High Anxiety
November 18, 2012 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone gone through a period of time where they can't get up in the morning from anxiety. It's not that I am tired, I just feel so much anxiety and this overwhelming feeling that whatever I do will not be enough that it is almost paralyzing me. I have been taking some Xanax but it doesn't really help. The worst thing is that I have these feelings of dread and hopelessness about the future most of the time and i don't know how to get around this. Has anyone gone through a period of time like this where they are barely functioning? I can't stand this anymore even though it's only been about a week.
posted by nidora to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
You are definitely not the only person who has gone through something like this. I have also had these experiences and I am fairly certain that you and I are not alone. Clearly your medicine is not really working well enough; that's what I'd deal with first. In the meantime, get done what you HAVE to get done (e.g. work, showering/basic hygiene, whatever) but don't feel badly if in the interim you slack off on, say, healthy meals or whatever. There are weeks or even longer where I've only been able to manage the very, VERY basic tasks necessary to my survival and in fact my husband has had to do something as basic as ordering takeout because I can't even call the pizza place myself ridiculous as that sounds. So, to boil it down:

1) Get your medicine adjusted to something that works for you as soon as possible. That is absolutely your top priority.

2) Figure out what your other priorities are (eating, not losing your job, whatever is important to you that still needs to be there when you feel better) and focus on those. If you're having a week like this and it's messy and you don't get that haircut you need, DO NOT WORRY! Sometimes it's okay to do the minimum necessary. Your main job is taking care of YOURSELF. Focus on that. Please please also let me know if there's anything else I can do to help; God knows I've been there.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:12 AM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hey, I'm sorry you're going through this and I want you to know it will get better, I think. Life is cyclical with periods of highs and lows, and just because you are in a low now doesn't mean you will always be stuck in that low.

It sounds like you are SO depressed right now that you could really use someone to talk to, and I really think talking about things could help you feel less isolated and alone. Are you seeing a therapist who is prescribing you the Xanax? As Mrs. Pterodactyl says, it sounds like you need a meds adjustment, and it could be helpful to talk to whoever is doing the adjustment about what you are feeling, too.

Good luck, and take care.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:18 AM on November 18, 2012

I suffer from this with my anxiety, and find it helpful to remember that I feel worse in the morning as your cortisol levels are naturally higher at that point. I try and think about the fact that I often feel better later in the day, perhaps this can offer some solace.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Apart from getting your meds readjusted (which you should definitely do), try making sure you have one thing to really look forward to every day and use that as the lever to get yourself out of bed. During periods when I'm similarly paralyzed with anxiety, I focus on one nice, easy thing that I can do when I get up (having really good coffee; reading my favorite web comic). I also find it easier if I've done my schedule the night before. It it's already prioritized and written out, then I don't feel as overwhelmed by the need to make a decision which also makes it easier to get up. Maybe this, or something like might help you, too?
posted by smirkette at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2012

Apart from getting your meds readjusted (which you should definitely do), try making sure you have one thing to really look forward to every day and use that as the lever to get yourself out of bed.

This is pretty much what I do. I allow myself some time messing around on the internet with a cup of coffee before I face the day. It helps a little, though I must admit that staring at the ceiling saying 'I hate my life' does occur on a regular basis.

What helps also is if I've sorted out my clothing options for the next day in advance. Not sure why, but it does.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:06 AM on November 18, 2012

Yes definitely. I went through a series of months feeling like that and not even realizing it wasn't natural or supposed to be like that. It took a very lucky bit of help from my family to realize I could use a healthy dose of medical help. I have depression and anxiety, but these days I can function just fine, albeit with hiccups every now and then. You're not stuck like this forever, but talking to a psychologist may help. I did CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, among some other things, which helped me a lot in addition to my medication. I can't recommend it enough. Life isn't perfect still, I still worry, but the difference is still like night and day. PM me if you have any questions about what I did specifically, if that sounds helpful at all!
posted by dubadubowbow at 11:11 AM on November 18, 2012

I've worked out alot of my anxiety problems thorough CBT but for whatever reason waking up and not being able to get out of bed still haunts me. And, for me at least, having this "getting up" problem doesn't necessarily seem to correspond to depression or a period of stress either

The thing i've noticed, and this seems to echo what other people have said here, is that its much worse on days where I have an open schedule. If i have to leave for work right away then i have no problem getting up, but if i have a bunch of things to do that day with hazy deadlines than its much harder for me to get out of bed. Its frustrating because i loose hours of productivity that way.

