circadian rhythm disruptions & depression

I wake every morning  terrified, overwhelmed with dread about opening my eyes. My heart burns with excessive cortisol.  My breathing is shallow. There is no returning to sleep. The only hope is that after getting up and facing the day, losing myself in brain work, my mood will improve. My will to live will return. It is like this every morning. Every day. It was what I go to sleep anticipating. It is this dread of waking up that dictates how late I remain awake each night. Not wanting to let go of the simple sense of  “I’m okay right now-ness” that permeates my evenings.

I wake in the mornings only because the drugs I take each night have reached the nadir of their effectiveness. They have zonked me out for 7 hours.  My mind and body are still trazadone-infused, but the stronger pulse of anxiety, that damned overwhelming despair, is cursing  my blood, seething through my brain. Incalculably more powerful.

Today,  after 15 plus years of treatment for MDD, after mulling all these years over the onset of the pent-ultimate psychotic episode, the psychic swan song, which eventually launched me (battling to the end zones of my sanity) never to return, into the all too eager arms of psycho-pharmaceuticals, like a 500 watt bulb exploding in my mind what I knew all along was right. The doctors were wrong. The drug companies were wrong. The DSM-IV was wrong. The insurance companies were wrong. I was never mentally ill. My body clock, my natural rhythms, were off-the-charts out of kilter  Off beat.  Screaming for, unable to regain homeostasis. They are still screaming somewhere in there, clothed somewhere inside me. All true sound has been muted. By drugs. By being on the wrong end of science. By reaching a crisis point at the wrong time in history. And finally by being a strung-out guinea pig pin cushion of meta-med experiment at the beginning of the end of an economic system gone totally ape-shit.

I am now an acceptable loss. I am a product designed according to the principles of planned obsolescence.

Admittedly, 15 years ago doctors didn’t know much about cortisol and depression. I would talk about adrenaline and rushes in my chest and brain zaps, about watching my skin roll down my legs, about my head jerking around so violently at night I feared it would break my neck.  And always their faces would register nadda. Noone had ever reported these reactions before. Drugs worked differently for everyone. We would just wait it out.

All of these new drugs came sans operating instructions. Limited clinical trials. No studies on long term effects. We were charting new territory. A brave new world tinkering around with affect, behavior, inside the proverbial black box.

Was the term  ‘circadian rhythm’ even a part of their vocabulary back then? Cause I never heard it mentioned. And believe me, once I regained a semblance of sanity, I was no easy convert. I battled, researched, argued. Tapered down. Broke down. Started up again. An endless cycle.

Fifteen years ago, all they knew was Prozac and Pazil and benzos. If you talked about anxiety, you were depressed. If you talked about not sleeping, it was because you were depressed. A highly effective method of treating ‘mentally ill’ patients with SSRIs had already exerted a tenacious grip on mental health practitioners. They were doing right by their patients. They were seeing miracles. Lives were being turned around. Suddenly, being depressed became the norm. Everybody wanted to live a drug-mediated existance. Except people like me. People who had to. People who had expereinced true psychosis. We just wanted our brains back. We just wanted to return to a place where we couldn’t afford to forget our magic bullets cause if we did we’d be nuts by nightfall.

I can understand how it happened. I can understand that these doctors had their patients best interests at heart.Back in the day, these were miracle cures. Insurance companies were not the monsters they are today. Direct to consumer advertising was not yet legal.

We lived in a different world in the 90s. Before Clinton really sold us out. Before the coup. Before the Telecommunications Act.  Before DTC.  Back in the day, drug companies were our friends.


I was right in recognizing that what initiated the episode, what initiated every episode, both before and since,  was a disturbance in my body’s circadian rhythms. That the release of cortisol  in my body was so out of wack that I could not sleep, and when I didn’t sleep I became crazier and crazier .. and the rushes in my chest became more and more intense until electric shocks were pulsing through my entire body and my limbs were going numb and I was hallucinating and couldn’t eat and couldn’t find safety. There was no release, no where to escape. Wolves were chasing my car. Pictures were dripping blood. Trees were transforming into menacing mine fields.  Life was a 24/7 nightmare.

It wasn’t my mind that went nuts. I went crazy because my body sold me out.

