Sunday, August 23, 2009

Depression and that Disgusting Morning Feeling

Many people suffering from depression have discovered that they usually feel worse in the morning, a symptom usually associated with severe depression. This was my case as well, as we can see from the following diary entry:

28th Feb 1990
In the mornings, I always feel disgusting
Not bad, not guilty, not unclean, but disgusting, unsettled, disturbed.
And the degree to which I feel disturbed varies throughout each day.


This was written two months into severe depression. The worst phase of depression, where I did nothing but lay on my bed and churn over obsessive fearful thoughts, had passed. But this next phase was not that much of an improvement, and was still accompanied by this disgusting morning feeling.

I would wake from a fitful, sometimes nightmare filled sleep, only to be disappointed to find that I felt worse than I did the night before. This is a strange and unsettling experience, as you would expect to feel better after a night’s sleep, but with depression, that is typically not the case. Anxiety levels may be elevated when we wake, and we may even wake with fearful thoughts already churning through our mind. In fact, I often found myself debating my fears in my dreams, and waking merely brought those fears into conscious thought.

Even when we are well on the road to recovery, have regained hope, and are beginning to have good days, it is still common to wake in the morning and feel so bad that we wonder if we really are improving at all.

In ‘Self Help for Your Nerves,’ Doctor Claire Weekes has a whole chapter devoted to this issue, called ‘That Dreaded Morning Feeling.’ She shares, ‘It is strange how the morning has this disconcerting habit of apparently paying little regard to the improvement of the day before. People are disappointed and bewildered when, after going to bed fairly cheerful, they wake the next morning to find the same old heart of lead, the same depression, the same churning stomach, the same difficulty in facing the day...” (1)

The temptation when waking is to stay in bed and rest until we feel better and feel more able to face the day.

However, this is not the best course of action. Although upon waking we may feel disturbed and exhausted and do not feel like moving, that is exactly what we need to do. We need to get out of bed when we wake, shower, dress, have breakfast (preferably with other family members), and then get outside for a gentle walk in the fresh air. As we walk, it is a wonderful opportunity to chat away to Jesus and fellowship with Him, even if we cannot feel His presence like we used to. We should also reflect upon Bible verses that provide encouragement and tell us of His faithfulness.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

The activity of getting up and preparing for the day, and going for a walk combined with fresh air can bring relief to our troubled, weary mind, revitalise our exhausted body, and gently pushes away that terrible, disgusting morning feeling. Then we will be ready to face the day and do the things that need doing.

In contrast, had we stayed in bed, that disgusting morning feeling lingers much, much longer, and fearful thoughts also have a free run to keep assailing us.

(1) ‘Self Help for Your Nerves,’ Doctor Claire Weekes, Angus & Robertston Publishers, 1989, p105.

All verses from NIV.


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  • 39 comments:

    1. "Feeling worse in the morning." I understand and sometimes it is very difficult to make myself get out in the fresh air....
      Thank you for sharing your heart with each of us.
      Blessings, andrea

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    2. Peter,
      I wish I had found writings like this when I was in the middle of my depression. My mornings were TERRIBLE. Everything you described and more. I had nightmares and I would wake up very anxious and sad. Mostly extremely overwhelmed with the day ahead. I often stood at the back door saying goodbye to my husband and children, just weeping. And then I'd sit at my kitchen table and journal and pray asking God what was wrong with me. Then I would systematically inventory my life, trying to discover the culprit of my dark mood.


      When you're in the middle of it, it's easy to blame it on everything else BUT the depression.

      That's what I did, anyway. Usually, my husband got blamed! ha ha.

      Blessings,
      Sandy

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      Replies
      1. Wait. How did you get out of depression?

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    3. Isn't it amazing how the enemy plays with our minds to keep us from doing the very thing that will make us feel better, making it look like the worst possible choice? I mean, when we don't want to get up, once we are up and moving, we usually begin to feel better. But then again, it's not really so amazing; after all, the enemy is the father of lies!

