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Waking with panic or anxiety - managing the morning cortisol spike

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Daisy

What helped me was writing the jumble of thoughts on paper until they settled down. Then I would write down my plans for the day and check them off as I got them done. Sometimes they were just simple things like take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, feed the dog, walk the dog, feed the cat etc. Then I would list the errands I wanted to run for the day. Sometimes I had to cross things off that I had put down because they did not make sense or were inappropriate. Doing this helped to get my morning brain organized in a more linear fashion instead of going over the same thing or things over and over again. It even helped distract me from the morning anxiety.

If you do this and it works for you, you have gained a tool that helps. If it does not, then you haven't lost anything by giving it a try.

Daisy

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lucyinthesky

Has anyone ever tried using crystals to help manage their sleep symptoms?

 

I am frequently waking up with a high heart rate, anxiety and a crazy loud buzzing in my ears. I'm finding that using the right type of crystals really helps with this.

 

Firstly, I use peaceful green/blue and white stones to help me drift off to sleep. I've noticed using these stones give me a deeper, more restful sleep overall, and I have fewer instances of waking up (although I still wake up at least twice). Examples of these crystals are Howlite, Green Aventurine, Amazonite, Blue Lace Agate. I really recommend Howlite and Amazonite!

 

Then for when I wake up with panic/anxiety, I use more grounding stones like Black Tourmaline and Hematite. The tourmaline is amazing, it really centers my energy and calms the entire nervous system. This really helps me get back to sleep.

 

You just hold the stone in your hand. If you want to you can meditate with it. 

 

I must stress that many crystals are way too over-activating, you most likely want to avoid anything that works on the higher chakras (avoid purple and white stones). I even find Rose Quartz to be too activating for sleep.

 

I know to most people this will probably sound far-fetched. The first time I tried using a crystal for sleep I really didn't expect anything, but I was so amazed by the results that I started doing research and testing out different crystals. It's worth a try anyway!

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jeremy1069

This happens to me on and off. It happened this morning. Glad I came across this topic. Now I know the cause of this too. 

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peng
On 8/14/2018 at 5:51 PM, IanM said:

Hi all. 

I just wanted to point out that morning anxiety is not always drug related, and happens to lots of people that aren't on/withdrawing from drugs. Case in point: My brother is in the middle of a divorce, and he is waking early with bad anxiety. He is not now, nor has he ever been on psychiatric meds. But he is definitely thinking of going on something, and who am I to stop him? Anxiety is a killer.

Absolutely, IanM.

From my personal experience in 1977, I view these non-drug related earlywaking/anxiety attacks as two of the classic symptoms of one "having a nervous breakdown".

This was the terminology used in the 1960s/70s, maybe longer, in the popular media.

 

One's first experiences can be likened to the sudden feeling of shock and panic as if a large, roaring lion had entered the room.

 

I was prescribed Ativan, then, and signed off shift-work which I had been doing for the first 14 years of my career (1964-1977).  Not the best overall solution from the elderly doctor with a very comforting bedside manner, but, clearly, Roche/Wyeth (IIRC) had been incredibly convincing.

Later, I believe the benzo, whilst holding off acute anxiety for a few hours, (I slept through the battle scene of the Star Wars movie's premiere in Edinburgh!) did not prevent a full-blown plunge into clinical depression and may even have exacerbated it.

Look after your brother, and best wishes.

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JanCarol

Just saw a study about probiotics Lactobacillus helviticus and Bifidobacterium longum used in combination reduced cortisol in urine.

Whether this is good for spikes or not, is unknown.  However, simple lactobacillus rhamnosis (available in kefir or yogurt) can improve GABA regulation, and anxiety scores.

 

From this talk:

 



The probiotic research is getting really good.  I'd rather take bugs than drugs! 

Edited by JanCarol

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Mewmewkitty

Half a cup of coffee decrease the surges for me. Any input on this? 

 

Edit:obviously I don't use this method for early wakings *giggle*

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trenace

This happens to me every morning and every time I try to nap I wake up immediately scared out of my mind. If I could sleep without this I'd just sleep everyday lol. My families like if you don't feel well why don't you just go to sleep? 

I'm like I'm scared to sleep and they look at me like Im crazy.... 

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xyz
On 11/14/2018 at 10:34 AM, Mewmewkitty said:

Half a cup of coffee decrease the surges for me. Any input on this? 

 

Edit:obviously I don't use this method for early wakings *giggle*

 

yoh, me. the cortisol surge ends every morning after my first cup of coffee. i think it is worse when i am not fully awake.

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elbee
14 hours ago, trenace said:

I'm like I'm scared to sleep and they look at me like Im crazy....

