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Depression and anxiety at night time

I am wondering if anyone else experiences similar issues.  I often become very anxious and depressed around bed time to the point where I become really distressed. I get hung up on a fear of dying and death and start to think about getting older, struggling with anxiety, wasting my life and eventually dying. Considering I'm only 20 this is fairly irrational.


It's difficult for me to explain this feeling especially when I'm not experiencing it in this moment. I haven't been able to explain these fears to any professionals in a way that they understand and I haven't been able to find any coping strategies. Maybe someone else experiences similar feelings and can offer some advice?  I worry about the stress this puts on my loved ones and I'm afraid of becoming a burden on them. Thanks

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Hey @JeB22 and welcome to ReachOut Smiley Happy


Night time can be a sneaky time when distressing thoughts often come up because it's the end of the day. I get it too. For me, I find it best to just go to bed, find myself something to do to try and put those thoughts out of my head. Over here we've got a thread with a whole heap of coping strategies, you might find one that it helpful to you. Another thing you could try is to write down how you're feeling when you're feeling it. To let the thoughts come then move them from your head onto paper. Does that sound like something you could try?


Guess what day it was!!! It was Wear It Purple Day!! Come on over and learn all about what it is and what you can still do!

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Hey @JeB22 you definitely aren't the only one. I can get quite anxious at night and have some irrational thoughts - which seem rational at the time. The anxiety at night for me has calmed down since I started having a better sleep routine, I don't know if that's something you have tried but I'm more than happy to chat to you about it and what helps for me, as it may help you too.
//You can stay afraid, or slit the throat of fear and be brave//

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Hey JeB22, 


Like you and j95 I experience this from time to time. Is the anxiety and depression felt in relation to the fear of dying or are they separate? 


Fear of dying is called Thanatophobia - cool name, not so cool concept. About 2 years ago after my partner's grandfather whom I was close to passed away, I began to suffer nightly panic attacks over the meaning of death, the concept of nothingness/ not existing/ eternal blackness, no longer being able to see family members ect. Some people are able to find the answer to some of these questions in religion, philosophy..... even existential psychotherapy .


I am an overthinker, my brain in the dark is a nihilistic bitch. As such, from time to time I sleep with my lamp on to keep the occasional terror at bay (not overexaggerating here)  - but light is comforting for me - perhaps it  goes back to my childhood or further to the when Neanderthals lived in dim caves. I am also an anxious person, so thinking about "all the things" before bedtime can cause trouble. Some people find a few drops of lavender oil on a pillow helps for a peaceful sleep, others a warm drink, or pets that sleep close. I think at 20 so much is unknown, so it's only natural the brain starts throwing out "what ifs" . Like what if "I never find a job I enjoy/ experience love/ do all the things I want to do in the unknown time I have" (insert unhelpful thought here). 


One stategy I use for unhelpful/ unpleasant thoughts in general is "defusion" (part of Mindfulness). Defusion is a technique which helps acknowledge that the thoughts that come into your head, are just that - thoughts - brain processes that will pass. There are heaps of defusion styles, I'll list some for you. 


- Say you're sitting in bed and the thought "When I die I'll have accomplished nothing" pops into your head. If you are a verbal type of person you might like to talk back!

1. "Oh I'm telling myself the my (......) story again!"

2. Thanks brain! (I do this many times a day!)

3. Got anything new to add to the story? 

4. Or say the thought in a celebrities voice (ie Bugs Bunny) (or whale).... "Ohhhhh I"mmmm Urrr Having That SIiiiiilllllllllyyyyy ThoUghT AuuuuuGaiiiiinnnnnnnnn oooowwooowww." Guarenteed if you say it in whale you'll laugh. 

The fouth technique is particularly good in that it reinforced the thought is not reality, its just a thought. 


If you are a visual type of person, you may like to imagine your thought/s driftting by as a leaf on a stream, eventually they go out of view as they move further away, or perhaps you might like to see them as clouds floating along your line of vision until the wind blows them away. 


There's ample more techniques you could try, just google defusion exercises mindfullness or somehing of the like. 

The thing about defusion tehcnqiues is that they're not trying to say the thought doesn't exist, or try and out a "positive spin on it"/ sugar coating (eugh) it's more about acknowledging the thought, in a way which enables you to remind yourself it's JUST a thought. 


Smiley Happy 


Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Hey @JeB22 welcome to RO! Do any of the ideas the guys have suggested in this thread seem like they could work for you?

If you do give some of them a go please let us know how you get on Smiley Happy Nothing worse than feeling super anxious every night.

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Wow thank you so much. Yes, usually the root of my anxiety always comes back to a fear of dying.

I love the idea of finding new ways to acknowledge the thoughts as a lot of the advice I get is more about turning negatives into positives and so on.

Thanks for your help feels great to know other people have the same thoughts.

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Thanks for your help. I will have a read through the coping strategies thread.

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Ahh I get the same thing! I'll be fine during the day but the moment I wanna go to bed - panic. This is where for me, Mindfulness really helps, and you can find some good sleeping meditation podcasts floating around that can help you relax and focus on not being anxious. 


Another thing is it could be just everyday anxiety. I have a lot of trouble sleeping during high-stress time periods. If you can eliminate the source of stress, or cope with the stress, easier sleeping can follow. Along this line, I found going on medication helped, because it reduced my overall anxiety/depression symptoms. I also take magnesium at dinner and find that helps, and I've also been recommended vitamin B and melatonin. 


Do you find it easier to sleep when other people are around? I'm lucky because i live with my partner, and I also find talking to him before bed helps me too - like a little debrief session, where I tell him what is worrying me. Often I'll find myself crying and realising hey, i was actually REALLY bad today, but unloading before trying to sleep helps me stop worrying. Maybe thats something you could try? 


My heart goes out to you though - anxiety while trying to sleep is the worst

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

@JeB22 I don't have a lot to add other than I really liked what @j95 said. Sleep routines RULE!
-That might have sounded sarcastic but I'm serious. I love a good sleep routine.

Re: Depression and anxiety at night time

Dude same!!!!!! everything you described. I feel it too.