      Peter, thanks so much for sharing your heart here. You have an incredible ministry.

      Blessings,
      Cheri

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    4. THAT is incredible wisdom and advice. Thanks for sharing it.

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    5. Hi Andrea, motivating ourselves certainly can be an issue. But well worth the rewards! (My epilepsy medication makes me feel lethargic, but I refuse to submit, so motivation is often still an issue with me.) God bless :)

      Hi Sandy
      Thanks so much for sharing with us your troubles with depression. The testimony you gave on your blog about your dealings with and recovery from depression after the loss of your little one is so heart wrenching yet also powerful.
      And it sounds like our journals were printed on the same press. I have pages and pages of notes of me trying to work out what was causing the endless list of symptoms that were caused by depression.

      Hi Cheri,
      Great to hear from you. Yeah, the enemy certainly loves to attack us when we are down. Praise God that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

      Thanks Laura! My pleasure.

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    6. Hello Peter,
      Every day I wake up many fears come to my heart, the main fear is that God has abandoned me and I start checking my heart. The fears are bigger when I wake and when I feel anxious. Thanks for your post, it encourages me a lot. Be blessed.

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    7. in the midst of this now and have been for over 40 years.....it's as if I had written your words because they describe me disgustingly perfect. I'm about to give up hope of ever getting better after all there are countless numbers of people who suffer like this and others with disease and handicaps that never see a light of recovery at the end of their long dark tunnel. So it is with me.

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    8. Hi Annette,
      I think there are many, along with you and me, who could have written those words. Yet please do not lose hope, for even in the midst of this suffering, Christ is with us, our Shepherd, leading us through it. Though Him we can endure, even overcome. And there is the wonderful hope that this life is only temporary, that an eternity with God, without suffering, awaits us in heaven.
      Are you taking medication for depression, and are you receiving counseling? I would also recommend that you read "Self Help for your Nerves" if you can locate a copy, that has helped me so much.
      God bless
      Peter

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    9. i need God's help fast.I was treatedfor malaria and typhod a month ago.I have done ecg,urinalysis,ers,mp,widal,renal scan and so many other tests.The doctors dont see anything wrong with me but in the last two months,i havent been able to go out without help.I have severe panic when i wake up with intense shortness of breathe,at such times,doctors listen to my chest when im been rushed into emergency and they say my chest is clear,it calms down on its own,yest was so intense and i was finally given an inhaler.What i dont understand is the severe fatigue in the morning,i would be in intense terror like my heart was going to stop meanwhile it was normal,i have a fast heart rate of about 92 though,i always feelmyself breathing.was given asthma taabs yesterday.I still dont think am really asthmatic cos i dnt feel chest tightness.it is more of a feeling of dread.I feel deep sorrow in the morning for no reason.Everything is moving well in my life.I want to know if this is how depressed people feel because i cant trace the depression to anything and the fear,i cant trace to anything either.I get better later in the day.Any help?

      ReplyDelete
    10. Dear Anonymous
      If the doctors have given you a clean bill of health, then from what you have described, these symptoms are typical of depression.
      Feeling worse in the morning is a common symptom of depression sufferers. The feeling of dread, and terror that seems to come out of the blue and threatens to overwhelm you, are normal of depression as well.
      Depression can be caused by major events in one's life, but can also come on without any triggers, especially if it has been in the family.
      When you wake, get up, shower, and get active as soon as possible. That will help the morning feeling to reduce and perhaps go away.
      With the panic/terror, you can learn to accept episodes and learn to live with them, without focusing on them, and their strength fades quickly.
      Can I suggest that you get a copy of the book "Self Help for Your Nerves?" Every question you have mentioned here is addressed in that book.
      There are also articles on this site dealing with panic attacks and how to break depression's fear cycle.
      Hang in there, what you are describing is what so many of us have experienced, and overcome! With the right knowledge you can overcome as well.
      God bless
      Peter

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    11. Hi! I posted earlier but I am not sure it went through. This blog is very interesting as it involves my issue and it also deals with Christianity. I am a Christian and for a while now I have been waking up with a feeling of disgust. I have trouble falling asleep and hate waking up! At some point I related this to depression but I am totally fine when I get up. The problem is that I don't want to get out of bed but I can't stay on it either. I also have lusty dreams, sometimes related with drugs (with other men) and I am married. I feel like I am sinning in my sleep. It is just horrible. I have even gotten to thinking hat I am being demonically possessed while I sleep. What do you think?

