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Author Topic: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'  (Read 489 times)

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Offline JCWest

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Hey everyone,

I could really use some advice, kind words and otherwise some encouragement and clear thinking.

The short of the story is that I have GAD and health anxiety, and now bad insomnia for the past week due to my health worries. My health anxiety issue was resolved by a doctor, but now I am terrified of not sleeping, and I am going down a bad path. It's been a week and the only sleep I have managed to get was on medication, for the most part.

I am catastrophizing my situation, terrified it's just going to get worse, that I will lose my job, my relationship, etc... and the worst part is it started over nothing, my own health anxieties running unchecked.

I saw a psychologist this morning who gave me some strategies and I will probably be going back on an SSRI (cipralex) unless I get better this week.

Any advice really would be very appreciated, from those of you who feel like you are hitting rock bottom. It's a very distinct and scary place to be.

Thank you

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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 11:13:50 PM »
Hi, I'm sorry to hear that you're having a hard time sleeping, I can relate because I've been having a few nights of poor sleep myself. I can't fall asleep when I want to, then when I do it's not very sound sleep and I wake up through out the night. But, I'm hoping it resolves itself sooner or later.

Exercise during the day is good for sleep...and green tea has something in it called l-theanine, which I find helps too. 

My Mom passed away Aug. 2012...I was the one who found her after she passed, and I could not sleep for 4 days. But I managed to make it through the funeral and through the grief process unscathed.

We don't give ourselves enough credit for what we can actually endure. I think if you work on getting your HA managed your sleeping will improve.

I can empathize with you...no sleep is terrible, but eventually you will sleep well again :)
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Offline JCWest

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2014, 03:04:39 PM »
Thanks Carrie for your insight and encouragement, I actually managed to sleep last night and I think you had a part in that - so genuinely thank-you for your message.

I am wondering if anyone else who has GAD has trouble with negative/catastrophic thoughts? This is my major challenge; regardless of the issue, my immediate thoughts are worst-case scenario and often very unreasonable, but with GAD what would seem unreasonable to a healthy individual is totally conceivable.
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Online MobileChucko

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2014, 04:37:10 PM »
Hi JC...

I am sorry about both your difficulties with sleep, and your problems with negative/intrusive thoughts.  I can sympathize with you, as I recently hit "Rock Bottom", too.  I had my initial problem with GAD some four years ago.  I got on 30 mg of Remeron, and returned to my old self.  Then, last summer, I started having breakthrough panic attacks.  By the end of summer, my GAD was full-blown, and the 24/7 anxiety was back.  My psychiatrist went up to 45 mg on the Remeron, but after four weeks, nothing had changed.  It is my understanding that Remeron has a reputation for just up and stop working, which it sure did for me.  She started me on 20 mg of Citalopram (Celexa), the sister drug to your Cipralex.  I have been on that for just over six weeks now, and I'm doing so much better.  The initial start-up on the Citalopram caused me even more insomnia, but after just over two weeks, I started sleeping much better.  I have a rain CD that I put on every night at bedtime.  It's just the sound of rain falling.  That really helps me sleep.  The negative/intrusive thoughts were really bad this time.  Just seeing a single dirty fork in the sink could set me off in a downward spiral.  As my depression began to clear on the Citalopram, so did my negative thinking.  What kind of strategies did your psychologist give you to work on?  I will be seeing one the end of the month to start CBT.

I sure hope that things work out for you, JC.  The very best to you!...  Chuck
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Offline JCWest

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 08:04:04 PM »
Thanks for the message Chuck, I'm glad you're doing better.

The short of the story from my psychologist was simply this:

When you imagine the worst case scenario for whatever you are fixating on, simply imagine the best case scenario afterwards. Tack it on as an additional thought, each and every time. Make sure it's a realistic best-case scenario otherwise your brain won't believe it.

She also talked me through how anxiety is something that builds and can then simply attach itself to something, like a physical symptom, or sleeping patterns, and also move around.

