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Living with Anxiety & Depression at 3am: The Runaway Train Left The Station

Most nights I'm just wishing for serenity and more immediately, sleep. I'm also being held hostage by my cats.

It’s now well into the 3am hour. I’ve been up for damn near an hour. This night/morning isn’t going anything like how it’s supposed to. I’m supposed to be asleep for one thing. But I can’t. My brain is fully emerged and as usual, nowhere near ready to attack the day. So lets start with what woke me up. I couldn’t breathe. For the past day & a half I’ve been battling sinus congestion and headaches. I’ve taking the cold & sinus pills, used all the grandma remedies and still… No joy. So initially I needed to reapply a coat of Vick’s Vaper Rub to my nose and chest. But then my bladder decided to wake up. So I got up went to the bathroom. Simple and quick. “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy”… No! Because my lovely feline daughter “Blueberry” has now realized that I’m awake. And her little brother “Beetle” no where in sight, (probably on the neighbors balcony because he crosses between balconies all the time even though I beg him not to; which is scary AF cuz we live on the 3rd floor!) She assumes now is as good time as any to make it VERY clear she requires love, affection and most importantly, my attention. I’m trying to keep it as quiet as possible to not wake the rest of the house. But Blueberry becomes VERY persistent. At some point, I’m able to make it into bed. I’ve avoided a noisy cat disaster, had a drink of water, applied a coat of Vicks rub; opening my airway, relieved my bladder and not tripped over anything! My partner is undisturbed! I’m golden!

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Then it happens. The “Runaway Train” comes. Its running and its running fast. The “runaway train” is term developed while in therapy some time back. It is used describe a series of thoughts that are intrusive to my normal thought pattern. Thoughts that in context are predicated on a previous thought but usually leading further and further away from the original thought in the first place. The thoughts are usually very loosely bound together and not always rational, yet invoking some sort of emotional response.

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Photo Credit: Aldo Rafael Altamirano

This past week in general was filled with so much “adulting” and dealing with emotions; it was ridiculous. And now every thought and feeling was compounding at the exact same time. At “3 something” in the morning, on the first day of the week. It’s hard to explain how anxiety can grip you in these moments. But the best description that I give is that your body feels like an analog stick that wants to move in all several directions at the same time. And then you sprinkle at little hopelessness from depression; which should help the paralysis set in, which allows you to stay or at least feel “stuck”. And remember folks! All this is at 3am(ish)! My brain is fully awake and not going back to sleep anytime soon. Thinking of all the things I should’ve done or said but didn’t or all the things I said or did but shouldn’t have. The calls I didn’t make, the chores or tasks that didn’t get done. The goals unaccomplished, the friends or family missed. Wishing, begging or pleading for a way to reverse it all. Curing Cancer and saving Tokyo from the next Godzilla attack all that the same time. Closing in on 4am, just wishing for serenity and more immediately, sleep. But it’s pretty clear, neither is coming. So I guess I’ll try again tomorrow night. But I’ll still have anxiety and depression. But I’ve got to lay still, because if I’m tossing and turning, the cats can hear me. Ssshhhhh!!!!

– M.

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