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      1. Dear Lisetica
        Thank you for your post and question. Though I am not sure if I can be of any assistance here. From my experience, dreams tend to reflect our thought life and desires, also our experiences. Do you entertain waking sexual fantasies? That could cause such as a result, as could porn. If you are not doing either of these things (and I am in no way suggesting that you are) and the dreams continue, then I would suggest consulting a pastor or counselor for further guidance.
        In the meantime, do not let the dreams worry you, but commit all areas of your life to Christ's Lordship, and try to go to sleep with your mind focused on Him.
        God bless
        Peter

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    12. hi. my mornings are really bad. they have been for some time. i thought it was because i separated from my birth family years ago, got married and moved far away. my husband and i have a decent marriage but he is not as nurturing as my family was. i am now 50 years old, troubled by mid-life issues: not sure which direction to go in; want to move back to my home town, etc. typically, if i can get through the morning, i can make it through the rest of the day. but lately, it's been carrying over into the day. i am an extrovert but don't feel close to anyone these days. anyhoo, not sure what to do. don't really want to do medication again...maybe im embarrassed, maybe i just don't like taking medication; im not sure. lately i REALLY don't have a lot of hope. confuses me and bums me out. thanks.

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      1. Dear Anonymous,
        Yeah, those mornings that carry into the day are annoying. I have also noticed that when they continue into the day, it greatly affects our desire to socialize, so what you have shared is normal I believe, as is the lack of hope, confusion and exhaustion.

        Honestly, if there is a medication that you took in the past that helped you deal with that morning feeling, do not feel embarrassed if you go back onto it. If you had diabetes you would not be embarrassed about being treated for it, would you? Depression is an illness just like any other.

        Also try having early morning showers, going for a walk outside late morning if that morning feeling is still going, or even an engrossing hobby activity with which you can relax to break the train of thought/feeling bad. Write diary entries to Jesus as well, writing to Him what you are feeling, praising Him for His faithfulness, etc.

        Anyways, I hope that helps, but please don't force yourself to suffer unnecessarily if you know of a med that can help.
        God bless
        Peter

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      2. I was about your age when I started feeling sad about wanting to be around my family more. I heard that's part of a woman's "mid-life crisis" or menopause! We realize after the sexual hormones die down that home life is more important now. I decided to spend more time with my daughters and their children, but I secretly wish I lived there, instead. It's a real ache. It's really sad when I have to leave.
        My solution is taking classes, becoming involved with recreation groups, studies with Godly church ladies that encourage me, and trying to find things my husband and I can do together to have something to look forward to.

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    13. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for 25 years. The depression and anxiety is always "there". However I have major episodes in which depression and anxiety jump to their full strength. Right now I am facing one of those terrible bouts and I am really scared. I feel terrible in the morning, I feel scared, terrified, I just cant go on. After I eat lunch I feel better. I wonder if some day I can get a definite cure..
      I see I am not alone, I wish luck to all of you in managing this terrible disease..

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Dear Anonymous,
        You most certainly are not alone. Many, many others have gone through what you are going through, and are going through it right now. And please be reassured that depression and anxiety is a terrible con, it tries to trick us into believing that the fears are real, especially during the 'black days' or terrible bouts, as you called them. It is in these times that the fears feel so real that we believe them. But it is in these times that we must remind ourselves that these times are temporary. We just have to wait them out and they will pass, that 'good days' will soon follow. We have to remind ourselves that the only reason we are having such thoughts and feelings is because of depression.

