Most days I wake up around 8am with a strange and uncomfortable feeling in my body. It is a mixture of anxiety and depression, and it makes it really difficult to get out of bed. The feeling is always worse if I have a busy day of appointments ahead, but even when I have a clear day the feeling is still there. Most days I will lie in bed until after 10am, unable to shake off the feeling and begin the day with any sense of peace or excitement.
I remember this feeling from when I was working for Age Concern Oxfordshire in 2007. I was taking the antipsychotic Olanzapine which makes you want to sleep for ages, making it particularly difficult to get up in the morning. I was working a 9-5 job as a busy administrator, and getting to work on time was a nightmare. I remember that during the walk to work each morning I would normally consider taking a detour to the doctor and getting signed off sick with depression, but I was determined to live a normal life so most days I would just push through and get to work by 9am.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been working. The side effects of the Olanzapine were so severe that I was like a zombie for much of each morning. I felt depressed for the whole day, and working a busy job in those circumstances was just too much. But I felt a certain pressure from my father, with whom I was living, to keep on working. He wanted to see me live a normal working life and would have hated to have me mooching around the house all day feeling depressed. Whereas I really needed time and space to recover, he wanted me to push on through and carry on working.
At the moment I am living in London in a shared house with other people with mental health difficulties. I honestly don’t feel I can work with the crippling anxiety and depression that I wake up with each morning. Sometimes I think the feeling is linked to the antipsychotics I am taking (this time it’s Depixol), sometimes I think it’s the result of life circumstances weighing me down, and sometimes I think this feeling is just part of who I am, and always will be.
I am hoping to find some way to stop feeling this morning depression. I have a medical review coming up on 10th March, and I’m going to talk everything through with my doctor. I would be prepared to try an anti-depressant if my doctor thinks that will solve the problem. Otherwise, it might help to try a reduction in the dose of antispychotic I am taking. Or perhaps I should try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy again. Something has to change, as I have been feeling suicidal in recent weeks.
I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, and I have to accept that part of my illness is to experience spells of depression. This needs to be managed in the best way possible, but having this condition makes it very difficult to live a ‘normal’ life. I would love to be able to get up feeling a sense of energy and anticipation about the day ahead, but I find that nothing excites me or motivates me in a way that would counteract the anxiety and depression.
Having a couple of really good close friends is a massive help. Just knowing that I can express my feelings without fear or inhibition is a really big boost, and that’s what gets me through the day most days. Without my friends I would be truly lost at the moment.
Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear about your experiences of coping with anxiety and depression. Can these feelings be overcome? And if so, how? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.