I just received a question about ways to manage those wretched morning hours when you wake up and can hardly bear to face the day.  Not everyone has this issues.  Some folks suffer more in the evening--especially those plagued by insomnia. 

Believe it or not, when I asked this same question, my internist--a known coffee junkie said: "Caffeine, Miss Betsy!  Caffeine!"

I was appalled.  Why would a doctor whose patient was suffering with anxiety and depression recommend a stimulant?  "Because it works.  Just try it.  You'll see."

And I did.  And it made a big difference.  It didn't cure me, but it did make me feel a little bit better, which can make a huge difference when you're looking for anything to lift your spirits. 

I'd give it a try.  One cup won't hurt you, and it won't affect your sleep at night, as long as you drink it early in the day. 

The other thing I found helpful was developing a healthy morning routine, and sticking with it, no matter what.  It can be yoga (You can get a cheap DVD off Amazon or eBay), tai chi, a brisk walk, or shower, followed by a healthy breakfast.  If your appetite is bad or stomach iffy, try grazing on small amounts of anything you can get down.  Sipping a healthy shake of yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, milk, and a handful of nuts can take all morning, but that's okay.  Using a straw or spoon to eat it makes it a lot easier to get down a healthy amount, without feeling like you're going to gag.

What healthy routines do is remind your body what normal feels like.  And the more you practice "normal," over time, acting normal will start feeling normal. 

Don't expect this to make you feel good right away.  It probably won't, especially if you've been suffering with symptoms for quite a while.  But think of it this way, we can't always make ourselves feel better, but we can always make ourselves feel worse.  Depressed and anxious brains are masters at this. 

Disciplining yourself to "go through the motions" is critical to getting through a depressive episode.  Why not do things that are good for you? They take up the same amount of life hours as torturing ourselves does.  The difference is that torturing ourselves reinforces negative habits like ruminating, catastrophizing, and hyperfocusing on symptoms, and it makes us feel worse.  Doing something positive (or even neutral) that's engaging reinforces outward focus and helps strengthen alternate neural pathways that can offer relief to an exhausted and frazzled brain.

I'd love to hear from the rest of you.  Feel free to join the discussion.  Betsy