Getting Through a Day Paralyzed by Anxiety and Depression
Living with mental health issues means there will be days where you feel paralyzed by anxiety and depression. Because comorbid depression and anxiety are so common with different mental illnesses, nearly everyone who struggles with mental health will have to get through a day feeling paralyzed by anxiety and depression. I had one today, and man, it was rough. But, the good news is, I got through it.
I'm pretty good at planning my day with anxiety disorder, but today was exceptionally hard. I felt utterly paralyzed, like I couldn't even move. I felt wired and tired. The combination of being wired from anxiety, and tired because I just wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear created an awful push-pull feeling throughout mind and body. I wanted to move, but I couldn't. I didn't want to move, but I had to.
My Day Was Paralyzed by Depression and Anxiety, but I Got Through It
So, how did I do it? It took pretty much everything I had, but I was successful because I achieved two main goals: I didn't beat myself up over it, and I was at least minimally productive. I kept pushing forward despite how I felt.
I have low self-esteem, like almost everyone with depression. One of the things I have to do to keep it at bay is to be productive every day in some fashion. Of course, productivity is a relative thing. I had 10 things on my to-do list today, but I only accomplished two of them (writing this blog post was one). So, my productivity was only 20 percent of what I had planned, but at least I did something. Doing something -- even doing it badly -- is always better than sitting paralyzed and doing nothing.
The other thing I did right was to not attack myself for having a bad day. (We all know that beating yourself up when you already feel bad makes everything so much better, right?)
Everyone has bad days. There will be some days when I'm too overwhelmed to function very well. That's just reality, and accepting that and getting on with life anyway is a big part of me living successfully with anxiety and depression.
Tomorrow is another day, and that means I get to start over. Even though getting through a day paralyzed by anxiety and depression is not a pleasant experience, I'm grateful that I was able to practice my skills. The fact that I got through it without harming myself shows me how far I've come. I'm much stronger and more skillful than I generally give myself credit for, and my guess is that you are, too.
Weber, G. (2015, August 12). Getting Through a Day Paralyzed by Anxiety and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2015/08/getting-through-a-day-paralyzed-by-anxiety-and-depression
Author: Greg Weber
That's a lot to go through. I'm sorry you've been struggling. Have you checked in to medicaiton assistance programs? Those might offer some help in at least that area. Our Free or Low-Cost Prescription Medication Assistance article is a good place to start. https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/prescription-assistance-programs/free-or-low-cost…
Thank you for writing this post Greg, and thank you so much to everyone who commented. I can relate to every one of you. I have read many blog posts but never responded to one before. Here goes. I just really want to say thank you for your honesty and sharing. I have been feeling lower and lower each day, and decided to google "feeling paralyzed by depression" and here I am. Since there is no quick fix to coming out of the blackness, at least we can reach out to each other and find comfort in total understanding. I am actually feeling better enough now to type at least! I feel like you, Alexandra. I can't stand how this is a vicious cycle. I am the Queen of beating myself up for my behavior. An old therapist told me that I am a perfectionist. I asked how that could be, considering I am so far from perfect. She said the fact that I never accept myself for the good that I do -- that I only see myself as flawed -- makes me a perfectionist. It is so true that I am never satisfied with myself. She asked me once to list 5 good features about myself. Crickets chirped. I was SO embarrassed to say anything positive about myself. I felt like I would be bragging, plus there was nothing to list anyway. Lol! I felt like a grade schooler on the gym stage during a spelling bee -- that fear of criticism and self-doubt and failure, and the reason why every year I purposefully misspelled the final word asked so I wouldn't qualify to go on stage in the first place! I still can't speak that list comfortably so I have to work on self esteem. I beat myself up for unjustifiably beating myself up! Vicious cycle! Anyway, my goal for tomorrow (well, today since it's 1:30 am now - my horrible sleep schedule) is to not berate myself and to try to keep believing (dreaming?) that I'll make some sort of progress today. I have to get up early to bring my boys to their soccer games so that's the definite push I need. It forces me to shower, too. (God, that feels so pathetic to say.) I lost my job back in November and have lost all interest in looking for a new one. I can't stop, though. Unemployment is running out. Real life is crashing in on me. I've been closing my eyes to it, pushing scary reality off to "later." Checking my bank account and telling myself I'm still doing ok. This is why I have come to rest in the blackness. It is so embarrassing. I can't stand reading all of those "feel good," encouraging quotes posted on Facebook by my friends. They don't apply to me!! I'm waiting for when one will apply to me! One I can confidently agree with! I know "Life is a gift; Don't waste it," but it sure comes easy to waste right now! These inspirational quotes came to mind because the only one I DO like right now is the one accompanying this blog post! "Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once." In the picture, I am the little bunny reaching to get back to earth. "Baby steps." "Fake it 'til you make it." They're not kidding! I am going to stay up now to attempt to get my sleep schedule back to normal, and think about you all, and how we're all fighting this @#%@#% fight together. Somewhere out in the world, I know there is someone else awake feeling like me.
