Need advice urgently - Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression spiral

So I'm in a serious hole... And I would be very grateful if anyone could take the time to read this....

My story is that over New Years Eve, I had a serious anxiety meltdown, which resulted in my me being awake for around 4 days solid. Eventually, I managed to get hold of some Zopilcone (3 x 7.5mg) which knocked me out. I spent two days on the Zopiclone and then came off it.

Since then, I spent the best part of two months building myself back up. I essentially had two anxieties emerging from that 1) about work, which I rightly or wrongly attributed as the major cause of my meltdown. 2) about sleeping, for obvious reasons. Kind of dealt with 1) by walking through the eggshells, deep breathing etc. Had a couple of panic attacks on the way, but I'm fine in that respect now. With the sleeping, I hauled myself off Zopilcone, onto anti-histamines (Nytol) etc. and eventually had two or three weeks sleeping naturally. Have been undergoing CBT throughout.

However, one kind of tough night of stress and my Grandad dyng - my first real experience of death and all the morbid thoughts it brought - have totally rocked me back. In less than a week I have spiralled totally out of control with the sleeping and it has been accompanied by crippling depression and thoughts of self-harm.t the Eventually, with the last night I literally slept 0 hours. Not the 3-4 that I could normally guarantee with anti-histamines. And moreover, I wasn't manically anxious like before. I did everything right to stay calm.

I got myself out of London (where I live) and my depression mood changed. I have some more Zopiclone, which again worked well. However, last night I tried a night off Zopilcone and again: 0 hours. This crushed all my escaping London optimism. I have had all pressures taken off me and have a very good support network of friends etc. The NHS is another matter - my GP (in London) doesn't even have my notes. I just don't really know what to do. Sure I have some more Zopiclone, but there is a very good reason why they only give a few of them out and I don't want to get hooked. I think it's pretty clear I need to go onto antidepressants (what's to lose?) but that's going to take more time than I have and much engagement with a health system that is not really working for me at the moment.

I can't sleep because I can't stop my mind focusing on the moment of sleep. And it's like having a phobia. I tense up, my breathing quickens and the only way I can calm down is to focus heavily on staying calm, which stops the sleep from waving over me. At some points my body is pushing against my mind so hard, desperate for sleep that I almost start to vibrate, which I guess is sleep paralysis. Occassioally I do fall alseep, but only for ten minutes or so, max. In my experience, if I do ever manage to get more than an hour or so then that calms my mind and stay out. Apart from running myself into the ground physically and intense progressive muscle relaxation, I don't know what to do. Even they only lower the threshold.

All the remedies, the good sleep hygiene are fine, but there a bit of a waste of time. You don't want to encourage obsessing - which, I'm clearly doing here, but I'm approaching mania now. Like any anxiety I need to show my mind that its ok, that I can sleep. I did this once before - but only because antihistimines made the symptoms manageable. Now they are not. I need some control to give me time for the ramped up CBT/anti-depressants to work... And my Zopilcone is running out.... Urges to self-harm are inevitable if it does run out and there's no improvement... What the hell do I do?

6 Replies

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  • Hello,I have been down the antidepressant route myself and it did nothing for me,I am also currently on the Zopiclone route and guess what,yep,the same.I know deep down that medication is not the answer.When I leave my house,I immediately feel better and I realise it is because I am leaving the scene of the crime so to speak, my bedroom where my panic attack happened.I am starting to deal with my bedroom issues and I laugh or swear at my panick stricken thoughts,I tell myself that all is well and it does help me.My stomach is in permanent turmoil but I can deal with that and sleeping also,I have suffered with insomnia all my life,as long as I get some sleep,I cope.You my friend control your mind,not medicine and on the bright side,anxiety has been linked to intelligence!result for everyone!take care.

  • Hi Gibbon, I have experienced to a much lesser degree the severe symptoms that you have, including work issues and my first close bereavements quite close together. I have bipolar too and was put on Prozac for anxiety which made me 10 times worse - waking with a jolt every time I fell asleep and hardly eating. So they put me on what they call a second-line antidepressant called mirtazipine which actually works by giving you quality sleep and it really knocks me out. Lots of people on this website are on it.