Today, I discovered that the majority of people diagnosed with MDD wake up depressed. They feel better at night. They tend to stay up until all hours of the morning because they just don’t want to lose that sense of being alive and awake. Productive, engaged.   And now I wonder as well, if this imbalance was the reason I so compulsively (before the psycho-pharmaceutical intervention) needed such utter control over my nights. How I couldn’t answer the phone after 8, have company spend the night, how fear of my daughter waking up could generate such an obsessive rapid cycling of fear that sleep became impossible. The need for sleep was so all encompassing because of the horror of spending a day without sleep. Other people could do that but for me? Just one night without sleep compromised my hold on reality. Brought me to the precipice of insanity. It was always like that for me, even as a child. It is like that for everyone in my family.

Sleep was my opiate. Without it, I could not function. I don’t have to worry about that anymore. For 15 years now, drugs have solved that problem.

But now what do I do? What do all of us do, the ones whose inner clocks went haywire and landed us in the prison of anti-depresseant and benzo hell….. what do we do now? Now that we’re hooked. Now that we’ve reached Peak Oil and petroleum is the basic ‘stuff’ of our prescriptions? What do we do now when a looming energy crisis jeopardizes the shipment of our sanity? When we can no longer the monetary costs which sustain our sanity?

Is there anyway out of here?

Here’s some research … direct attributions all

science of body rhythms and depression


Circadian Rhythms: Body Clocks (Nature)


Circadian rhythms :  what the body uses to manage appetite, vigor, rest, sexual arousal, and mood. So, when the body’s rhythm is out of kilter, a person suffers mood disorders and depression. The good thing is that this is a known issue: continued research has shown how to put the body back in balance. Studies have proven that realigning the circadian rhythms of the body can reduce away depression. Link

Diurnal: Relating to or occurring in a 24-hour period; daily.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to establish if there are differences in the 24-hour melatonin secretion profile between patients with major depression (before, and after treatment with clomipramine) compared to those in healthy subjects. Additionally, we determined if there are differences in melatonin concentrations, depending on the severity of depression, and the presence of 24-hour rhythm disturbances.
It is provisionally concluded that diurnal mood variation in depression can usefully be understood from the perspective of weakened circadian function. Findings are discussed in terms of limitations of the study’s naturalistic design and future research avenues identified. Link
The aim of this article is to review progress in understanding the mechanisms that underlie circadian and sleep rhythms, and their role in the pathogenesis and treatment of depression.
Literature was selected principally by Medline searches, and additional reports were identified based on ongoing research activities in the authors’ laboratory.
Many physiological processes show circadian rhythms of activity. Sleep and waking are the most obvious circadian rhythms in mammals. There is considerable evidence that circadian and sleep disturbances are important in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. Depressed patients often show altered circadian rhythms, sleep disturbances, and diurnal mood variation. Chronotherapies, including bright light exposure, sleep deprivation, and social rhythm therapies, may be useful adjuncts in non-seasonal and seasonal depression. Antidepressant drugs have marked effects on circadian processes and sleep.
Recent progress in understanding chronobiological and sleep regulation mechanisms may provide novel insights and avenues into the development of new pharmacological and behavioral treatment strategies for mood disorders. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Link

the rhythm of life

Biological Clocks


Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) is founded upon the belief that disruptions of our circadian rhythms and sleep deprivation may provoke or exacerbate the symptoms commonly associated with bipolar disorder. Its approach to treatment uses methods both from interpersonal psychotherapy, as well as cognitive-behavioral techniques to help people maintain their routines. In IPSRT, the therapist works with the client to better understand the importance of circadian rhythms and routines in our life, including eating, sleeping, and other daily activities. Clients are taught to extensively track their moods everyday. Once routines are identified, IPSRT therapy seeks to help the individual keep the routines consistent and address those problems that arise that might upset the routines. This often involves a focus on building better and healthier interpersonal relationships and skills.

Chronotherapies: a treatment for insomnia in which a person’s normal cycle of waking and sleeping is altered.

Depression: Antidepressant Side Effects Hinder Long-Term Treatment
A Review of Side Effects and Alternative Therapies

Resynchronizing Mood Cycles
Syncholamine and Positrol: for circadian synchronism and control of homeostasis.
Syncholamine in the early part of the day, and Positrol toward the end of the day, produces a greater benefit than taking either product alone. Together these formulas act as timekeepers to resynchronize the bodys circadian rhythms, while promoting the proper circadian switching and functioning of the daytime energy production pathway and the nighttime sleep and repair pathway. In addition, these formulas may have anti-aging effects by normalizing neurotransmitter balance, thereby improving hypothalamic receptor sensitivity.Link

Binaural Beats & Consciousness

Damn. Just damn.




~ by boatsie on November 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “circadian rhythm disruptions & depression”

  1. Thanks for the info very informative and helpful.

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