Mary I hope almost a year on you have found some peace. I myself searched for 'Depression and feeling paralysed'. I feel unable to do anything however I don't give myself credit for getting my 2 young boys ready for school, for doing homeworks and for making dinner, for reading them stories every night and for hugging them even though I feel nothing. I've had severe depression & anxiety for over 20 yrs. I had finally found the solution through essential oils however my mum died 8 weeks ago and I'm worse than ever. Back on dreaded meds and unable to feel that I will ever get better. Depression sucks!!!
Mary I would like to be your friend. Your words sound like my thoughts. My Husband doesn't understand. I am a Christian and thankful for the Lord. Sometimes all I can do is reach out and pray and ask God to help or read a psalm when I don't know what to pray. My disability is running out but I have been so paralyzed...I haven't even been able to do my laundry let alone finish my resume and look for a job. The thought of going on interviews and trying to say the right things and convince someone that I am worthy of a job is just so overwhelming to me. I am very skilled and good at what I do, but I also am a perfectionist. If my house isn't clean and organized, I don't get enough sleep or whatever the reason I get very overwhelmed and I tend to shut down. I'm trying to fight it. It just is so silly and yet I can't get past it. I used to be such a go getter and get so much done. I don't know how I did it. I wish I could get that version of me back. Anyways, just wanted you to know that someone out there feels exactly as you were feeling when you wrote this post. I hope you are doing better. It is no fun being isolated, even though we often isolate ourselves. It just makes the issue worse. I recently started taking amino acids as a desperate attempt to change the way I feel. I've tried just about everything. Hopefully it helps. If you'd like, you can reach me email@example.com
God Bless you all that are struggling with this! ?
Wow I can't believe I can even type seeing that this feeling I have had me feeling so stuck I can't breathe without consciously taking a deep breath! I too have God in my life and do not understand how a once vibrant girl who friends called a cheerleader for life can be sitting in the house while there are many things going on around me with family and friends?! I do suffer from a chronic illness and had a dr apt this am....have had severe stomach problems since last night (well all the time but I had to be close to a rest room for this kind) but I can't blame my physical illness because I ha e been much more sick and gone out or had people over and I want nothing to do with any of it! I. Lames the winter at first then I blamed menopause,now I am blaming the heat wave....well today is 78 and gorgeous and I am in my room shaking every time there is a sound like one of kids home or my husband?! This is bad that is why I googled it! Idk if it's cuz it's becoming my norm or what but I HATE IT!! I need to move my feet but NOPE,I am laying here! I want my life back please someone help ?! Any suggestions I'll take em! I already journaled and read psalms I don't know what's up? Ty and I pray ur doing better! God bless Kerry
I noticed that you didn't reply to the messages and replies from other people. How are you today? Did you manage to get through since you wrote that blog? If so, how?
I've lived with depression and anxiety for most of my life, but still managed to have a fairly good life anyway. Was happily married for 13 years, had a successful career and did well in general despite the fact that I've been thinking of death and suicide every day of my life, since 5 years old. I did try once and failed and as a consequence, I've been angry at myself for failing and being a coward and angry at the Universe for not allowing me to go. At 38 years, I've deliberately put my life in danger so many times before and still get out of it alive.
