Happy Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day.

Labor Day sign

Happy Labor Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Today here in the United States it is Labor Day.

Can any of you history buffs tell me why?

Waking up early reduces depression.

Man sleeping

Sleeping person.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

When you wake up matters when it comes to depression.

We used to think that the critical factor connecting sleep and depression was the total number of hours of sleep. But when you go to bed and when you get up may also affect your mental health. It is true that people who get inadequate sleep, however much that is for them, are more likely to become depressed. Depending on your genetics and the amount of energy you expend every day, we expect people to need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day. Deviations from this norm may be connected to mental health issues.

Not enough sleep affects your mood.

Waking up tired makes you grouchy and leads to depression. The idea that you can be more productive by reducing the number of hours of sleep you get each night has turned out to do more harm than good. Being chronically sleep-deprived interferes with mental processes.

Not enough sleep makes you irritable and adds to depression. Even the traditional all-nighters before exams may be resulting in lower test scores, not better grades. Students who lay off the books the night before finals and get a good night’s rest often do better than those who try to stay up all night studying but took the test with a foggy head.

Not needing much sleep can also be a problem.

Some people have a genetic disposition that requires them to sleep less than their fellow humans. But when someone routinely sleeps less than six hours and wakes up with plenty of energy, this may be a sign of a developing mental illness. Sleeping less than normal is a key indicator for either cyclothymic disorder or one of the bipolar disorders. In those disorders is not just the reduced need for sleep; however, that makes the diagnosis. These high-energy people also act impulsively or irresponsibly and may have driven uncontrollable behavior. The lack of sleep doesn’t get them into trouble directly, but what they do while awake does.

It’s not just how much sleep but when.

Recently I’ve seen several studies tell us that night owls are more likely to be depressed. Late risers are twice as likely to become depressed as the early birds. Early risers are also more likely to be happy and optimistic. But these characteristics are not fixed. People who suddenly must stay up later at night and begin sleeping in may experience a decline in mood. This relationship works in the other direction also.

Becoming an early riser can help improve your mood.

For most types of depression, many things can help. Medication can help temporarily, but so can increasing physical activity and exercise. Changing your thinking, a major part of cognitive-behavioral therapy, can also reduce symptoms of depression. Recently we discovered that being an early riser can also reduce depression.

Deliberately shifting your sleep schedule can also improve your mood.

People who begin to deliberately get up earlier each morning and then go to bed earlier report seeing an improvement in their mood. If they suffer from some types of depression, it gets better. How much of a shift do you need to make? Waking up one hour earlier results in a significant improvement in mood.

During the pandemic, many people shifted to online schooling or working from home. There’s been an increase in people working later into the evening and then sleeping later in the morning. Surveys suggest that those people who stayed up the latest felt the emotional impacts of the pandemic more than those people who stuck with a schedule that mirrored the sun. As we get back to normal, moving back to an early to rise and early to bed lifestyle may be just the boost your mental health needs.

Sudden sleep changes may also be a sign of an oncoming mental illness.

The condition we call depression comes in two major forms. In melancholy depression, people can’t sleep. But in atypical depression, the depressed person begins to sleep for extended periods but is still tired. Of course, reduced need for sleep is often tied to a bipolar person moving into a manic or hypomanic episode.

The idea that this connection between sleep and significant emotional problems or even a mental illness can work in both directions hasn’t seen enough attention in the past. While changes in your sleep may indicate an oncoming mental illness, deliberately shifting your sleep schedule as much as possible to be an early riser may also have significant mental health benefits.

Genetics certainly play a role in both sleep cycles and the risk of developing depression. But it’s possible that something as simple as gradually shifting your sleep cycle so that you get more hours of daylight and sleep during the darkness may help improve your mood and may even reduce or prevent some forms of depression.

Have you noticed a connection between your bedtime and your mood? If you have seen an impact of sleep cycles on your mental health, please leave a comment below.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel.

Independence.

Independence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Independence.

Inspiration.      Post by David Joel Miller.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

― Coco Chanel

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Normally I share these quotes on Sunday, but since this weekend is 4 July, America’s Independence Day, I thought it might be useful to share some additional quotes about the meanings people attach to independence.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Memorial Day.

Post by David Joel Miller.

Veterans.

Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Memorial Day.

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

― Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”

― Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works – Volume XII

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Economy.

