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all_riled_up

How to deal with morning depression

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Hello all! I recently started treatment for my depression, and one of the things that's been particularly difficult is feeling really bad/ depressed when I wake up each morning: it's more than just "ugh I have to get up now," it's more like a deep sadness/ panic/ dread that sets in almost as soon as I open my eyes, and all I want to do is stay in bed because I don't feel ready to face whatever the day is going to bring. I've looked it up and it's called "diurnal mood variation" and is apparently really common for people with depression: some researchers say it's because our cortisol levels are especially high in the morning (to prompt our bodies to wake up), and others say it happens because people realize they have to face a day that they predict will be terrible. I imagine it's a mix of both. Despite this helpful info, I'm not finding many sites that offer advice on how to deal with it/ combat it, but I think that improving how I feel at the beginning of my day could really improve how I feel for the rest of it too.

For those of you who also experience morning depression (or have in the past), what are some strategies/ tools (dare I say, solutions) that have helped you?

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Hi all_riled_up and welcome to the Forums.  Nice to meet you.

I experience the very same thing you describe and explain so well.  And I think your explanation of it is excellent.  Sorry you experience this phenomenon too.  It is scary and unpleasant, to put it mildly.

Since I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind, I really am unable to give any advice.  I can tell you what helps me, but please do not consider it advice because we are all different and what works for one of us might not work for others or might be actually harmful.

A psychologist taught me this technique.  He said:  "Imagine your brain as a beloved small child in your care.  It is a wonderful child considering all the millions of things it does for you each day.  It is now sick with depression.  Talk to your brain like you would speak to a beloved child:  "I love you.  Things are going to be alright.  Whatever happens we are going to get through this.  I love you no matter what you do and no matter what happens.  Even if you make mistakes, big or small, that will never change my love for you.  Successes, failures, fortunes, misfortunes . . . my love for you is constant and invulnerable.  Nothing can separate me from my love for you.  Even if you are scared I love you.  Even if you are scared of being scared, I love you."

I asked the psychologist what to do if I did not have the presence of mind to do all this, for example, when just waking up in the morning and still being somewhat in a daze.  He told me:  "In that case, just say 'I love you little brain' over and over again.  Whisper it over and over again.

This is NOT advice!  Your health is too important to take advice from me!  The only real advice I would dare to give is to seek the advice of a professional psychologist.  He or she will get to know you and give you professional advice that fits you and your situation.  This is a depression forum of fellow sufferers.  We share with each other our problems and what helps us, but we are not a substitute for professional help.  Sometimes there is a real need for fellow sufferers of depression to be able to communicate with people going through the same or similar things.  We can offer each other the encouragement, understanding, compassion and consolation that those who have never been stricken with depression might be unable to express.  This has helped me and I hope it is a help to you too.  

There are many members here and I think others go through what you do in the morning.  Hopefully others here will have better words for you today than mine.  My heart goes out to you.  That morning thing is quite rough and disturbing.  Wishing you all good things . . . all the best!  - epictetus 

 

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Zos    5

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For the entire month of August and a little of September I had, just as you described, extreme anxiety and depression every single morning that would ease the more I cried. My doc added abilify 2mg to amplify my prozac, which was at the max dose of 80 mg. After about a week on the abilify, the severe morning anxiety and emotional instability started to go away. 

Now my anxiety is down and I haven't cried for days. But there's still the thoughts that I have, which no medication can ever cure, that keeps me in a depressed state pretty much all day. But I'm more stable emotionally which is helpful.

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Epictetus thank you so much for sharing your morning mantra! I actually tried it the other night after I had the first good day in a while & it helped me appreciate the moment even more! I'll be trying it in the morning next! My psychiatrist has been phenomenal in helping me tackle my general anxiety problem: he gives me new strategies and worksheets at each appointment :D He's suggested we focus on the larger anxiety issue because that will hopefully trickle down to the morning depression, but in the meantime I'm hoping to find some tools to help!

Zos I'm sorry to hear that you've been through this as well, I'm glad your anxiety is down! I've heard good things about Abilify and my pdoc has even suggested it in the past, so if this continues for a while then I'll definitely look into it! I hope your depression subsides & the thoughts become fewer & farther between! :)

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Mornings are an extreme struggle for me as well. Biggest thing is I try to have as little to do in the mornings as possible and to get enough sleep. 

-I find putting myself to bed at a decent hour the night before and getting enough rest really helps. I have insomnia but I take meds and also find sometimes I remind myself I need to actually try to go to sleep which means doing a night time meditation on YouTube and actually telling my brain hey no more rumination no more thinking no more day dreaming it's time to try to sleep it sounds dumb but it helps me actually sleep and being firm to myself about no iPhone/computer  etc in bed . 

-having coffee machine prepped and ready to turn on helps me too.  When my alarm goes off it can help knowing coffee is only a click away I really want to buy one of those programmable ones but I can't afford it right now

- having everything ready , lunch made, breakfast ready, clothes for work and work bag all packed. Makes it easier to get out of bed knowing I don't have a zillion things to do which in those first awake moments seems overwhelming 

-I wash my hair and shower at night. So in the morning I can just take a quick shower or can even skip it if I sleep in

-I set an old school alarm clock and it's too far to reach from bed. I set my two iPhones on opposite sides of the room too .   Gotta get the feet in the floor to really wake up. 