I am sitting in the stairs in my house, paralysed with fear and anxiety... that the great speakers and philosophers keep saying is created by my mind, memory and imagination. Although, for me it is quite real. I've been divorced for 5 years now, lost my job 3 months ago, started a company and business is close to non-existing, and obviously money is running out. I have enough to live off and pay my bond and bills for one more month and then... that's it. If I don't get any business or income soon, I can loose my house and livelihood... which was all I had left. In the divorce, I left everything behind for my husband, because I still love him dearly and didn't want to cause him further hardship. I managed on my own to get back on my feet, to buy my little house, to give me some sense of security... and did well until I lost my job.... in which I was happy but had no life, lived off stress and alcohol and money. So loosibg my job wasn't the worst thing to happen as it was slowly killing me anyway, loosing my security, and everything else I had left is getting to me.
As I mentioned, I've lived with this fear, anxiety and depression all my life and somehow, my work or my husband or my siblings managed to motivate me to get up and get through the day and then to get through the bext day and the next after that... but right now, I have no motivation and no reason to get through the day.... as you mentioned, even taking a shower is an achievement.... I got that done, and brushed my teath and put on some make-up... and don't feel like i've achieved anything and feel as if i'm slipping deeper and deeper into that black hole with tears and metal spikes at the bottom.
Again comes the anger when I realise that the Universe will again today, as with yesterday and the day before, not allow me to just die and be done with it.... which reminds me of what you said when you mentioned that those motivational messages and memes just don't apply to you... They sure don't apply to me either.... because who wants to be grateful for "still being alive" when you feel like this. Who cares if a guy with no arms or legs made a success of his life and is happily married... he surely had financial support, emotional support and the food must have come from somewhere?! With those few things, I can make a huge success of my life... with or without arms.
Stephan Hawking was a major success, but he surely didn't do it alone... practically, left alone without someone to feed him, he would've been dead a long time ago... So, I guess this is what I fear... dying because no one can "see" my disability and therefor no one can help me. Is that it? Talking about this, we only get the answer "get up and do something, try, stop feeling sorry for yourself" so no more talking about it, right?
Well, doing some laundry is something... it won't pay my bond next month, and whatever's going to happen, I can't stop it... I'll just try to survive it... so I'll do some laundry now and maybe some dishes later... and if not... then... well, nothing.
Thank you, for telling your story, and allowing me to tell mine, without judgement (hopefully)
I truly hope you are okay and doing much better by now and hope I will too.
Michelle, you are a realist, an intelligent woman who sees through the fake advice. I identify with you, I gave up a great career on a mad whim, so self-destructive and then couldn't cope with the nasty workplaces, always gettng anxious and stressed then sacked. I started a business which I couldn't motivate myself to market so had years of failure and feeling useless. I now work for minimum wage, even though I am so clever and driven. I can't cope in a corporate environment anymore and haven't the confidence to start a business or the money. There are few positives except I haven't got cancer I hope. All the best to you x
When I read this I almost felt like you were in my head... A recent (now ex) boyfriend literally told me I was crazy because I have a fear of opening my mail. It's really hard to explain the feeling of complete paralysis when it comes to what should be everyday normal activities
After multiple meds and Doctors, I finally found a doctor who suggested TMS therapy. I never knew that some depressions can be drug resist. I never heard of this therapy which is treating both my depression and anxiety. It's not cheap but most insurances are now covering it. I'm in the end of 3 weeks and can tell there's a difference already. I'm no longer in the black whole, so to speak. I do see a counselor once a week to help me learn to love myself and work on my self esteem. Just wish I had been told about this therapy before making horrible choices. Good luck to all of you.
I just want to let you all know that the scariest thing about depression is the feeling that you are going mad. I went through this feeling a while ago, and it was terrifying. I wanted to be alone all the time, but being alone was scary too. I was between a rock and a hard place as they say. The worse thing for me was the fact that I couldn't feel comfortable in my own skin. No-where did I feel safe. I felt as though I would never get out of that dark and hellish feeling. However, I did get out and today I am enjoying waking up in the morning. So you see, when you feel afraid that you will never be 'whole' again...remember that it is possible to grab someone's hand when it is offered. Seek out the Professional help you need. Take the first step. I am not afraid...because I know I came back from that dark place. You can do it too. Please get connected to someone who can help you. Maybe the circumstances of your life are just too overwhelming. I am a retired Social Worker...but I needed the help from a Counsellor, to change my circumstances. I wish I had asked for help many years ago. Ring your local Council and find out exactly what help is available. That will be the hardest step...but a step you will not regret when you are walking out in the sunshine again. Look in the front of your telephone book to find out who you can ring...or get a friend to organise it for you.