Economy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Economy.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

― Warren Buffett

“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”

― John Maynard Keynes

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

― John Kenneth Galbraith

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln.

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Abraham Lincoln

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”

Abraham Lincoln

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Today on Presidents’ Day seems like a good time to look at the things Abraham Lincoln had to say.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Inspirational    Post  From David Joel Miller.

MLJ Day 2015

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Inspirational    Post  From David Joel Miller.

MLJ Day 2015

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

At least I didn’t die.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

The hospital thought I had Covid.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably noticed that there weren’t very many posts in November. Part of that was by design. I was doing the NaNoWriMo writing contest during November. And despite some challenges, I did finish a first draft of that book. 2020 makes the fifth time I have completed the first draft of a book during November. More on that in an upcoming post.

Five days in the hospital, mostly in the ICU, changed my plans.

This illness came on very suddenly. Tuesday evening, I thought it was a little cold in the house. My toes and my fingers both felt chilly. So, I turned up the heater and wore socks to bed. Wednesday morning, I felt normal. By noon I was so cold I was shaking. When I tried to type on the computer, I couldn’t hit the keys. Dialing 911 turned out to be a significant challenge.

My feeling cold turned out to be fever and chills.

Since I felt so incredibly cold, it never occurred to me that I was running a fever. I tried to take my temperature, but my hand shook so much I couldn’t get an accurate reading. By the time I got to the hospital, I was shaking so severely the EMT thought I was having a seizure. I’ll leave it to the medical professionals to debate that one.

If it looks like Covid, you must treat it like Covid.

So many of my symptoms implied an infection with the Covid virus that once they got me admitted, I was sent to the Covid ICU unit. In addition to fever and chills, my blood pressure dropped severely. I’ve never been one to have to worry about high blood pressure, but in retrospect, the numbers they were getting for my blood pressure should’ve made me question whether I was still alive. I had to be given an intravenous medication just to get my blood pressure back within the wishing distance of normal.

Life on the Covid ICU unit.

Being on the Covid ICU unit for four days was a scary experience. My heart goes out to the people who must work in that unit. And remember, I’ve worked on locked psychiatric units, but this one scared me. I feel that I got excellent care. I won’t mention the name of the specific facility. Everyone has their preferences, and some people have had bad experiences, even with an excellent provider. Let me say that I’m delighted to continue to be a member of this medical system.

Watching the staff enter and exit my room was a little like what you might see in a science fiction movie when someone has taken aboard the alien ship. Everyone wore a facemask and a shield. To come into the room, workers had put on an additional transparent plastic garment that totally covered them. When they left the room, that entire outer garment was disposed of. This virus is a nasty enemy, and we can’t be too cautious.

My Covid tests came back negative.

I was told at one point that I had received two separate Covid tests. Eventually, I was given the results, which was that I was negative for Covid. Of course, that didn’t explain blood pressure readings that sounded more like the score of a professional football game, as well as my extreme weakness and inability to eat.

What I had was diverticulitis.

The short version of this is that diverticulitis is an inflammation of the intestine. Some of that nasty junk that should’ve stayed in my intestine had seeped through into surrounding tissue and caused a systemic infection throughout my body. Apparently, I wasn’t far from taking that last elevator ride, which takes you either all the way up or all the way down.

It’s been a slow recovery.

Even once I was able to get discharged from the hospital, I still wasn’t back to normal. Being that sick left me extremely exhausted, and I took the following week off. I am slowly getting back to doing the things I like to do, which for me is working, teaching, and of course, my writing. I have several ideas for topics I want to write about, but that will take me some time.

My online teaching.

To date, I have taught four classes online. I’ve also been taking classes and how to do a better job of teaching online. While online education is a vital necessity in this age of the coronavirus, I believe it’s another one of those long term changes whose time has come. Remember that first portable phone, the giant brick that required hours to recharge? Just as our mobile communication devices have evolved, I fully expect online education to continue to evolve. As the year 2020 comes to an end, and I look forward to 2021, I expect the pace of change to accelerate.

I’m just extremely glad to be alive to be both a witness and a participant in all this change. Please continue to read the counselorssoapbox.com blog, where I will continue to talk about how I see things in the fields of recovery from substance use disorders, mental health, and having a happy life.

P. S. What do you think of the new featured image at the top of this blog? Is it an improvement? Or do you miss the old header?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seemed like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel