I’ve been really upset the last couple of days, first by an argument with my parents, and then by finding out that the sleep study I waited MONTHS for in order to get a CPAP machine (and hopefully kick some of this debilitating fatigue) came back negative, which I’m SURE is false. So I was feeling pretty crappy when I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn’t get back to sleep.
You know what it’s like when you’re worried and upset about something: it just keeps running through your mind, over and over, and you can’t shut it down. And especially when the problem is anxiety/depression, the more it cycles, the worse it gets. You know the kind of thing: “Doctors never listen to me, they just run tests and get false negatives, and what if I’m wrong and it’s NOT sleep apnea? We’ll NEVER figure out what’s wrong with me, and I’ll feel like this FOREVER and I can’t do anything with this fatigue, and I’ll never get a job, and I can’t exercise, so I’ll just get fatter and fatter and…”
And then I realized: I had been feeling kind of crappy for the last few days ANYWAY. It’s probably hormones, because it’s about the right place in the cycle for it.
Which means that these things going wrong are NOT what’s making me feel depressed. I’m feeling depressed, so these things are BUGGING me more.
So it’s not that my situation is terrible and that’s the problem, and since I can’t fix the situation, I can’t fix the depression. Actually, the situation isn’t that bad, as long as I separate it from the depression. It’s like unhooking the train from the engine: it stops that train of thought from going around and around and around on that circular track.
Just that little intervention of thought–“This is my depression making me feel hopeless. The situation itself is NOT hopeless”–was enough to totally disrupt the cycle. I soon fell back asleep, and I feel MUCH better today (despite having a headache from the insomnia).
I share this in the hope that someone else may find this approach helpful–and so that I can remember to use it again in the future!