Depression, Sleep, and Bladder Issues

This post is about depression, sleeping, and peeing. It’s not the kind of thing most people want to read about, but if you’ve got problems with any (or all) of them, you might want to read on.

I used to awaken numerous times in the night, often the result of needing to pee. Once I’d gotten up to pee, I’d go back to bed and lie there for hours. I’d finally fall asleep when it was time to get up and go to work. Even though I’d been in bed for ten hours, I’d wake up exhausted. I walked around in a constant state of sleep deprivation. And I constantly needed to pee. I’ve been on medication for several years for overactive bladder. It’s helped, but not entirely. Until recently, I still had to pee all the time. I’m talking a dozen times throughout the work day. And often the urgency was overpowering. I’d be on a conference call, and the urge would hit. I’d pace my office, try to focus on the call, but end up fantasizing about peeing in the trash can, instead. When the call ended, I’d run down the hall to the restroom. Since this is an anonymous blog, I’ll tell you that I didn’t make it on a couple of occasions. (Good thing I had gym clothes as a backup.) Or I’d go to an appointment, pee before I left, and then need to use the restroom again when I arrived at my destination fifteen minutes later. I’d then have my meeting, which would last thirty minutes or so, and then need to go again on my way out. I’ve had to go in the middle of massages. In the middle of teeth cleaning. In the middle of acupuncture treatments. I’d done a series of acupuncture treatments in an attempt to solve both the sleep and the bladder problems. It did no good. I went to a urologist who put me on medication. As it turns out, what I really needed was a psychiatrist.

But I had no idea why I developed this problem, and my (somewhat cursory) online research suggested doctors don’t really know, either. Some of the medication the urologist put me on was useless for me. I tried two different types before I settled on a third that seemed to help. But not entirely and not all the time. And it was so random. At least seemingly so.

And then I fell into a deep depression, and luckily, I went to a psychiatrist. And a therapist. The psychiatrist put me on antidepressants. Slowly, I began to feel better. I began to sleep through the night. A few nights of good sleep a week turned into good sleep most nights. That’s right: most nights I sleep through the entire night without waking to use the bathroom. Since I’ve been on the antidepressants, my bladder symptoms virtually have disappeared. It’s really quite remarkable. So, of course I googled it and dug a little deeper this time. We all know depression causes insomnia, or in some, hypersomnia. But what I didn’t know is that there’s a link between depression and overactive bladder. Treat the depression, and the bladder problems disappear.

It seems when the brain is misfiring, it can cause all sorts of issues: sleep, bladder, cognitive (including brain fog and memory loss), and emotional issues. Since I’ve been on antidepressants, all those symptoms have improved. Every one of them. What am I taking? Currently I’m on 300 mg Wellbutrin, 15 mg Deplin, and 2 mg Abilify. I started the Wellbutrin and Deplin three days before Christmas, and the doctor gradually increased the Wellbutrin dose until I hit 300 mg. I started the Abilify at the beginning of February, first 1 mg, then 2 mg.

All this leads me to believe that I’d been suffering from depression for years, at times worse than others. But now, I feel better. Much, much better.

If you have symptoms of depression, I urge you to not suffer in silence. You don’t have to. See a psychiatrist and/or a therapist. Take the medication if prescribed. If the first one doesn’t work, try a different one. There is help out there. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Brain function is like any other physical aspect of the body. And when it goes haywire, it shouldn’t be viewed any differently than high blood pressure.

The more we speak up about depression, the more we chip away at the stigma.


  • That is fascinating. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and some other health issues. I need to pee all the time. I tried Cipralex for the fibro. It did nothing for the pain. It didn’t impact me emotionally at all. All it did was make me sleep (some days I couldn’t get up until 5:00 pm) and gave me vivid, exhausting dreams. I stopped eating nutritional yeast, and that did help with some of the urgency to pee, but, ya, I still pee A LOT.


    • I am simply amazed that after seven years of struggling with OAB, with it progressively getting worse, I get on antidepressants and my bladder is functioning normally again. My psychiatrist acted as if I was nuts (ha!) when I told him what was happening, but then he acknowledged there could be a connection. So I did my research and voila! I just had to share in the hope it might help someone. Maybe you!


  • So far, I don’t have any of these issues, but one never knows what is down the line..
    very interesting.. thanks for the 411


  • I used to pee all the time too, i dont know why because I dont think I’m depressed or anything. But for the past two days i’ve cut down to like twice a day, i dont know why…am abit less stressed than I’ve been for the past 3months though so that might be the reason…I’ve just about given up on sleeping through the night though.. 😦


  • It is really incredible how all these things seem to be related. I am so glad your regimen has made a difference for you. It kind of makes you wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg? I work with Deplin. Have you found that it makes a difference for you?


    • It is really interesting. I have a feeling the depression came first. Has the Deplin made a difference? Somthing has; no doubt about that. I would venture to guess the Deplin is helping.


  • Hi. I have taken Prozac which I liked but made me sleepy, Wellbutrin kinda Didnt do anything I guess? Vibryd- I just stopped it last night cold turkey. I can’t be on it anymore! The dreams, the exhaustion, the irritability, need to drink wine every night( I love wine but it’s such a pull?!?)
    I’m at a loss, I want to be happy I’m vain about gaining weight, weight loss would be nice. I found your blog and thought maybe you help voice and opinion. Thank you!!


    • The nightmares were awful! i kept waking myself up and didn’t want to go back to sleep because they’d start right back up again. I’m beginning to think pharmaceuticals aren’t the answer. I’m beginning to think there isn’t an answer. It’s the human condition. We just have to do the best we can to make it through. Nature helps. Exercise helps. Cats help. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.


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