    Now of course I cannot say this is the magic wand for you - you sound really clued up with your progressive muscle relaxation and cbt. I guess a GP is not the main source of advice for someone with your issues but rather your local mental health team who might have a helpline and should be listed in your local phone book, or you could ask to be referred to them once your notes are found! My GP doesn't prescribe me any psychiatric drugs, always the psychiatrist. Because of your thoughts of harm, please call the Samaritans or a similar helpline to chat and offload. You sound so proactive I think you are also worrying about worrying, so be less hard on yourself ( easier said than done I know ). It sounds like the NHS have let you down but that needn't be the case in the future. Other people on here will also have better advice for you. Best wishes xx

  • Dear Gibbon, please call Samaritans 08457 90 90 90.

  • Hi Gibbon I'm sorry you are having such an hideous time at the moment and my heart goes out to you. I can relate to what you're saying as well because I lost my Grandad recently and it's impacted on so, so many A levels. I am wondering if part of the Anxiety/Panic is the trauma of this and I reckon it will help you if you can talk through these feelings because a bereavement causes a 'wave of emotions' - you will be experiencing a lot of bad emotions, all of which are over whelming. The happy ones comes later on. When we lose someone we do go into a depressive state, become clincically depressed which I think is the cause of your setback. May I also say I'm sorry for your loss. It's very sad. And heart breaking. And lonely. Feelings of abandonment. What you need is to come to terms with the loss because you can get back to the stage you describe at the beggining. However, what you say about developing sleep as a phobia may also need to be addressed as it's sounds like you've created some beliefs - not unusal when someone dies - that have affecting your feelings and thus your behaviour. CBT and things should help with that though. I know you have very little time but I urge you to go to contact a professional if you can. I think there are professionals on the anxietyuk website who may have some answers anxietyuk.org.uk/. I have a sneaking suspicion NHS choices may have a port of contacts too if you look under 'Depression' there may be side bars of where to get help: nhs.uk/conditions/depressio... Depression is a definite cause for insomnia but I reckon there will a link for that too, as with anxiety. Anti depressents, as you say, may be supportive in helping you get through the grief and depression stage - other than the GP I'm not sure where. I might be a good step to give the Samaritans a ring as they will probably have a lot more information than me about organisations and things.

    Now, I heard somewhere that if you eat a kiwi fruit before bed it helps you to drop off. If you can't stomach them as a fruit then I'm sure they do them in liquid forms. i.e. smoothies. I saw an extraordinary case of a women who had been battling with insomnia for years but she started having kiwis and it changed her life, although she didn't appear to have other anxiety disorders which complicate things but it's still worth a try. I know they work because they release melatonine, a sleep hormone, but you can get melatonine in medication form as well which you could maybe try as I doubt they are addictive and are good for anxiety apparently.

    Camomile tea isn't exactly full proof but it is great stuff, very relaxing and soothing before bed. You can get different variteties e.g. camomile and spiced apple. This - alongside sleep balm, you rub them across your eye lids, forehead & temple - may also be helpful (you should be able to get sleep balm from Boots).

    But I'm also here to say is you ever want to message me about grief - or just a chat then I'm more than happy to listen. :) I hope things get easier for you soon.

    Please try and speak to someone.

    Take care and Kindest Regards,

    Fay :) xxxx

  • sorry melatonin is spelt without an e on the end. Just realised that.

    My heart really goes out to you as most of what you say - including the thoughts about self harm, I can relate to. I went to the doctor the other day and we are seeing which is the best action to take. I'm already seeing the counsellor about the bereavement and trust me it helps. :) I also want to remind you that it does - and will - get easier. I will have a look through my sentiments and poems. If you want them will be happy to show them to you. Oh - you may benefit from this site about grief. crusebereavementcare.org.uk/ I think it's time I had a look actually.

  • hi my friend , i suffer from ptsd through the loss of my dad when i was 21 i am now 47. i only sought out treatment when i had a breakdown, and tried to commit suicide. i lost my job , house, wife and son. i was at my witts end. i refered to a psychiatrist who moderates my medication. i had not slept in years, but with mirtazapine it helps. i had been on zopiclone but got adicted to it, the side affects i had on coming off it where horrendous, i think you are having problems with the stop starting of taking that medication. i got refered to a psychologist and bereavement councilling to deal with my dads death. i am now coping with life, still on medication .

    as far as zopiclone is concerned it is in the same catagory as benzo's and are highly addictive , and have adverse side affects (worse than coming off heroin) .

    as far as sleeping, try looking online for relaxation cd's, and try hot milk before bed time , and a hot bath with insence drops in it to calm you.

    hope this helps my friend ...

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