General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Why do people think that they can sleep off depression?

Asked by talljasperman (21858points) August 2nd, 2015

It must work in the short term or people wouldn’t do it. What do you think?

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20 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

People aren’t trying to sleep off depression, they have no energy to do anything else.

jaytkay's avatar

Sleep doesn’t end depression. It’s a temporary escape from reality.

majorrich's avatar

It’s my medication that makes me sleep a lot.

rojo's avatar

I have always thought that such sleep was a result of depression, not an attempt at a cure.

majorrich's avatar

I was almost hyperactive trying to work off the demons. But after a number of changes, my Doctor put me on Effexor, which for some reason floors me. And I can’t quit taking it.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Fatigue and decreased energy are symptoms of depression.

geeky_mama's avatar

Perhaps for those (of us ) who have depression it can be difficult to determine whether it’s a physical exhaustion or a worsening/return of depression symptoms.

Sometimes you can’t tell the source of the tired/withdrawn/lack-of-sense-of-humor right away. Especially if it could be PMS, you’ve just had an exhausting or high-stress week at work or you’ve just been physically ill.

Do you give in and be a hermit and sleep as long as your body craves?
Or…is it something more and you need to see your meds doc and/or use a DBT/CBT skill like “Opposite to Emotion”?

Edited to add: To answer the OP, IMHO, the only way it ‘works’ in the short term is when it’s not depression as the primary or sole cause of the symptoms. Even if the person has been diagnosed previously with depression…sometimes tired is just tired. Or, emotionally spent is just spent.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@geeky_mama Since I’ve been diagnosed with depression I’ve found it easier to determine where my exhaustion comes from.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have dealt with depression most of my life and have come to the conclusion that it’s largely due to a lack of proper nutrition, stress and not enough exercise. Correcting these three things seems to reverse it every time.

geeky_mama's avatar

@dammitjanetfromvegas – not me, but that is a good thing for you.

Maybe it’s because I have smaller seismic shifts due to high-functioning Bipolar II. I have to listen very closely to my body and do a lot of self-care to determine whether what I’m experiencing is hypo-mania, normal mood fluctuation or low-grade depression.

Like @ARE_you_kidding_me – I have to work hard at proper nutrition, good sleep, healthy routines and regular exercise. That keeps me from shifting too far one way or the other.

So, perhaps I should have qualified my response a bit as I’m sure the experience is different for those with Bipolar I or chronic / long-term depression.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think biologically many of us need to be challenged daily like we would have a thousand years ago. This sedentary life we lead now throws us off balance. For me depression is simply a natural signal to change.

rojo's avatar

Spoke recently with a woman who said eight years ago she was spending up to 20 hours a day in bed. She and her husband thought it was depression but someone suggested she go have herself tested for allergies, not the 40+ pokes in the back kind but the more in depth genetic kind. Turns out she had multiple food allergies, made the necessary changes, ended up dropping pounds, turned her life around and to look at her today (other than an obsessive nature at mealtime) you would not imagine she had been that bad off. I recall she said that there was about a 60 day period that she had make it through, almost gave up on day 59 in tears but, with her husbands help, held on and made it. She said it was like a heavy blanket had been lifted from her life.

You might look into it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@rojo Allergies are something I have suspected for years. Multiple allergies would completely explain seasonal anxiety and depression.

Pachy's avatar

Methinks Macbeth put it quite nicely:
Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

linguaphile's avatar

I’ve been depressed for too much of my life. I realized it has been caused by 3 major things…

1. Anemia. I had severe anemia for 10 years and that reduces the amount of oxygen in the body, which leads to fatigue. Fatigue leads to the frustration with the inability to accomplish much, which leads to depression. My anemia was caused by my uterus- so there were hormonal imbalances happening there too.

2. Abusive relationships. I obviously don’t want to get into one abusive relationship after another, but that’s what has happened. My mother was cruel, my father disowned/abandoned me at age 7—I realized that when I’m feeling trapped in an abusive relationship, it’s draining, it’s discouraging and causes abject depression.

3. Self abuse. I am very hard on myself, quite vicious really. So, when I make a mistake that I feel didn’t need to be made, then the mental self-flagellation sets in. It’s awful—a bad habit and something I have to consciously avoid.

And with all 3, I slept. Anemia made me legitimately tired, but I also slept to escape abuse. I’m really good at lucid dreaming, and that world became addictive. Now when I am in around healthy people and not beating on myself, I never need extra sleep.

wsxwh111's avatar

I haddepression.
I sleep not because I want but because I have to. Having depression is exhausting, I need more rest to handle a day’s tasks.

christophery's avatar

we only could fall sleep in a peaceful mode, sleep is a good way to adjust our depression. You can only come to the morning through the shadows.

BBawlight's avatar

On my low days it’s not like I believe sleeping will cure me. Or that if I just sleep long enough then I’ll wake up feeling all better and everything will be alright.
Sleeping is more of an escape. I can dream of things and do anything in my mind with minimal effort and it feels great. It feels like the world inside my dreams is so much better and vivid and magical that once I wake up I feel like I need to go back and get away from this horrible real life.
I remember once waking up and feeling a sense of unbelievable dread because I never wanted to wake up because my life in my dreams was so much better.
So, in my experience, I don’t actually believe my depression can be “cured” by sleeping. I just use it as a means to escape this unsavory world.

dabbler's avatar

At least you can something successfully, take a nap.

Haleth's avatar

There are a couple reasons. With depression, you feel drained and everything seems like a major effort. So sleeping can be a form of procrastination, putting your problems off until later. One kind of bleak possibility is feeling suicidal (or like life has nothing to offer) but because of the depression lacking the initiative to do anything about it, and just sleeping instead. It lets you not feel, even if it’s temporary. A more optimistic side of things is that sleep is the body’s way of saying “have you tried turning it off and then back on again?” so you can have a better day tomorrow.

I don’t think depressed people believe sleep will cure it. The best cures for depression are some combination of therapy, medicine, proper sleep, exercise, healthy diet, and sunlight. Depression itself makes it hard to seek any of those cures. If you’re drained and don’t have any initiative, how do you gather the enthusiasm to exercise outside or cook a healthy meal? Never mind finding therapy you can afford.

If I could go back and tell myself from a couple years ago anything, it would be to ask for help. Tasks that seem daunting to a depressed person are easy for someone in good mental health. A caring friend or relative can encourage you. Your local crisis center or crisis hotline have a shitload of resources to give you if you ask. Doing one small thing every day is a good start. Depending on your level of depression, it could be as small as: day 1, look up a phone number. Day 2, call it. Etc.

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