I don't help myself either by you know.... just going to sleep. My mind seems to cope with things by purposely thinking of some of the most randomly pointless ideas it can to distract me. It especially likes to do this when all is quiet.
It tells me "let's not think of the rubbish side effects of antidepressants or the fact you can't get to work at that moment due to your mind being on some sort of strike. Instead let's watch a youtube video on how to best arrange your bathroom cupboard or wrap an awkwardly shaped present! We could even try to remember the name of your neighbour's dog when you were six years old or I could just hum to you." No wonder I was so wide awake with that kind of entertainment in my life :) But seriously, you can learn from my mistakes and I can let you know what seemed to work for me.
- The best thing I can think of (which I found the hardest) is to try sleeping, or at least be in bed, at normal sleep times. If you're in bed by say 11pm and get out of it at 8am whether you slept or not, you are still in some sort of routine.
- Try not to nap through the day. This can be such a challenge, I felt so ill that even trying to sit up straight or keep my eyes open seemed like a battle but I knew it was going to ruin my sleep pattern later on if this became my new routine.
- Try your best to wake up early and get out of bed (that is a massive mountain to climb and a huge achievement I know.) Even if you move from bed to sofa and have a glass of water it's a start
- In the beginning of a depressive episode you might nap a lot through the day (especially if your medication doesn't agree with you) and then lay wide awake at night or just not sleep anytime at all even though you're exhausted. You may need these few days of sleep and rest to start your recovery but they cannot become routine
- If you have the lovely side effect of tinnitus like myself it may be peaceful enough to sleep but all you can hear is a constant screeching buzz, which seems louder the quieter your environment is- white noise can help such as rainfall effects that you can find on Youtube
- Cut down on caffeine and sugary snacks and drinks on an evening
- Make sure the room is dark and your bed, bedding and sleepwear is comfortable
- Put down the mobile, tablet or laptop and turn off the TV- blue light from these devices actually stimulates your mind to keep it awake (although I've always fallen asleep like this for years I know I need to break the habit)
- If you are having medication you may want to speak to your GP about whether it is causing you to sleep more or less as they may recommend a different dose or form of medication
I've always found sleep hard but this was a whole new level of exhaustion with no way of drifting off. It doesn't help that my mind started racing with nightmarish thoughts and things like feeling awful for not saying sorry when I accidently bumped into someone in a store 6 years ago! You know what I mean, right? It can go from "did I lock the doors" to "what if I just don't wake up tomorrow because I swear my body and mind are shutting down" and it's awful. If I do sleep I can have nightmares which seem more tiring than not sleeping. But I know that this is temporary.
Soon I'll get back into a normal sleep pattern, see things more clearly and be able to do more. I know I'll feel more physically healthy as well as energetic and get back to being me.
The truest thing I've seen so far about depression was this...
Depression is spending all day feeling tired,
Then spending all night being wide awake
After all this you still might not sleep but at least rest. Tomorrow will be a big day of kicking depression's butt!
So for tonight... I wish you sweet dreams.