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Getting Through a Day Paralyzed by Anxiety and Depression

August 12, 2015 Greg Weber

Feeling paralyzed by anxiety makes it tough to get through your day. Here's how I get through a day when I'm 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

Feeling paralyzed by anxiety makes it tough to get through your day. Here's how I get through a day when I'm paralyzed by anxiety and depression.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.

You can find Greg on his website, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook.

APA Reference
Weber, G. (2015, August 12). Getting Through a Day Paralyzed by Anxiety and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2015/08/getting-through-a-day-paralyzed-by-anxiety-and-depression



Author: Greg Weber

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 20 2018 at 8:03 pm

Hey Susan, Cee, and May, I thought I'd share a mini story with you that I hope can offer a glimpse of light in your moments of despair. I've been caregiving part-time for a woman who just turned 78 and has been bound to her chair for six years since her stroke. Recently, she indicated she wanted to build her strength and learn to manage her pain better with mindfulness. I put together a short series of exercises for her (very simple things she can do in a chair), along with some yogic breath work. Her primary caregiver has been doing them with her daily. Last week she told me that she can now lift her hand and arm for the first time in 6 years. She showed her husband and me and we were stunned. I asked her how she figured out she could do it and she replied, "I don't know. I just tried one day and asked my arm to cooperate and it did. She said her pain has been diminished as well. I'm not sharing this to suggest that people can will their way out of agony, anxiety, or depression. I'm also not suggesting that yoga is a magical cure. However, I wanted to ask you guys if you've tried any kind of mindfulness or somatic (body) work. I've been astounded at some of the healing I've watched over the years--people being able to love their bodies and heal painful trauma. These are some of the small things that can give us meaning in life.

Teresa
May, 12 2018 at 5:56 pm

I just Googled "making plans paralyzes me." This page came up. It was strange thinking that there were people just like me, laying in bed Googling to find ways to stop being paralyzed.
I want to be a good wife. I want to be a good mother. I want to be a good grandmother. But I can only operate spontaneously or if someone else NEEDS help.
It is somewhat comforting that I am not alone.

Selina
October, 17 2019 at 9:40 pm

this is literally me. I cannot move unless it's for someone else. Its crazy. I feel stuck in my own body/trapped by myself. Cowardly and scared by my responsibilities. I know I just have to like - do it. suck it up and do it but even after working - the minute I take a break I freak out about starting again. i'm 20 and in university now. it's killing my productivity. I cannot study for any of my tests at all on my own or do my submissions on my own. Often- if I have nobody to study with me- I end up walking into tests completely unprepared although I sit paralysed infront of my books for days before my tests. I DONT KNOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. there has to be some secret to functioning like a normal person that I do not know. its by god's good grace that I have made it this far - but I cannot keep this up for much longer.

October, 17 2019 at 11:33 pm

Hi Selina,
It sounds like you're handling a lot all at once! Everything will be alright, and if you would like here are some resources you can use if you're feeling overwhelmed at the moment: https://www.healthyplace.com/suicide/suicide-hotline-phone-numbers. It can take time to work through challenges to productivity, but things will get better. Sending good wishes your way,
George

swati
June, 15 2018 at 7:24 am

Small things to big things can bring worries in life and can result in anxiety. Things may remain tense for longtime in our system due to anxiety. thanks for sharing this info with us. Keep up the good work.

Nicole
June, 29 2018 at 8:28 pm

I'm exhausted from the extreme depression I've experienced since March. Not my first fight with depression but it's been debilitating this time. I almost sabotaged my business in it's entirety just because I couldn't cope with tending to students "personal care and attention" I always give so freely. And losing my home and then an unwanted pregnancy. Have to move within 2 days. Still don't have a place to go because I have my dog. But she's the only thing that's kept me alive so I'm not going anywhere without her. All my money from this recent session went into catching up and into saving my business. Even worse I got a roommate for financial reasons and I'm paralyzed anytime they are home. Hiding in my room with anxiety because I just want to attempt to be productive my 50x a day by myself. Broke down in tears a bit ago and started googling my problem so I can Try to fix it and found this. Thanks to all of you and the author for sharing and thank you for witnessing me. Not all days are bad but all days have at least a bad moment wholly teething to get courage to participate in life. Even worse everyone looks up to me. I'm tired of my self limiting illness.