 

 

 

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I don't know what a good morning feels like, literally. I always blamed depression but recently I learned it could be a sleep disorder similar to "non-24" or some optic-neurological disorder. all I can to is request some testings. Nothing helps. I get out of bed like a very sick patient form ICU, both mentally and physically. I wish I investigated this 20 years ago.

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I used to have to face a stressful work environment. After waking up I would take a hot bath to ease the tension in my body. It helped a little. I'd try experimenting with hot/cold and see if either of them help. 

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Wrenn84 thank you for your advice, I do try to prep as much as I can the night before but sometimes I'm like "ugh I'll just deal with it tomorrow" and shoot myself in the foot because the morning becomes more hectic. The morning dread usually subsides as more time passes, so I've been thinking waking up a little earlier than normal so I have more time before work to fully wake up and calm down.

chris8088 I have noticed that hot showers help a bit, especially in the cold morning hours! I haven't taken a bath in a while though & I do enjoy them (especially with bubbles and a book!) so maybe I'll get back into that routine, thanks for the suggestion!

Zagor I'm so sorry you deal with that every morning: I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you're an ICU patient, even though you just woke up you feel completely worn out and exhausted. That's so hard because after a good night's sleep (or even just some sleep) you expect to wake up feeling better than when you went to bed. I'm not sure if it's the same for you all, but I feel much better going to bed than I do waking up and it's a weird/ jolting paradox to be living. I find that if I can give myself something to look forward to each morning (even if it's really minor like cooking something special for breakfast or watching some of my favorite show while I get ready for work) that getting up feels a bit easier, maybe give that a try & see how it goes?

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I'd also experiment with scents. Some colognes really do make me feel more grounded. I've heard good things about lemon balm team. It's soothing like chamomile but doesn't make you sleepy. 

/Take that last suggestion for what it's worth. I read it online.  😊

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I HATE mornings and I HATE getting out of bed. I never wake up feeling "good" or refreshed, or looking forward to the day ahead. Not even when I've been on vacation!

So, I set my alarm a half hour early and pop an adderall 20mgs. I might drift off back to sleep until my regular alarm, but then I can get up and do what I need to do. I'll get a cup of coffee, and take another adderall. I'm still not "chipper," but I can get moving, and start clearing a little of the mental mud. 

Have you tried any stimulants?

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chris8088 Thank you for the aromatherapy suggestions, I had so many lavender scented things for this very reason! But I hadn't heard that lemon balm helped, so I appreciate that recommendation!

GingerM I haven't tried stimulants other than caffeine because I have an anxiety disorder in addition to depression: I actually cut out caffeine when the anxiety & depression hit hard this summer because I thought it might be causing my insomnia, but also because I noticed the anxiety was worse when I was caffeinated. It's been about 2.5 months since I quit though and I'm in a better headspace now, so I may start reincorporating it. As far as taking something early in the morning, I have thought about taking half of a klonopin (2.5 mg) on the mornings that it's been really bad, but I'm weary of how addictive benzos can be so I haven't tried that yet.

Again thank you all for just adding to this discussion, it means a lot and since I first posed the question I've been noticing my mornings are a little better. I've incorporated a lot of your advice so I know that's helped, but honestly knowing I'm not the only one who goes through this makes me feel so much more level headed. Before I looked it up or heard from you all I would lay in bed sobbing trying to figure out what was causing so much anguish: now I'm able to wake up and say "I'm not alone, so many other people go through this, so it's not me" and at least feel comforted.

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Speaking of aromatherapy, the smell of oranges helps energize me. It is one of my favorite scents. Oranges smell like sunshine and happiness to me.

Unfortunately, it's hard to find anything purely orange. It's always a mixture of something else and orange, i.e. mango or ginger, and 'mandarin orange' is not the same. 

<sigh>...the struggle.

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35 minutes ago, GingerM said:

Speaking of aromatherapy, the smell of oranges helps energize me. It is one of my favorite scents. Oranges smell like sunshine and happiness to me.

Unfortunately, it's hard to find anything purely orange. It's always a mixture of something else and orange, i.e. mango or ginger, and 'mandarin orange' is not the same. 

<sigh>...the struggle.

I totally agree, those all smell so different from pure orange. I thought I'd share that I think you'd like a face wash I used to use called Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub: while I admit it's more of a "citrus" smell than just an orange one, it really is energizing to use in the morning and I thought it sounded up your alley!

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15 minutes ago, all_riled_up said:

I totally agree, those all smell so different from pure orange. I thought I'd share that I think you'd like a face wash I used to use called Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub: while I admit it's more of a "citrus" smell than just an orange one, it really is energizing to use in the morning and I thought it sounded up your alley!

Thank you, I've actually tried that and it's more lemon-y than I care for. It does have a "zing" to it that'll smack you in the face, though! :)

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