Depressed and anxious in the mornings?
October 8, 2008 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Depressed and anxious in the mornings?

I know this has been posted before surely, oh well.
What do you guys with depression/anxiety do in the mornings when you get like I am now? I'd say it's depression mixed in with anxiety. Usually it evens out around mid-afternoon to late afternoon, but I struggle to find out what to do with myself until then. It seems like anything I try to bury myself in like schoolwork or housework just seems to carry that "depression/anxiety" feeling with me.

posted by isoman2kx to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I get that way sometimes - my mind starts spinning even before I get out of bed, and if I don't catch myself I will get very anxious. Try just sitting and counting your breaths immediately after waking up. Every time you start thinking, restart the count and try to let the thought go. Once you feel calmer, eat something. Low blood sugar will also make you feel like crap.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2008

What's your caffeine usage? I have this issue, as do some of my friends, if we don't get our caffeine fix! I guess caffeine goes hand in hand with sugar for most of us, so it might be related to what TLF said above too.
posted by wackybrit at 9:56 AM on October 8, 2008

Caffeine can have an adverse effect too. It actually makes my own anxiety worse so I stay away from coffee. Just something to think about.
posted by unassuminglocalgirl at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2008

Have you considered exercise? It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but, if you can get yourself out the door for a walk even, it often helps and you might find your anxiety and depression somewhat alleviated. And, even if it isn't, the rest of the day, as you take stock about what you have to feel good about, you will be able to say, " I took that walk this morning". Sometimes it will feel like **only** baby steps, and other times you will feel that baby steps are, at least, steps. Go easy on yourself. Good luck.
posted by frizelli at 10:09 AM on October 8, 2008

If your depression and anxiousness mellow out in the afternoons, it might have something to do with your circadian rhythms and sleep cycles being out of sync. How much sleep do you get? Something that really helped my partner was a Dawn Simulator. She grew up in Seattle and having daylight to wake up to really helped even her out in the morning.

Also, my brother is a hypoglycemic. When he doesn't eat breakfast and get his morning blood sugar up, he would be terribly anxious and depressed until he would eat something. I'm not a doctor, but if your feelings of depression cycle daily, it might just be a behavior that is the cause. Analyzing your sleep, eating and exercise patterns might yield some clues to help sort out your problems.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:16 AM on October 8, 2008

For me, it is working out pretty intensely 6 days a week with a team that combats that morning feeling. I have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it, so when I first wake up, I don't have the time or effort to think or do anything but get out the door. By the time I am done working out, the endorphins are in full flow, I've seen some friends, I've gotten a sense of accomplishment and breakfast is delicious.
posted by dame at 10:17 AM on October 8, 2008

Oh and I meant to add, with that schedule even the day I don't work out is okay because the rest and relaxation, the lack of structure, is replenishing instead of anxiety-producing.
posted by dame at 10:19 AM on October 8, 2008

You don't mention it, but if you drink alcohol in the evening, that can definitely lead to anxiety and/or depression in the morning.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:51 AM on October 8, 2008

My depression/anxiety is under control for the most part, but I frequently wake up with an immediate free-floating panic and dread. I don't know if you have sleep problems or not, but either way it might just be circadean, just a matter of which neurotransmitters get center stage at certain times of the day. Whatever you're doing for your depression - meds, exercise, meditation, etc - it might be worth trying just changing up the timing a little. Especially meds, since some of them have a short enough half-life that a few hours can make a difference in some people. If you do have sleep problems, try addressing those - there's plenty of wisdom on here about how to get yourself into a normal sleep cycle. Most of us tend to underestimate the degree to which unhealthy sleep can affect everything else

But to actually answer your question, what helps me is to bridge the gap between sleep and wakefulness a bit better. If I get out of bed immediately and hurry around, it stays with me. If I hit snooze a couple of times, then sit up in bed for a couple of minutes, just breathing and being awake but not busy, my head clears up a lot quicker. Try a quick yoga practice in the mornings, it's one of the few things that's both energizing and calming.
posted by ultraultraboomerang at 10:53 AM on October 8, 2008

Things that can help re-set the Bad Brain switch when you wake up with it:
• Get some exercise not long after you wake up.
• Eat food with protein and a little good fat and low-glycemic carbs & drink plenty of water.
• Listen to some upbeat music (in fact, you can get that exercise by dancing around).

Things you can do in life to help minimise Bad Brain:
• Get enough rest on a regular schedule.
• Stay caught up at work/school so that deadlines are not a source of anxiety and barriers are not a source of depression.
• Be social with people who are accomplishing things.
• Avoid alcohol and other depressants (not that you're doing otherwise, but just in case).
• Avoid food and drink that create "crashes" - high-glycemic carbs, large amounts of sugar, caffeine.

There are a lot more, but those are some of the tried & true basics.

You can do it! That you know to ask for help is already a huge victory in defeating Bad Brain!
posted by batmonkey at 11:17 AM on October 8, 2008 [5 favorites]

I have a history of depression that's been (successfully) treated with SSRI medication for about 10 years. However, last January I found myself waking up feeling just ... bad. Even though I had slept all night, it felt like I hadn't slept "well," or that my brain had decided to go down a well while I slept. I would wake up every morning jittery, unhappy, and (honest to God) nauseous (although I never threw up). By noon the nausea was usually gone, and I felt mostly better. However, it would start all over again the next day. I went through a series of tests and medications for stomach problems, but to no effect. I started to worry that I had a brain tumor (I am not a hypochondriac), and even ended up having an MRI.

After several weeks of this, when it began to seem like I would forever wake up nervous, unhappy, and nauseous, I considered that the problem might be a sort of generalized anxiety that manifested itself prominently in the morning. For some reason, it seemed to develop during my sleep. And I also found that many people view the stomach (well, the whole digestive system) as a second "brain" that is just as susceptible to body chemistry and emotional disruption.

The long and short of it is that I convinced my doctor to prescribe Xanax. The first day I took it when I woke up in the morning, I felt no nausea. A few days later I felt back to normal. I think I still have 3/4 of the prescription left in the bottle.

Purely anecdotal, ymmv. Good luck!
posted by pardonyou? at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2008

When I had days that seemed consistently overidden with a feeling of anxiety or depression, I began yoga. In that one hour a day I let myself completely let EVERYTHING go. That was the rule. No cell phone, no thinking about personal work, or studies, or finances, or love life- nothing. I gave myself one hour a day because I knew that in that single hour my life could not change in drastic ways. It was MY hour, and claiming it changed the way I saw the day.

I'm less given to anxiety now, and I do yoga more to keep fit than relieve depression. It was a great relief, now it's a great workout!
posted by thatbrunette at 5:41 PM on October 8, 2008

A simple morning, meditative constitutional takes care of this for me. I force myself to focus on my surroundings, breathing fully, and the movement of my limbs. Any time stressful thoughts enter, I just say, "Not now" and focus on something in front of me. It helps that I like my neighborhood. Without fail it gets me to the point of being functional. I'd love to be able to do something more rigorous, but haven't had time to shower and recover a little after.
posted by waterandrock at 10:21 AM on October 13, 2008

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