One strategy that worked for a while was as soon as i woke up i would make my bed. IT works because i have to get out of bed to do it, and because its a simple task that you can succeed at. You made that bed, noones gonna make it better than you.

I'm curious to hear what other people have come up with.
posted by Fluff at 12:28 PM on November 18, 2012

Drop down to the minimum you need to do. Find a way to get physically outside, even if it's just buying a newspaper or having a cigarette, at least once a day.

You are not alone. The problem is solvable. If it bleeds, we can kill it!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:28 PM on November 18, 2012

Please see a doctor and get your medicine adjusted, don't ignore it because it will in all probability get worse. It did for a family member who described the symptoms you are having and she finally went to the doctor and got back on track. Please don't delay.
posted by just asking at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2012

Xanax is a very short acting benzo. Perhaps you are suffering rebound anxiety as it wears off?
posted by gjc at 2:55 PM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: I just went to a family function today and was sitting with everyone and all of a sudden I became exhausted. I could have fallen asleep where I was sitting. When I got home I tried to lie down, I couldn't fall asleep. That's the thing, even when I am sleeping I don't feel rested. Last night, I woke up every two hours and just laid there panicking about the future and what I should do. I don't know whether I can take much more of this.
posted by nidora at 3:24 PM on November 18, 2012

I just wanted to give you a virtual (((hug))). Does any of the above advice sound like something you might try? When I am suffering, taking even one step toward a possible solution (like choosing a plan of action), can make me feel more in control and hopeful of a good outcome.
posted by michellenoel at 3:45 PM on November 18, 2012

Sounds like you need to see a doctor and right away. If you can't call yourself, call a family member or friend and get them to help you. There's no need to suffer like are, you need help in the short term and you can get it, don't wait. One of the worst parts of feeling like you are is the idea that you won't get better, but you most certainly will get better.

Right now there's nothing you can do about the future and you're not going to decide tonight what to do about it. You have just one job now and that's to get yourself feeling better, and that means seeing a doctor. So put that idea in your head that you going to see a doctor tomorrow and your going to start feeling better, guaranteed.

I have a friend who was diagnosed about a year ago with a terminal disease, his doctor told him then that he had 5 or 6 years. He was devastated, and like you couldn't sleep and was worried sick every waking minute about his wife and kids, and himself. He spent about 6 months in this state and then he had an epiphany. He thought, what if in 3 or 4 years they find a cure, and I've been in this state of misery the whole time. Every minute would have been wasted, I could have been living life with my family. That one idea completely changed his life, the change in him is nothing short of astounding.

It's cliche to say, but none of us can know what the future holds. That's why it doesn't do any good worryng about it. For all you know, you could walk out the door on your way to the doctor tomorrow and get hit by a bus. Then all the worrying you're doing right now would have been in vain. It's really that simple, it is useless and in vain.

So commit to that idea, I'm not going to worry about the future because there's nothing I can do about it. I'm going to see a doctor and I'm going to feel better. And when your feeling better you can make a plan about how you want to live your life. And some things will work out and some won't, because that's the way life is. And you're going to be ok.
posted by PaulBGoode at 10:13 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh yes. I sure have. I have paralyzing GAD, and I could have written this post. Meds help to some degree but what has been more effective is trying to recognize what's happening and instead of allowing myself to ruminate, to try to either come up with a tangible next action for actual problem and commit to it, or just sort of stop in my tracks, acknowledge the irrationality of what I am doing, and distract myself.

I can't sleep sometimes because I'll just obsess over worst-case scenarios or vague feelings of something not being right that put me in mental and physical distress. In these cases I try to get up, watch some TV, read metafilter, have a glass of water, do something I've been putting off to feel a small sense of accomplishment (proving to myself I'm not incapacitated), clean something, hug my cats and obsess over them. Podcasts and games on my phone also allow me to short-circuit the anxiety and sleep.

Good luck to you, I am really with you on this one.
posted by xiaolongbao at 9:18 PM on November 30, 2012

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