I send you all my love and I know you can do it...If I can... anyone can.
Thank You for writing this. I have been feeling so alone in this. Lately I just feed the kids and get my 5 year old ready for school and walk her to the bus stop...then I just sink into my couch or bed feeling paralyzed and angry and depressed....it is such a vicious cycle. I hate myself almost every moment. I will try to not beat myself up and just try my best to be productive...often the "beating myself up" part really takes more energy and time than anything else....it is so embarrassing to admit this.
So I'm 17 years old and dealing with anxiety! Everyday I'm anxious of the Unknown! That's the best way to describe anxiety "fear of the Unknown".... I get so anxious in many situations, then other days I'm fine and it doesn't seem like I'm any different! Mental illnesses are crippling and we can only help ourselves, no body else! It feels like you're trapped, always tired and always saying " I'm not well" and people always complaining that I'm always ill! It's so hard to control yourself sometimes and people like us, can't always have control, but that's what we crave right? I don't always agree that people can just look past it because to us , it's a vicious cycle of feeling ill, tired and then hating ourselves for feeling that way, getting angry and then getting panicky because we can't control our own bodies and mind. But we can all do this! We are all still here! The panic attacks that make you feel like we won't make it... But we will! We always do! I'm just so glad im nt the only one! Reading this is very reassuring! I'm so thankful!
I've had a hard time feeling productive lately due to depression and panic attacks. Lately I've started to consider a day productive if I don't have to close my office door so I can sob at my desk.
I had ECT last fall. thought it helped at first but it really just ruined my memory. I lost a job because I couldn't remember things. Even now my friends will talk about something that happen last summer and I have no recollection of it. Would not recommend it. I'm struggling more now with depression than this time last year. I guess I'm glad I gave it a try though.
Hey I have depression and Anxiety since I was 8 or 13years old.When I was 12years old my Sister got killed.And I did see her dead body,my Mother blame me for it.Mom was in shock about what happened she felt bad about it Later.I was babysitting her and my brothers,I was only 12 years old myself.By the time of my Mother feeling bad about blaming me!.It was to late for me that's when my depression started.So I started having anxiety and depression and having sleeping disorders.So I have been on medication ever since my medication name was Antitipline for a long time.I got pregnant when I was 16years old,I stoped talking Medication for depression
I got back on medication after my second child was born.So I been on medication ever since,now I'm 51years old and my depression has been voice,no medication are working any more.So it has been 6years now and I am doing ECT treatment now I go once a month. I helped me and counseling and working on a having a better Life style.I was told my depression is really bad.I tried to understand what has been happening to me but it is hard
Nobody in my family and friends don't understand why I am doing the ECT Treatments.Why is it that even you guys don't talk about does Treatments? Anette. Please respond some one.
I don't know much about ECT. In fact, I know almost nothing about it, but you can do a search of the HealthyPlace website for that term. There appears to be a lot of information about it:
I wish I could say ECT is a bad thing but I do not think it is. Over years I have had about 60. No, I don’t like forgetting everything but it brought me back from the depths of hell. I would do it again if I ever went back there. Revisit some of your meds. They may work again. Try the new. I had the onset of severe depression after a head injury in an auto accident. I was very sick for several years. I think ECT did more for me than any medication. I am Bipolar II. I have quadriplegia of the brain. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks and migraines that I need to go to the hospital for. I am so sleep deprived it’s a wonder I can remember my name.
I know how you feel. Some days I can not even get out of bed, But I lay there and take care of phone calls or paperwork. At least I did something and contributed to my family. You blog was very good and I can so relate. Thank you.
Thanks for stopping by, Kewanna.