, but I find that nothing excites me or motivates me in a way that would counteract the anxiety and depression.

Having a couple of really good close friends is a massive help.  Just knowing that I can express my feelings without fear or inhibition is a really big boost, and that’s what gets me through the day most days.  Without my friends I would be truly lost at the moment.

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear about your experiences of coping with anxiety and depression.  Can these feelings be overcome?  And if so, how?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

11 comments

  1. This probably sounds too basic to be of any effect but … people with low levels of Pottasium experience the same awful feelings. A simple blood test would show if your pottasium levels are too low. Only 3 bananas spaced out over one week will address the imbalance; should that be the case. This is because too many bananas are bad for the heart so, all things in moderation.
    Also, you are brilliant in the literary sense so why don’t you write a book of fiction; crime writing perhaps. It will take lots of research so you will automatically wake every day with new questions in your head to be answered / researched concerning various personality traits /aspects of the characters you are conjuring up, setting the scene, building the plot etc.

    Get yourself FULLY mentally absorbed in anything other than yourself which will prevent you from continually zooming in on YOU… since most people suffering from depression become totally absorbed in themselves which exascerbates their problems.

    Writing about another character/s you are creating will distract you from yourself because to do it well, you have to fully absorb yourself in actually creating full personalities for your heros or villains or ‘red herrings!
    … gradually or otherwise, for those new characters to show why their behaviour leads them to the circumstances in which they find themselves in your plot. You would; for the duration of writing the book, be fully immersed every single day in things other than yourself. The characters in your work of fiction will carry you along into that adventure day by day as you build the plot and you will find yourself looking forward to their next move or their next thought or their next little wheeze etc.
    Try it. What have you got to loose? Best wishes

  2. Dear Jan,

    Many thanks for your thoughts! I know I have had a Vitamin D deficiency in the past but as far as I’m aware I’ve never had a Potassium deficiency. If something comes up in a blood test then I’ll try to address it, though as you suggest, I’m sceptical that a diet-based solution would work easily…

    As for writing a novel, I will give the idea some thought. I normally only enjoy writing non-fiction, and don’t feel much motivation to create and develop characters, but I have to admit, I’ve never tried it. My sister, on the other hand, has written two novels! I think I would certainly benefit from having some kind of project to work on. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

    Best wishes,

    Steven x

    1. Hi Steven,

      The Pottasium ‘thing’ sprang to my mind whilst reading your words because out of the blue one day, I began to experience feelings of fear and anxiety. This just isn’t me so, I took myself off to the doctor who sent off my blood for tests. My Pottasium levels were the lowest on the safe scale. I started eating half a banana a day three times a week and never looked back.

      I realise your condition is more complicated but low pottasium could be contributing to your feeling so wretched.

      I hear what you say about lack of interest in fiction writing but that is my point. Writing non-fiction amounts to
      YOUR theories, YOUR beliefs, YOUR views evoking ongoing deeper self thought and introspection keeping your world as small as that sphere.

      To get inspiration for your characters, start taking notice of others. (FORGET ABOUT YOU) Take proper notice of their behaviour and their funny little ways, have conversations with them, build up a bigger picture of them. If they have problems think of a way in your mind whereby you’d solve their problems if you were in their shoes. Take notice of who they interact with and then, how each of those individuals bounce off each other or react to another’s behaviour… cause and effect; so to speak.

      You need to put yourself away for a while and branch out into another’s world … albeit created by you …another’s thoughts with all THEIR problems, hopes and dreams and possibilities.

      Create a new day for yourself by creating a new day for your characters; a new year; a new life! All fiction writers live through their characters … and so can you Steven! In fact, with your immense writing skills you could do it far better than most.

      Go to it!!!

