Getting Suddenly Sad When Starting To Sleep and Waking Up

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Over the last week or so I have been able to identify a recurring sequence of thoughts around the times that I am falling asleep and in the first moments when I am waking up. I feel absolutely negative about everything and the thoughts are absolutely convincing while they last, but they last only a very brief time (under a minute or so I think). Things like sensing imminent death everywhere, finding problems with future plans then taken to mean some proximity to dying, imagining various situations where I will somehow be killed before I can change things to allow some joy into my life, etc. Does anyone else experience anything like this around the time that they are waking up or anything? Any ideas for causes? I have started to think it just means I am excessively worried about whether my plans are adequate or not, and that improving them will get rid of those dreadful feelings. Any ideas or suggestions?
Hello Andre,

Bedtime is a struggle for me too. It is like my brain waits util I am tired and ready to rest and then it decides on its own to plague me with images of the past. What I have been doing lately that has worked for me is to practice some sleep hygiene rituals. Even if my body is tired, if my mind is racing, I do not try to go to bed. If I lay down and the thoughts start I just get right back up and do one of the following:

1.) Journal my thoughts for further contemplation when I'm not so tired.
2.) Write my specific emotions down on a piece of paper
3.) Drink warm milk (has a relaxing enzyme in it when warm)
4.) Eat a small light snack low sugar (Turkey also has a calming enzyme)
5.) Watch an episode of "Sponge Bob Square Pants" (always makes me laugh)

I hope this helps a little. I think what you are going through is pretty common for people struggling with PTSD. You take care.

Marilyn S.
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Hello Andre, yes I know exactly what you mean. I think in your case its probably the plans you are making. The whole idea of travelling is taking you way out of your comfort zone. In my opinion this problem is just the PTSD telling you to stay put, you are safe where you are, etc. Same way as some people dont leave their house in a way, its not real though. You will be safe. As you and I know only too well bad stuff can happen right outside your own door so travelling isn't really such a big threat. Also you have to ask yourself what you are happy with. Are you happy to stay doing what you are doing, or do you want to challenge yourself, learn new things, go to new places or meet new people? Do you want change? Do you want more? What do you have to gain and what do you have to lose?

I suggest you write a plan. You could also write a list of possible dangers and then see if they are real or not. All of the worries no matter how small you think they are. Go through them on here if it's easier.
Thank you Marilyn, Claire. I understand how making these plans is taking me out of what I had become accustomed to. When I remember that it helps stop those thoughts. So many things came up that I had gone back to just trying to go to sleep without any preparation again. My schedule had slipped considerably for a while and that was no good for doing what I needed to do either. These thoughts still occur but it is a little more controllable. I have been trying to stop it from becoming so terribly gloomy to start with, and that has had some success. It just seems like a matter of time to settle this now. I will try watching some comedy too, I forget that exists sometimes.
you might also try meditating right before bed and also in the morning. I have this great book called "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook". It has all sorts of instructions for ways to relax, cope with panic, visualization, meditation techniques, plus tons of other stuff.

I found myself having difficulty getting to sleep due to my brain not being able to shut off and my thoughts becoming more and more scary and worrisome, etc. Then I also had a bigger problem of horrible anxiety as soon as I woke up. So, I went through this book and found a chapter on visualization. It has several written out visualization exercises. So, I recorded a couple of them on my mp3 player in my own voice, of course. They are both relaxation visualizations. Anyway, I listen to them at night, and they seriously put me to sleep and then in the morning to relax me and put a stop to the morning anxiety.

The really cool part about it is that I am very comforted by hearing this stuff in my own voice! Hearing myself say these things to myself is like thinking it, but without the effort. It is so soothing to me that occasionally I drift off in and out during the exercise.

I'm thinking about recording some positive self-talk exercises (maybe just write my own) and listening to that at some point in the day. Anyway, just some thoughts ...
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