Lia
June, 30 2018 at 9:40 pm

I arrived at the page the same way as most of you-- by googling depression paralysis. Nicole, your post is very recent, and I hope you have found a place to stay. I cannot imagine if I had to move right now. I'm a teacher on summer break and I have spent day after day after day in bed, only going downstairs to eat. I have gotten up and out for a few things I was obligated to go to - a funeral of someone close and a couple of important family functions. I have gained a lot of weight and I cannot be bothered to exercise or eat anything except processed junk food- it takes my all to get up and go to the bathroom. I only shower every 3rd day or so or when I must absolutely go out. Parts of my house (bedroom) look like a hoarder - I have zero energy or motivation to clean. Making phone calls completely paralyzes me. I need to find a handyman to do a couple projects on my house but the thought of talking to someone seems impossible. I barely even respond to texts. I can lie in my for 48-72 hours getting up just to get food and go to bathroom. I stay on the laptop all day, mindlessly surfing the internet. I have family visiting from out of state in 2 weeks, and I must clean the house - it is so daunting. And, I am so frustrated and dwelling on all the time I've already wasted where I could have accomplished a lot already by just doing a little a day. Honestly, it has taken a lot out of me just to type this- I feel physically exhausted from doing so. I hope everyone gets to feeling better or somewhat feeling better. Depression is absolutely debilitating.

Christa
July, 1 2018 at 7:07 pm

For me it's the vicious cycle... The anxiety grips my throat, my chest, my whole body. I wake up in the night and I swear I need to be admitted somewhere. Other days the depression has me glued to the couch, using television to ground me and try and distract. I fear what I can not do, The anxiety builds, I'm paralyzed... I put something off and then the consequences build. I know that I need help, therapy. I had one, she moved and wont take financial aid or my insurance; we had a great 8 year relationship. I'm in recovery and the last year and a half was the worst of my life. My husband drank and was abusive and I would run. I relapsed. Our oldest was killed in Feb. I've ended contact with my narcissistic father, I'm about to turn 50 and other family members, who he treats like gold, are shocked as they never saw the brutal, vicious side of him reserved for me.
I'm a stepmom, the kids mom is also a narcissist and with one special needs kid who isn't getting what he needs-the opposite-Imy heart breaks for the kids.
I've become more and more isolated and getting to meetings is so important, yet so hard....
The scariest is waking repeatedly at night in such a state I really think I'm losing it and literally need to go somewhere.
I have a chronic illness and react badly to many medications; I've had horrible reactions to a couple of aniti depressants (and many meds) Id love the help, but really fear their side effects. I've been hospitalized for the side effects...
I'm searching for anything from acupuncture to therapy to sayings that will help with the deep anger and resentment I have that is poisoning me with my father. II was passive aggressive w my husband yesterday; I know he is upset and will talk to me when he gets home.

Renee
August, 1 2018 at 5:11 pm

I am glad I found this blog - not happy that so many others are struggling too. I was inpatient a few weeks ago with MDD and anxiety issues. Honestly I didn't get much from the 5 day stay. My meds were just slightly changed, and it takes time to see what is actually working.I think I feel worse than when I went in. My days are low - functioning at this point still. I wake up feeling an instant wave of anxiety as I come out of sleep each morning.I have emotionally upsetting dreams nearly every night. It makes the day start off wrong when dealing with it, It takes a few hours to feel somewhat better.I am trying to avoid taking benzos,i don't want a dependancy issue on top of what I am already dealing with.I am taking Vistaryl a few times a day, which is not an addicting med but doesn't, of course, give as much anxiety relief as the benzos.It is what it is...When I am not doing well I always feel like I am letting my family down, even when they say I am not.Its just some guilt I have, because I want to feel better.I will go for long stretches of time doing well and then because of stress and dwelling on passed issues,i just get overwhelmed...I start thinking obsessively about things that have happened in the past.I can be my own worst enemy!I know it would help to see a therapist,but I don't have the money for it right now. I am a 54 yr old wife,mom and grandma.I thought I would be over this struggle by now..guess not.Its a bitch, it is...But it helps ( in a weird way) knowing I am not alone and need to stop being so hard on myself for having mental illness. But I empathize with others who wish they didn't have this God - awful condition. Everyone hang in there, you aren't alone..there are many others dealing with the same stuff. You aren't a bad person, and people who don't understand or TRY to understand mental illness need to educate themselves and be a support to those who do..It would help alot....