 

Trenace . . . I think for me part of my being scared to sleep is from being scared to awaken. I know as a kid, waking up to the new day was a scary proposition for me. I've carried that into adulthood and I'm now learning to work with that. Also, for me, dreaming is like a portal to the unconscious . . . an extremely vulnerable place. Waking up can be a raw transition from such vulnerability into "the real world" and the cause of a lot of anxiety to start my day. Luckily I've found ways to work with this and my situation has improved greatly. It CAN be done :) 

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Happy2Heal
On 11/27/2018 at 9:09 PM, elbee said:

 

Trenace . . . I think for me part of my being scared to sleep is from being scared to awaken. I know as a kid, waking up to the new day was a scary proposition for me. I've carried that into adulthood and I'm now learning to work with that. Also, for me, dreaming is like a portal to the unconscious . . . an extremely vulnerable place. Waking up can be a raw transition from such vulnerability into "the real world" and the cause of a lot of anxiety to start my day. Luckily I've found ways to work with this and my situation has improved greatly. It CAN be done :) 

 

 

I am so glad I read this thread and saw your posts elbee!
I have a trauma history as well and have been experiencing a lot of what you talk about, eps the waking up with the memories of how scary the daytime was as a child

I have to try hard to remind myself that these feelings are rooted in the past and that time no longer exists

 

it's hard though.

I just started having more cortisol spikes and was starting to worry that it was from adding back vit D3 (I only take in during fall and winter due to the lack of sunlight where I live in New England)
I just upped the dose of vit D3 and am going to try backing down on that to see if there's a difference.... I am not sure I need the D3 at all.

 

I like your ideas about self care....I am having trouble convincing myself that I am worth it though. It feels too selfish to me.

 

I've got to come back to this thread when I have more time and my head is clearer,  but just wanted to bookmark it for now and to thank you for sharing your experiences and tips

 

 

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elbee
1 hour ago, Happy2Heal said:

I like your ideas about self care....I am having trouble convincing myself that I am worth it though. It feels too selfish to me.

 

Happy2Heal, learning self-care for me has come through the context of an "inner child" / "reparenting" framework. Like you, I've had incredible resistance in numerous ways, including feeling "selfish" as you mention, but also overwhelmed, resentful, angry, scared, frustrated, etc. The focus of this topic thread is more biological in nature (cortisol spikes) when dealing with morning anxiety, but I do talk about my "reparenting" work on my own thread, and at some point I'll create a topic specific to the subject ;) 

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Rachellynn
On 3/22/2011 at 4:40 PM, Altostrata said:

I was lucky, in the early days of withdrawal syndrome I had anxiety on waking for maybe 1.5 years.

 

It was only much later I realized blocking out the light would have helped.

I seem to have a fear of sleep/relaxation and darkness when I’m not feeling well 😕

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Tanha
On 6/29/2012 at 8:33 PM, annej said:

Hi Barb,

 

Just some rambling thoughts. . .

 

My morning ritual is very similar to yours. For me, I think my AM "fuzzy and disoriented" feelings are related to the hangover effects of the Klonopin as I tend to clear up during the course of the day. I am working very diligently on not returning to bed, even though the feeling is quite overwhelming. I think it makes me feel all around worse if I go back to bed. The Klonopin, being a benzo, depresses the CNS, and definitely accounts for my overall lethargy. I felt great for the first 4 weeks I was off the K until I took that trip to hell. I am saddened that I had to reinstate the K, but I could not live with the non-stop Tardive akathisia and Tardive dyskinesia. K was the only thing that stopped the torture. At the moment, I have to learn how to live with the side effects of benzos; the sedation, the fuzzy thinking, etc. After more stable time after reinstatement, I will ever so slowly reduce my dose. It simply comes down to quality of life - keeping the TA/TD at bay (while hopefully these recede as more time passes since my last dose of the offending drug(s), and learning how to live as best a quality of life that I can while being on a benzo. I realize that you are in a very similar situation as K helps you with the horrendous bruxism. :) Hugs, Annej

Hi @annej

 

how did your tapering get along? How did your ta/td develope until now?

 

tanha from germany

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WakeMeUp
On 3/29/2011 at 3:03 PM, squirrel said:

For me it was like waking up in shock every morning.

This is what it's like for me as well.  Every morning.  Shock.  And I have to talk myself down just to function. 
  
I have been dealing with Psychological Shock since May 2018.  My boyfriend left me suddenly, 3 weeks after doubling his dosage of Lexapro, and his personality changed right in front of me.  All of a sudden he no longer loved me or cared about me or my daughter, and basically detached emotionally from everything he once cared about.  My story is in the Marriages Destroyed by ADs section. 
 