        I believe that you can change how you respond to these terrible bouts so that you are no longer scared or terrified, and that will rob them of their power. Can you either read this blog from beginning to end, or the free pdf of the blog's articles mentioned on the top right hand side bar. And can you get a hold of Self Help for your Nerves by Dr Claire Weekes.

        God bless
        Peter

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    14. I am so glad I have seen this I feel so bad in the morning so far away from how I feel now at 22.12 - this morning I was so sad, I cried if my husband was nice, I couldn't explain why, I am disabled and I am alone most of the time, as my husband takes the car to work i cannot get out.
      I am also worried about going to the GP as I have been on 40mg of anti depressants called citalopram in the past, I stopped taking them Sep 2011 and I have since lost over 2 stone in weight! something which has helped me be more mobile!
      So glad i am not the only person going through all these symptoms - I often feel I am the one and only!!
      Sorry about the lack of religion being mentioned (that's what caused my break down years ago!)

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      1. Dear Jules
        Thank you for sharing what you have been going through, and I an sorry to hear of your trials.
        Your reaction is also a very common one. I thought that I was a freak, the only person to be experiencing such symptoms. Like you I felt so relieved when I found out that they were normal symptoms for depression.
        Regarding your last comment, that's fine, everyone is welcome to visit this blog.
        But also, I would like to talk to you regarding your last comment. If interested, please send me an email, my email address can be found in my profile details on the right side bar.
        God bless
        Peter

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    15. I have anxiety at night, any time for 4pm until the early hours of the next morning. This obviously makes sleeping very difficult. This website it wonderful, and to have Christian views on depression / anxiety. I read your page on Insomnia and will try to make this special time with God. Life can be so hard! :-(

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    16. I find it very unsettling that people fell the need to always associate happiness with jesus or addressing depression with religion. This is very alien to me. I think the idealistic values people try to push with jesus christ to be very unfair and impractical to the human race. It creates unfair judgement and that is not what I need to improve my depression. For once I want someone to help me solve my problems by not shove jesus or religion down my throat. Just because you are religious and have found joy does not mean everyone will do the same with the things you love. This is another thing that really bothers me. Then people shove it down my throat like maybe my ideals are flawed and I should convert. Yea thats exactly what I need, someone always looking down on me. (sarcasm)....

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      1. Dear Ryan
        Thank you for your thoughts.

        Please note that the target audience of this blog is Christians suffering from depression. (Though all are welcome, of course.) No-one is looking down on you, as we were all non-believers in some stage of our past too.

        Please have a another look through this blog post, 'Depression and that disgusting morning feeling,' and list how many practical suggestions that have been shared on dealing with those horrible mornings - you will find quiet a few.

        May I also challenge you to get a Bible and read the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and take note of the things Jesus said. He said that we should not worry about tomorrow, He said that we should love others as we love ourselves, He said we should love and do good to those who hurt us, and so on. The fact is that if all Christians (and those who call themselves Christians) were to put Jesus' teachings into practice, the world would be a very different place, with peace and love abounding.

        In the meantime, if you would like a non-religious practical help to depression, please grab yourself the book "Self Help for your Nerves, by Dr Claire Weekes."

        Just some things to think about,
        Regards
        Peter

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      2. I guess we feel Christ is like medicine, but just because someone is a Christian doesn't mean they are going to suddenly get happy. It did get me out of depression the first time many years ago. The main thing someone with depression needs to do is go deep within themselves and see what circumstances seem to be out of your control, if you feel stuck, hopeless about something, or wish some dreams would've come true. Maybe this is a time for real change for the better in your life that you haven't discovered yet. Seek what you are interested in and find a class or place to be involved with others to do similar activities. You might realize a new vocation or 'calling' where you can use your talents or gifts, perhaps for others!

