Rise and Shine! I Hate Depression in the Mornings.

credit to photo-library.com

credit to photo-library.com

I’ve always been a morning person. It’s easy for me to get up at sunrise, but by mid-afternoon I’m already starting to wind down. I do have some changes in my body clock when SAD starts to kick in sometime in the fall, so I have some experience with how depression – even mild-ish depression – can keep you down in the morning.

My husband, on the other hand, is naturally an evening person. Compound that fact with serious, chronic depression, and you have a recipe for morning disaster. He can sleep through endless alarm snoozes. He often turns the snooze off. Thankfully on days when he simply must get up and get himself to work he is generally able to do so. He stays in bed until the last possible moment, though, and barely leaves himself enough time each day – which results in a frantic rush and grumpiness as he tries to get out the door.

On days when his alarm clock isn’t set (either because he forgot to set it, or because it buzzed and he turned it off), he can easily sleep past noon. And I get the joy of trying over and over again to get him up. I have to be the wake-up police, and it’s not pretty. He doesn’t like it – obviously I’m annoying him and making him miserable. I don’t like it, either. I have plenty to do in the morning, and I’d like to be able to enjoy doing it. This situation has been going on for so many years I’ve long since lost any patience I ever had. And so we often start out the day with both of us frustrated and angry.

I’ve tried just letting it go – letting him sleep as long as he likes. His waking up is not my responsibility, right? It’s not worth it for me to get so frustrated and for him to get so upset with me. Why not let him just do his own thing and deal with the consequences? Here’s why: there are consequences for me and for the entire family, as well. The most obvious one is jeopardizing his job by being late. There are numerous others, which are too complicated to outline here.

But the waking up portion of the morning is only the beginning. Depression continues to keep hold of him long after he gets out of bed. While I’m reveling in morning coffee and the paper or dashing around the house using my energy to tackle chores, he’s sitting on the couch, staring. Or sitting at the breakfast table, head in hands, brows furrowed. It takes quite a few nudges to get him to have some breakfast, take a shower, move on to a better part of the day. And in the meantime his sorrowful affect becomes contagious and my mood often takes a nose dive. Not to mention the fact that I feel incredibly sad for him because he has to go through this misery day after day after day. And heaven help both of us if something has come up that morning that really needs discussion or action; I can either bring it up and take cover as the fallout rains down, or I can keep it to myself and hope an emergency doesn’t ensue before he reaches a functional state.

Later in the day, when he’s at a slightly better place emotionally, we sometimes discuss how to better handle the mornings. “Day Guy” is very reasonable He’ll suggest consistently getting to bed earlier or setting the alarm for an earlier time, and ask me to remind him in the mornings that he wants to get up earlier. But every single morning “Morning Guy” wins out. Morning Guy couldn’t care less what logical arguments Day Guy has for his getting up at a regular time. Morning Guy is sure he’s the only person in the world who has to get out of bed each day, and believes I’m cruel for trying to nudge him awake.

So that’s a snapshot of a morning in a life (and a marriage) weighed down with depression. Sigh…searching desperately for a better attitude…

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6 Responses

  1. That is really hard – difficult enough to have your body clocks working separate shifts but adding the depression in as well must be so hard. I have no suggestions but plenty of sympathy.

  2. Eek! That must be rough! So sorry you have to deal with that.

  3. He sounds exactly like me! I have all the best intentions during the day, but in thee mornings it’s almost physically painful to grt out of bed. In fact the reason I’m here is because I found this blog through Google, after searching “why don’t i wake up to alarms” because I slept through them today and continued sleeping until my boss called and told me not to bother coming in. Thankfully they’re understanding of my problem, albeit annoyed, and don’t fire me.

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