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Strategies for the mornings!(9 Posts)
Hello, I wasn't really sure where to post this. I'm in my early twenties, I've had depression since I was about 9, and an anxiety disorder since I was about 15. I also have Asperger's Syndrome as well as some minor physical health problems that are clearly related in part to my anxiety (acid reflux, IBS, migraines, etc). I'm doing the best I ever have been in my adult life thus far. I've halved the dosage of my antidepressant and I'm doing no worse for it. I would probably describe my depression as mild at the moment, and my anxiety as moderate, which is all a huge improvement for me.
I've never been a morning person. I've always slept badly, even as a small child - I think this is influenced in part by my Asperger's Syndrome as I'm hyper-sensitive to noise, light, etc. I've always had patchy attendance at school since my anxiety disorder kicked in and my depression woresened when I was about 15, and this has continued. I'm at uni now, in my final year, and my attendance is going better than ever before. BUT I'm still really struggling with mornings! I always feel most low and anxious first thing in the morning, and when I get up early my acid reflux always seems worst too and hurts my tummy. And the biggest symptom of my depression that sees little sign of lifting at the moment is just the sheer exhaustion that I feel. I'm doing great, I'm studying, I have a part-time job, I'm soo much further than I was, but I am really tired all the time, far more than an average person would be for sure. I feel so exhausted when I set my alarm to get up early in the morning for morning classes. On average I need to be in at 9am at least two mornings a week and at the moment each week I'm only managing one of these. And I only live a 20 minute walk from campus as well so it's not as if I have a long commute or anything!
I know that depression is largely recognised to be diurnal so I'm sure I'm not the only one here who struggles with mornings. Does anyone have any tactics, strategies that I can try?? To improve my sleep maybe as well, or to help get out of bed in the mornings etc. Because my attendance at uni is still suffering and it's really frustrating when I've done all the prep for my seminars and then turn my alarm off because I feel so anxious and sleepy and go to sleep instead of going to the class!
(Also can I just say if you haven't had mental ill health in this way I don't think you will understand the significance of the exhaustion/low mood in the mornings, it's not like it is for an average person.)
A bit if old age nostalgia here..
In my first year at Poly (yes shows how long ago it was) I was not comfortable with 09:00 lectures... but I managed
We lost 09:00 lectures in the second year and had to start by 10:00.. Somehow I coped.
In the third year we went back another hour to 11:00.. By then 11:00 was getting difficult to make..
Leaving college was a hell of a nasty shock..
I think it is part of that time of life.. and made worse by your situation.
I spoke to a lecturer about my mood and the problems of getting motivated.. He suggested that when it happens I should try doing something simple that I know I can manage.. Like tidy my bed and do the washing up and then a bit of housework. It was not patronising, and it did help.. FWIW, I struggled through life for many years after college until I finally broke down about 10 years ago.
Please keep posting.
I'm a morning struggler too! Aside from other difficulties some people are literally night owls by genetics & for those people the norm of the "9-5" set-up is hard.
Anyway, have you got a sunrise clock? The ones that wake you gently by brightening gradually. If you haven't tried one, you could see If you could use it to wake up a bit earlier & have more time to get sorted. Obviously get all the practical stuff started the night before. If you can eat in the morning, have something ready by your bed (overnight oats, cereal in bowl with milk in flask, hot tea in flask etc) so you can eat/drink while coming to & have a little relax MN-ing or somesuch. Have the radio on while you get ready so you can get timechecks as they usually have some kind of news/travel bulletin every 15mins.
Get in as much natural light as you can. The walk to campus is good. You are doing a lot though for someone with physical/mental issues to cope with. Is there anyway to fit in some exercise? That might help improve sleep & provide a bit of relaxation.
Or as a last resort do you think upping your med dose temporarily during the darker season would help? You shouldn't see that option as being weak or in any way negative.
I struggle with mornings too. Can go to bed feeling alright and wake up feeling sick and shaky and awful with anxiety.
Some things I have found that help:
Putting a podcast or radio show on to distract me as I get ready
My cats meowing at me to be fed
Having a vibrating alarm (on my wrist!) rather than a sounding one
Lighting a nice calm smelling candle
Having prepared EVERYTHING (outfit, bag, food etc) the night before. I often shower in the evening too
If I can, I try to exercise a bit, but I guess you get that with the walk
When I was at uni (which feels a long time ago now - though it wasn't really) I had friends to help me get up as we had the same lectures, but it was a massive struggle.
I don't think winter time helps.
Haven't tried that light alarm thing, it sounds good, are they expensive though? I can try making my phone alarm vibrate as well and see if that helps with waking me (although obviously won't be on my wrist though haha).
I do eat breakfast yes, when I manage to get up! That's mainly because DH makes it for me - atm he's unemployed and looking for work so he's supporting me in the mornings. But I may lose that when he starts work. He usually makes me a cup of tea or coffee and gets me some cereal, which is super helpful, and he helps coax me out of bed but sometimes I feel too exhausted/anxious and just get all irritable and moody with him and refuse to get up .
I do a fair bit of walking as we don't drive but other than that I do one hour of pole fitness every week at uni too, but I would really struggle to fit more than that in atm. I also do stretches at home sometimes whilst watching telly.
I don't think increasing my antidepressant dose will help, I was like this on the higher dose too, I'm just as well as I was then and no worse, so I don't really see the point in increasing it. But don't get me wrong if I went downhill I would increase it, I agree totally it's not about weak, I need to do whatever works for me.
I don't actually own a flask but I really need one, it would be good to take hot drinks to uni with me now it's getting properly cold too.
Candles good idea too as I have two little ones next to my bed so if I kept the matches by me I could light them easily.
Have u had your bloods checked? As you sound motivated but lack energy. Iron, D3, b12 all really important and if low can cause problems
When my depression flares up I find getting out of bed very hard.
Having a radio alarm that is set for some time before I need to get out of bed helps as does putting the bedside light on when the alarm goes off. Having a few minutes just concentrating on the radio until I have woken up properly seems to make a massive difference. If I was more organised a thermos by the bed with a hot drink would be even better.
Radio alarm is an idea I could try as well, thanks for that. I will deffo give all these tips a try and see if any of them help me.
Yes I agree that the main thing is the physical exhaustion rather than the mental motivation, so I did think about physical causes as well, and I had bloods done about a month ago but everything came back normal, which I was actually kind of upset about because I was really hoping it was something a supplement could fix. But as my GP suspected it's just my mental health - GP thinks because my anxiety is still so bad a lot of the time, when you're anxious your body is super wired up and running really hard and then this uses up lots of energy, so that's why I'm always tired. That's the theory anyway.
Yea I've had anxiety that bad before OP. Look into a good magnesium supplement, it will help with energy and anxiety
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