Charles W
August, 5 2018 at 5:38 pm

The state of anxiety nearly always goes hand in hand with the term dread and I often connect the two terminologies together.The below quote by Joseph Heller describes the state all too well.
"Something did happen to me somewhere that robbed me of confidence and courage and left me with a fear of discovery and change and a positive dread of everything unknown that may occur.” ―Joseph Heller

MiMi
September, 14 2018 at 9:34 am

Last year, I was the victim of domestic violence. I left. I was angry, anxious and depressed. My plans for my life (including marriage, children and stability) were falling apart. Leaving provided me with clarity. I examined my heart. I had loads of reasons to be happy externally (high income, nice possessions, decent travel, etc.), but I wasn't happy at all. My passion for life was gone, and the absence of this passion made me more vulnerable to mental and physical health issues. I am healing now, because I am changing things. In the beginning of my transformation, I functioned like a robot - void of any attachment to the day's activities. I lost my taste for food. I slept all the time. I cried daily. I couldn't find the energy to perform activities I loved. I knew what I needed to do to change, but I was paralyzed by fear. I learned to stop listening to the negative self-talk in my head, and take ownership of my own happiness. Anything that doesn't serve me, I release it.

Kass
September, 16 2018 at 7:40 am

I read a majority of these comments and literally as I’m typing crying because I felt every single thing all of you wrote. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for years now, especially anxiety from a very young age. I am 21 years old and nothing has been easy for me. Everyday I find myself not wanting to do anything and just be alone because that’s what feels better than dealing with the outside world and being around people overthinking to myself that people are judging me. I put on this fake impression that everything is ok where in reality it’s not, I’m depressed, sad and angry at myself for feeling this way and not knowing why and how I can stop these feelings. Like one of these ladies said, it’s like a vicious cycles that takes over you, every morning I wake up in the hopes of things will be alright and happiness will naturally come. But the fact that I have to think about it and force it takes a toll because now I’m playing a role of something that’s not genuine for hours long in a day. Things like this makes you just want to be alone and hide because that’s the place you feel safe to just be you and cut the act. My relationship with people have decreased, and my communication with people are barely there now to a point where I think a lot before I speak and don’t want to talk at all. I’m scared that my relationship with my current boyfriend will crumble because of my lifeless personality that’s taken over me. I’m always randomly depressed and he asks what’s wrong and just to not sound crazy ( so I feel ) I have to make up little stories to explain why I seem unhappy. But I try! I try to make him laugh, I try to bring good vybz even though I know I don’t at times without noticing, and I try to bring love even though I feel lifeless and dead... I still know I love him for certain. I just want to live a normal life like a lot of the people I see, I always find myself studying people and their behaviors and compare it to myself which is terrible because I’m practically beating myself up. The simplest daily life activities feel like weights and somehow never get done with me, starting with just getting out of bed smh, with all these things I overthink everything I’m doing. I haven’t had a job in months and haven’t gone back to college which is killing me and I know I need that and more distractions to get the ball rolling and keep me away from depression and anxiety but I can’t even start it up, I try the process and don’t have with energy for it and to even think of interacting with people at these places makes it worse. Happiness one day I hope will come to me and all of you lovely people ? because this is the hardest thing to go through and a lot of people don’t understand. Seeking help is the first step and I sure will go counseling. Peace love and happiness guys!

Brandon Unbedacht
January, 8 2019 at 11:06 pm

I enjoyed your post, it helped me today, thank you!

Ruth
January, 7 2021 at 4:47 am

I felt comforted by reading this and the original post. Thank you both

Nikki Eugor
June, 10 2019 at 8:34 pm

I think many of us are in this state of mind where we can't seem to come up with something that can alleviate these physical or psychological feelings that arise when life gets challenging or maybe they pop up out of nowhere. These two issues impact my life significantly and I have lost friends and jobs from these complications. I am honestly trying my best and have even been on top of my procrastination but it just tends to creep up on you suddenly out of nowhere and that feeling of paralysis can last a day, a few days or weeks. I am just going to keep trying and failing but the latter is a hard pill to swallow as I just want to be a normal functional human being. Take Care

Anxious Earth
July, 24 2022 at 1:32 am

"Out of nowhere" is one of the most frustrating aspect of it. I've spent years trying to deal with depression and anxiety, and felt like I've finally gotten to a point I can manage a moderate amount of productivity in my assignments. And yet, after a few months of practical training, I now find myself completely unable to do my assignment and paralysed by anxiety. It makes no sense. I know I CAN do it. I've done similar work before. But I can't make myself do it, except brief smidges where I just force myself.

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