“I Don’t Wanna Get Out of Bed!” – Depression, SAD, Whatever…

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It’s a beautiful morning.  The sun is shining through the slats in my fake wooden blinds.  The pillow is over my head.  My husband got out of bed a couple of hours ago.  I have had nightmares – judgment, humiliation, not being prepared – night sweats.  I am as tired now as when I went to bed last night.  I DON’T WANT TO WAKE UP.  I DON’T WANT TO GET OUT OF BED.  I KNOW I have errands that have to be run.  I can find ways to validate getting them done tomorrow.  I have calls that need to be made.  I can figure out a way to get out of making the calls…  I look at the clock.  Another 30 or 60 minutes.  That’s all.  My bed feels too comfortable.  The pillow is warm.  I am safe here.

That’s the key point, right?  I’m safe here.  Here, in my warm, soft bed there is no outside world.  There are no voices in my head.  There are no disappointments.  No hopelessness.  My only prayer is for DREAMLESS sleep.  While I sleep I am safe from the “have to’s” and the “musts”.  I am safe from people’s judgments.  I am safe from my OWN judgment.  I can hide.  I don’t have to look at my bank account.  I don’t have to pay my bills.  Life is on hold.  Sleep is the perfect escape.  The only glitch in staying in bed is the personal shame that it brings…

So, I call  my brother who is struggling right now as well.  I say:  “I don’t want to get out of bed.”  He says:  “Neither do I”.  I say:  “No one will care if I don’t get out of bed.”  He says:  “No one will care if I don’t get out of bed either.”  I say:  “No one will KNOW if I don’t get out of bed.”  He says: “Nobody will know if I don’t either”.  I say:  “Oh, crap.  We NEED to get out of bed.”  He says:  “I know.”  I say:  “I’ll get out of bed if you get out of bed.”  He says:  “OK.  You first, ha, ha”.  We continue to talk as we get our butts out of bed, pour a cup of coffee and discuss the things we can be doing today – our mental “To Do” list.

What can YOU do when you find you don’t want to get out of bed?  When you feel safer with your head under your pillow than out in the world?  When the mental dance of pushing yourself out of bed each morning becomes too draining.   Here some of my ideas:

1.  Set an alarm.  Even if you don’t have an appointment to get to in the morning. 

2.  Have your spouse, partner, roommate or pets wake you up.  Maybe your spouse, partner or roommate could be really awesome and bring you a cup of tea or coffee to help ease the process?

3.  Have a friend call you in the mornings.  Make sure they continue to try until you answer the phone.  Maybe YOU call them (like I called my brother).  Pick a friend that is compassionate, however, to how you are feeling right now.  Someone who understands.

4.  Have a plan or schedule that you live by daily:  Wake up at 7am.  Make breakfast for me (the kids, dogs, etc).  Make my To Do List to get organized for the day.  Get the kids off to school, walk the dog, feed the cat, etc.  Follow this schedule religiously.  This triggers your “body” memory and makes it more difficult to put the pillow back over your head in the morning.

5.  Make early morning appointments with your doctors, dentists, clients,counselors, workout buddies, trainers, etc.  Make plans that you have PAID for (sign up for a Yoga class – if you miss you have to pay anyway).  Accountability is a wonderful way to help motivate you during this difficult time.

You will find that even if you are struggling, once you get started, you can usually convince yourself to keep going!

If you find yourself in this place of not getting out of bed for an extended period of time (more than a few days), it is time to get help!  It is not shameful to be in a dark place – we ALL go there – every one on this planet!  Make sure you reach out – Therapist, counselor, meds, something that is more extreme to help you get over this hump.  It is NOT weak to ask for help!  It is not shameful to ask for help!  It is healthy, empowering, and uplifting!  And, most importantly, it WORKS!

Love to you