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    17. I Think this Article and it's postings are Fabulous! I was given the book "Peace from nervous suffering" by Dr. Claire Weekes many years ago by a Psychiatrist. I was cured! Now after years of feeling in control, I am in a set back. Books have dust on them... I got so GOOD at her teachings I fell into fear and depression and had lost my Staff. I am back to reading and study. Not Easy! Once again I have wore myself OUT!!!! How? by Searching and searching for WHY WHY WHY I feel like this. I'm SO EXHAUSTED! Need to stop that! I remember Weekes saying... no need to search for some "Deep seated issue" Still the issue remains... lets work on the SYMPTOMS. Finding the reason isn't always the cure. Ah..... this dreaded early morning feeling.... Another day of darkness.... fear, and searching. Did I say searching? Dr. Claire Weekes was my salvation... I fully recommend her books, and I will be the first to say... YOU MUST put her words into action. This is my fail! I'm tired, scared again and this makes it hard to believe anything right now. It helps to read these posts. Just to know I am not alone is a GREAT relief! God Bless you all and please contact me if I can help!!! I need YOUR help too! We can do this... and Peter.... Your a God send!!!
      (Hugs ) bronwenprsns@aol.com

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      1. Hi Bronwen,
        So glad you found this blog, and that it has been able to minister to you as well. Wonderful to hear that you too have been ministered by Dr Weekes as well. Sorry to hear you are in a set back, but I'm sure as you refresh Dr Weekes' teachings, and hopefully these posts as well, the Lord will help you to get back on top of it again.
        God bless,
        Peter

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    18. Thank you very much for this blog. I have been battling my depression and anxiety for what seems like forever. I had always managed to control it, but after college it started getting stronger and stronger. Now that I am in my 30s, I have a therapist and I am on medication because my depression comes out of nowhere. The mornings for me are the hardest and I end up praying for a half hour just for the strength to get out of bed. I'm so glad to learn that I am not alone. Reading about how you are still able to function and have a family really makes me feel like I might be able to do the same one day.

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      1. Dear Lemonpower,
        You are most certainly not alone in this, there have been so many who have walked this road of depression before us, and who are on the road with us right now too. The 'disgusting morning feeling' is a common symptom of depression. Here's a
        link to an article on this blog all about it. You may find some practical hints on dealing with it. And yes, most definitely you can learn how to cope with depression to the point of living a normal life again, and you can recover from it too. I am glad to hear you are on medication and seeing a therapist, necessary for someone with depression.

        You might also benefit from reading the
        pdf booklet of this blog's articles.

        God bless
        Peter

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    19. Thanks to everyone who shared. I also feeling bad in the morning to a point that I become so dizzy that want to vomit. Good to know that I am not the only one. Hope to find help here. Do you have forum here where I may communicate with other Christians dealing with similar problems.

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      1. Dear Anonymous
        Have you asked your doctor about the dizziness and nausea, they may have some practical ideas on how to combat it.

        Sorry, there's no forum on the blog, but there are a few forums out there for Christians with depression. You should be able to find them with Google.

        God bless
        Peter

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    20. It helped me soooo much to read all the posts about how after a good nights sleep you wake feeling worse in the morning !!! I thought something was really wrong with ME! It is so hard to get out of bed. When I do I move to the couch and watch Joyce Meyer for 30 min., turn off the tv and continue to lay on the couch. Lying there another hour makes it even more difficult to get up.
      I like the idea of getting up and showering and taking a walk. I have to plan appointments in the morning so I have a reason to shower, get dressed and be on time. Moving does make me feel better. Thanks for ALL the comments ! Kris

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      1. Hi Kris
        Thanks for your comment and sharing how the post has been helpful. I find having a job helps as well, as it forces me to rise early, pray, and get ready for work.
        All the best,
        Peter

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      2. This sounds like it could be my post - Joyce Meyers and lying on the couch some more and all! (Those were the nights I probably did not sleep enough, though.) My symptoms are much better when I get my sleep then have somewhere to be in the morning since some days my job starts later. I'm not too bad at work. I volunteer some mornings, too, and that may help some of you. I heard we should check with the doctor to make sure it is not 'sleep apnea', 'low blood sugar', or other problems. For now, I'm going to try hard to have somewhere to go with people on those mornings, since shopping, laundry, or reading doesn't always help. I'll try eating smaller meals through the day, and a little at night, and maybe a glass of juice in the a.m. Having the nerve to call someone for prayer has lifted my spirits a couple times. Hope this helps!