      Best wishes

      Jan

  3. Hello Steven,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences of morning anxiety and depression.

    My own experience has led me to believe that many of the common antidepressants do not help and have undesirable side-effects. I found this to be true of the Tri-Cylic Anti Depressants (TCADs), like Amitriptylineand the Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors ( SSRIs), like Citalopram, which inhibit libido. Venlafaxine, a NordrenalineRe-uptake Inhibitor ( NRI) also inhibits libido but certainly gave me a holiday from my persistent anxiety. Mirtazapine (a combined re-uptake inhibitor of Nordrenaline and Serotonin) gave me the best results with the fewest side-effects! You are likely to develop a tolerance that will reduce its efficacy over a long period of time, but this is true of most anti-depressants.

    A friend of mine, who has also experienced a wide variety of anti-depressants, found that Prozac was the only one that helped over a long period of time. GPs are reluctant to prescribe it so it will depend on the quality of your relationship with your doctor and their degree of empathy with you.

    I certainly was sad to hear how you suffer in the mornings and I hope that the information I have given is useful to you. I would certainly urge you to research the anti-depressants before considering their use rather than to accept whatever is currently promoted by the Pharmaceutical companies.

    Best wishes,

    Dinos

  4. Great to hear from you Dinos and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Gosh, it seems like a minefield out there! I wouldn’t know where to begin as I’ve never been on anti-depressants before. My gut feeling is that I should try and carry on without them, maybe adjusting the antipsychotic that I am currently taking. I could benefit from lowering the dose a little I think, although the last thing I want to do is relapse! I do have a good psychiatrist who is always open to suggestions, which helps. Best wishes, Steven

    1. Hello Steven,

      Thank you for responding to my post.

      I’m glad that you have indicated that you prefer to avoid anti-depressants. I think this is an admirable and brave decision.

      I think Jan’s advice to start another project is a good one. I disagree that you need to write a work of fiction. Anything you write emanates from your own thoughts, fiction or fact. Your pieces on how you feel are serving a good purpose both for you and your readers. I have found them very interesting and well-constructed. You definitely have good writing skills and I would urge you to use them to explore fields other than philosophy. I am reluctant to make suggestions because I do not know you well enough.

      You’ve seen examples of my work, like ‘Thoughts about God’, and you know that I started a group exploring what it means to be human. I have also written a short play for a local drama group. It was enacted about a year ago, but I don’t think I sent you a copy of that. But it’s horses for courses so whatever suits you, go for it…..

      Best wishes,

      Dinos

      1. Thanks Dinos. I’m certainly taking all of this advice on board. I would like to carry on writing but I need to find a field or genre that inspires me as much as philosophy has done over the last few years. It’s strange, I don’t really know where to go after philosophy becomes it seems like the ‘ultimate’ subject!

        I’m keen to see more of your work Dinos so if there’s anything you can email me, please do!

        Best wishes,

        Steven

  5. Hello Steven,

    You have already found another subject to write about – mental health. It may not inspire you as much as philosophy but it helps no end to bring these issues out as you do! Of course, you may not want to say much more about yourself but you can write about the issues of people you know, or even use the net as a research tool, or for inspiration. The point is, you may feel flat after Ultimate Truth, but you’re still human and you have an excellent way to express yourself.
    Another field that may be good for you is the bible. You have already said that Christianity is not your scene, so why not start a dialogue about the problems with biblical texts? You’d be highlighting problems that many people think about but are afraid to air. The contradictions aren’t just apparent; they are real. The reason that the bible contradicts itself so much is that the texts should never have been put together as though it was one book about God! If you think you might do this, I would recommend The Orthodox Study Bible for its plain English and useful commentary.
    I will send you some of my work direct to your email address to avoid bulking out this site. I guess my suggestions will not help you because you may have a problem with making decisions. What I’ve tried to say is that you have a gift and you are honest. There are many topics you could write about, if you focus on them.

    Best wishes,

    Dinos

  6. Things that have helped me in the past include: yoga which I practise every day, herbal antidepressants (my husband is a herbalist) walking or cycling or swimming, watching comedy on TV, laughing and of course prayer. I also made it a practice to blog every day and spent some part of each day writing my posts. I have also found it beneficial to ration my intake of news

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