But I do not think the breakup is what is causing the "shock" for me each morning. 

When I discovered what the antidepressants had done to my boyfriend and my relationship, I made a choice to go off of my prescribed medication.  I didn't feel like I really needed it, and I didn't trust the doctors or the "system".
Starting in July 2018, I completed a "fast taper" of Topamax.  I actually tapered this much slower than what doctors recommend, but it still wasn't the 10% per 2-3 weeks as the forums suggest, and now I am paying the price.
I had NO IDEA that the Topamax I was taking for migraines was actually a psychiatric medication called a mood stabilizer.  I had taken it for over 4 years, and no doctor ever asked me how it was working, or if it was affecting my moods. 

They just kept auto-refilling.

Or that it has a 53 page Warnings and Precautions label on the FDA website. 53 pages of fine print about this drug!
I was clued into the fact that I had been taking a psychiatric medication when on the first day I was med-free, I had that "wake-up" experience where colors look brighter, the outlook on the world looked much better, and I was all of a sudden in a brighter mood.
But by then it was too late, I had tapered too fast.  So I went back to my dosage as of 3-weeks before that (per many posts saying that is the best we can do to avoid kindling).  
But I am still paying the price for a fast taper.  
   
I had never experienced depression in my life.  But now I can say this hit me like a freaking truck. 
I am tracking my drug-induced depression symptoms daily, taking supplements to ease things (Omega-3 fish oils, Magnesium L-Threonate, coconut oil, and I am checking out Vitamin C as well).

Every morning I also have this shock or dread, even before I open my eyes. 

Sadness, gloom, and I have to talk my way out of each thought sometimes just to face the day without crying. 

Sometimes it's even before any sunlight is visible.  

I am considering the mask to sleep in to see if that makes things better.

But I often have this shock feeling that lasts well into the afternoon, sometimes late evening.

How long does this last?  

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Lionheart

It had never occurred to me that my extreme anxiety could be caused by my meds or by withdrawal.

 

I discovered, in 2011, that my wife was having an affair.

 

This led, very quickly, to our divorce.

 

I was gutted. I had made the mistake of making her my world, which is unhealthy and very risky and, as it turns out, it would end up destroying me.

 

In addition, after the divorce, my ex-wife, knowing my psychology, embarked on a campaign to hurt me as much as she could using means aimed at triggering my anxiety.

 

It worked very effectively and for the last seven years I have been battling with extreme anxiety, even though my ex-wife is no longer trying to cause me any problems.

 

It made it almost impossible to work and, over time, I lost everything. House, car, the lot.

 

Over the last seven years I have been prescribed countless different drugs in efforts to give me back my life.

 

None of it has been very effective and now I can't help thinking that the drugs themselves, or the constant switching of drugs, might actually be causing or perpetuating the anxiety.

 

Many nights I will have horrendous nightmares that affect me for most of the following day.

 

Most mornings I am woken up with a heart trying to pound its way out of my chest and a sense of fear, dread and impending doom.

 

It does usually ease somewhat as the day progresses but the mornings can be very hard to gt through.

 

Each day is about just making it to bed time to escape again.

 

 

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ChessieCat

Thought I'd mention what has happened to me a few times recently.  I wake up feeling relaxed and my body temperature is comfortable, ie I am not feeling hot, then all of a sudden as I am just lying there and still relaxed and not having moved, I start sweating.  One time it was all over body sweating where I could feel it oozing out of my skin and my nightie ended up quite wet.  I am past menopause so it is not related to that.  I'm assuming that it is a cortisol surge.  Thankfully I don't seem to get any other sensations or feelings at the same time.

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Andie

I’m really struggling with this. I’m having awful dreams and then waking in a panic, shaking, trembling and feeling confused. 

 

Heart thumping and thoughts racing. I then feel limp like a noodle and exhausted. I am then feeling better by about 11am and back to normal by the evening. 

 

 

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Lionheart
6 hours ago, Andie said:

I’m really struggling with this. I’m having awful dreams and then waking in a panic, shaking, trembling and feeling confused. 

 

Heart thumping and thoughts racing. I then feel limp like a noodle and exhausted. I am then feeling better by about 11am and back to normal by the evening. 

 

 

Hi Andie,

I really feel for you, it's a horrible thing to have to live with.

I wish I could offer you a solution but I have yet to find one.

 

Just know that you're not alone.

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freeruby

Yes Andie - I agree.  You are not alone in this.  I had the same thing happen to me for quite a while.  Possibly making sure your room is dark (or you use an eye mask) - might help.

Best wishes to you,

FreeRuby

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