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    21. I so want god to come into my heart and give me peace, I have begged as this depression and anxiety is killing me, nothing seems to work, the pain is so great. I also suffer from heath anxiety which is so scary, I have tried to be a good person my whole life but it is not enough reason to live, the sadness and fear is always there, sometimes I cry for days, I feel no hope. the sadness of life , the fear of illness are killing me, I just want peace, nothing else ~

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      1. Dear Anonymous,

        Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart, and accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour? The most wonderful peace we can find is the peace He gives us, a peace that comes from knowing Him, and knowing that all things are in His hands, regardless of how much of a mess our life seems to be. Jesus also gives us hope, for when we know we will be with Him in heaven when we pass away, death loses its power. Here are some Bible verses that teach us this:

        We need to recognise that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,' Romans 3:23. (NIV)

        We need to 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,' Acts 3:19 (NIV)

        We need to believe in Jesus. 'For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.' John 3:16 (AMP)

        Romans 10:9 (NIV) tells us, 'That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.'

        That's how we enter God's family. 'Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.' John 1:12 (NIV)

        Also, if you can read the booklet on this blog about depression, you may find a lot of practical tips on how to cope with and overcome it.
        Free booklet on depression

        God bless
        Peter

        God bless
        Peter


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    22. I too have trouble in the morning. I have suffered from depression since my early 20's, and I am 40 now. Fortunatly, my depressive relapses are shorter now. In the past, the eppisodes lasted about 3 months. I am learning to manage my depression better as I get older and have more knowledge. I too, agree that having routine really helps. This is the first eppisode that I have had since my daughter was born (5.5 years ago.) My in-laws had to take her for 5 nights. I didn't want her to see me crying for 12-15 hours a day. However, when she came back I knew that I needed to be strong for her. It's not easy, but I am doing a pretty good job. Working out the gym has helped me tremendously while she is in kindergarten. Depression is a constant battle, but my faith keeps me going. I love Jesus, and I know that he watches over at all times. I just had a medication adjustment about 3 weeks ago, so that is challenging. As the dose goes up, the symptems lighten. I can't say that all the symptems have gone away~especially in the morning, but I know that Jesus will brighten my days as I go along. I have encountered 6 episodes of depression, and I really feel like the coping strategies that I have learned are really helping. Thank you for your article. As I know that I am not alone in feeling a bit more depressed in the morning. It's helpful to know that I am not alone. My husband, and my daughter give me a reason to want to rise above the, "dark hole." It's not easy for sure, but if I continue to take the healthy steps towards recovery, I will be fine. God bless you.

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      1. Dear Anonymous,
        Thank you for sharing your journey with depression with us. I'm glad to hear that the meds are lightening the symptoms, and that your coping strategies are helping too.
        May the Lord Jesus bless you richly,
        Peter

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    23. I'm struggling. I left my church several years ago for a relationship that has now ended and thrown me into Great Depression. I'm not sure what to do now. I wake up feeling depressed , sad, anxious and fearful. By night time I'm completely normal. It makes no sense.

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      1. Dear Beth,

        Thanks for the question.

        It is normal to wake feeling bad when depressed, and for that horrible state to fade away during the course of the day, only to be back the next morning. From what I have read, it is something to do with depression sufferers having an abnormally extended period of dreams/nightmares before they wake. Regarding your situation, have you seen a doctor regarding the possibility of medication? I also recommend you see a Christian counsellor or pastor experienced in counselling depression sufferers, to receive counseling for issues that are troubling you. Lastly, have you come back to God in repentance and recommitted your life to Christ? God is a loving Father who runs to welcome back those who have wandered away from Him and then come back.

        God bless
        Peter

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