It’s been over a year since my last visit with a therapist and about the same since I’ve taken any kind of medication for my depression and anxiety. I thought the days of major anxiety issues were behind or at least more manageable now that I’ve been through it and learned how to take care of myself better; I was very wrong.

Over the last week, my sleeping has been intermittent. I have woken up a few times a night but I’d eventually go back to sleep. When I’m awake, I ruminate. I’ll create a worse case scenario and dwell on it. My mind will not let go of the most negative outcome until it comes up with a empirical solution. The problem is there’s never a perfect solution.

Last night, I only managed to sleep a couple hours, maybe three. The anxiety is very strong and persistent. I can feel it from the back of my head and mildly pulsating down my spine. Has anyone in here felt this before? I hear people talk about flight or fight and that is a good analogy in this case. My mind is in fear of the future and will not let me relax and as a result I can not sleep. I really do not do well without sleep. I’m the one who usually falls asleep by 10pm and sleeps deeply until 5:30-6am. I love my sleep but who doesn’t!

This could not be a worse time a for a relapse! Within the next couple weeks, my wife will be giving birth to twin boys; these are babies 4 and 5 in my family. I know this seems like a lot but I come from a family of 10 and she is from 5. Needless to say, I’m used to having a large amount of family around; there’s a birthday every weekend in my family!

So, does anyone have recommendations for sleep and anxiety? It needs to be strong because I’ve tried small remedies in the past and they have little or no effect on me. From past experiences, if I go 1 or 2 more days with little or no sleep, the depression will spiral out of control.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

2 Comments
  1. kitmoon 6 years ago

    I’m the same, I really don’t do well without sleep. I get especially anxious about it when I travel and such. I slept poorly for decades and the connection between that and my depression was pretty clear. IMO the best recipe for good sleep is to manage stress well in general, that’s probably a ‘duh’ kind of answer.

    I don’t have a single fix for sleep any more than I do depression, in both cases what I do is I ‘attack’ from multiple angles. I’ve noticed that when I go looking for one perfect solution, everything turns out NOT to be it, and helplessness follows. So … I do lots of different things. Little factors add up and I try to keep the ‘well’ full or close to full however I can – if I lapse in one area I can always make up for it in other ways. I practice mindfulness. I take vitamin D. I go outside and get 10 minutes of sun when I can. I eat high-fibre foods and avoid sugar/flour because I know that blood sugar spikes/crashes have a similar effect on mood. I do breathing exercises before I sleep and after I wake. I take very hot showers because they relax my muscles. Things like that. They add up.

    I guess in this case I’d suggest not to depend on always getting a full night’s sleep in order to make sure you’re rested. That just leads to more anxiety. Make up for it in other ways. Nap often – even when you’re not tired. Practice deep relaxation because when the body is relaxed, repair/healing is enhanced. Even ten minutes of breathing very slowly can have a noticeable effect on your mood, and if you practice a few times a day it will probably improve your sleep as well. And banking sleep might be something to try in preparation for the upcoming big day (congratulations by the way!). This is something I’m exploring myself as I’ve determined I need to build more of a ‘sleep buffer’ for myself instead of just being satisfied with getting eight hours every night.

    As far as anxiety, one thing that might make a quick difference are adaptogenic herbs like ginseng, holy basil and ashwaganda. They are natural and help the body adapt more effectively to stress. Gaia Herbs makes an Adrenal Support formula I started taking a few months ago. I take a half-dose but I can see the difference, it noticeably ‘smooths’ things out for me so that I don’t find myself ‘mood-watching’ much anymore. I’m pretty sure they make a sleep formula as well, but I haven’t tried it. Look on iHerb if that interests you.

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    mornincupofcoffee 6 years ago

    Thanks Kitmoon! You might be the unofficial online psychologist on this site. I will try all your aforementioned remedies. I like the ll angles appoach; its worth it! I’m curious about Ginseng. I have not heard about that one. The mindfullness I’ve tried, albeit with little effort. That one, for me, is the toughest. I’ll have to look online for some good breathing exercises.

    For me, working out offers the best temporary relief. If I get an intense workout, meaning I’m sweating and breathing heavy, there is a weight lifted off my shoulders. My thought is to work out every day or at a minimum go for a long walk.

    Thanks for your response. It was very helpful! I hope you are currently doing well with your anxiety. It seems like you have it in a manageable state.

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