I was on cipralex and I found it helped. At this point I like to think that if my sleeping was somewhat OK, that I wouldn't need the medication. I'll have to discuss it with my doctor.

My best case scenario right now is just getting a few hours of sleep a night, that's enough for me, I can work with it. Last night I was able to do this for the first time in a week without taking medication. Tonight will be the first night before I have to go to work the next day, so there's anxiety over that... arg!

I will try the rain CD suggestion, that is a good one
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2014, 09:47:01 PM »
You're welcome JC :) Those 4 nights that I didn't sleep were rough, and what made it harder was knowing I needed to rest if I was going to make it through my Moms funeral. Every night I would hope to sleep, but it never came. The reason I could not sleep was that my adrenaline was so ramped up it had my heart rate faster, and my brain was reliving over and over what I went through when I found my Mom passed away. And the trying to figure out what happened to her the moments before she passed...the what if's, what if I had gotten there sooner.

But as terrible as those 4 nights were, and feeling as though I would never sleep again, I can tell you that I did finally sleep. And since then I have had some of the best sleep--like a baby. I do have the occasional bout of bad sleep, but now I know it eventually passes (by the way I slept pretty good last night too).

So, my point is, don't worry about your sleep..work on you anxiety and the sleep will follow :)
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Offline JCWest

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 09:43:24 AM »
Thanks Carrie,

At this point my fears have gone like this:

- I will never be able to sleep again, to
- I won't be able to sleep without medication, to
- I won't be able to sleep before I have to work the next day (this is the one I'm on now  :sick0002: )

I took a whole whack of over the counter sleep meds last night and I got nothing, not a second of sleep. I think that stuff just doesn't work for me.

I have Zopliclone and Trazadone, but I really do not want to use them unless I need it.

I am hoping that I will just exhaust myself enough today at work and the gym to get even a couple hours tonight unmedicated  :action-smiley-065:
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Offline mta214

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 11:01:19 AM »
For the fears that you listed above, try to come up with a positive, realistic alternative thought.  That's how CBT works, which is something that has helped me a great deal.  For example, when you state that you fear you'll never sleep again, that's the anxiety talking.  You might try replacing that with "I've just been having insomnia lately; that doesn't mean I won't sleep again .  It's physically impossible to not sleep at all."  Try that for your other fears and see if it helps.  I also like the suggestion of exercising during the day and the rain (or other "white noise") CD.  Good luck, and please keep us posted.
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Offline JCWest

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 10:10:04 PM »
"I've just been having insomnia lately; that doesn't mean I won't sleep again .  It's physically impossible to not sleep at all."

This is the big thing I need to realize. What makes it tough is GAD doesn't let you just accept facts for what they are, you can't really believe what you need to believe. I find it's like exercising a weak muscle.

Hoping for a bit of sleep tonight  :action-smiley-065:
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Offline mta214

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 10:50:26 PM »
Yes, I agree with you on that!  I was told to just repeat the positive statement even if I don't believe it.  Sometimes that's hard to do, but it can be done.

I'm hoping right along with you that you get some decent sleep tonight!!
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Offline JCWest

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Re: A bit of a call for help and advice for those who have hit 'rock bottom'
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2014, 11:58:03 AM »
Well another bad night last night, maybe 30 minutes of sleep and then possibly dozing between 4 and 5. I was actually able to get to sleep though without drugs, which is a first for a few days.

I also started cipralex yesterday, which I commented about in a seperate thread. My doctor has given me Zopliclone and said to just take it, that he wasn't worried about addiction over only a few weeks of use, and to let the cipralex kick in. I'd rather not take it at all, maybe take a little bit of trazadone which seems to work sometimes, though I'm not sure if the drugs interact with one another?

I feel different this morning than other mornings I've gone without sleep, a bit less worried / anxious about it - though I'm still terrified I won't get out of this slump   :traurig001:
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