Waking Up with Anxiety. Why Can’t I Just Get Out of Bed?

Is your anxiety worse in the morning? Do you think, ‘why can’t I just get out bed’?

I’m rarely on speaking terms with breakfast. The thought of getting up, a whole new day, it can be paralyzing. I’m told it isn’t this way for everyone. Nor does a cup of coffee fix it, would that it could. If you have an anxiety disorder, or experience panic, it’s not uncommon to find mornings particularly tough.


I used to chalk it up to depression, tell myself to get up anyway, fast, like ripping a bandaid off. Except that doesn’t always work, and it isn’t just depression. That’s a myth (‘just depression’? Please.). It’s like waking up everyday and realizing I still haven’t fixed the problem. It’s only too easy to get down on myself but what’s really happening?

Waking up with anxiety

Waking up to anxiety isn’t just demoralizing, it’s debilitating. It can have very real consequences for your relationships, work, financial life. Worry, the million and something-odd things I’ve got going on, they make me feel full before I’ve begun. My head racing so far and so deep into everything that it all comes at me at once. A flood. The subsequent anxiety response by my entire nervous system isn’t a surprise. Like little holes poked exactly in my weak spots, exactly where they shouldn’t be.

Organizing my way out of a cardboard box

Sometimes I ‘rescue’ myself by doing things. Many things. In no particular order. I’m too anxious to order anything, and what if it isn’t perfect, what if I’m not OK enough today? Trapped in questions, it’s better to do, even if I get nothing done. A Nike ad gone slightly wrong. The end product of these thought processes may be a sense of powerlessness, isolation, frustration, failure, or doing it all wrong even if things go right.


  • Examining your sleep quality, if not quantity
  • Starting the day with something you enjoy
  • Taking the focus off time, and other pressures
  • Stretching, slowing down, breathing techniques
  • Eating for mental health and energy (maybe save the caffeine for later)

Recognize the cycle


Recognizing the pattern as part of having an anxiety disorder, I feel less of the negative, like I can start again. And again. As many times as it takes. It’s a way to get into my day gently, treating my anxiety with compassion, knowing it’s all about where I’m at now.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama

I can mind going back to the beginning, and I can resent it all -the baby stepping, myself, the circumstances which put me there- but I need to do it all the same. It’s a way to remind myself I don’t have a crystal ball because too often I panic when I think I do.

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23 Responses to Waking Up with Anxiety. Why Can’t I Just Get Out of Bed?

  1. Steve K says:

    I’ve had poorly medically treated depression for almost 3 years. And since about 1 month ago, I have come down with anxiety as well. Thank you for finding me on Twitter. Though I don’t follow much on Twitter (I find it all just TMI and not enough time), I did manage to find this one tweet you sent with a link to this, your article. Thanks for caring about yourself and the rest of the world enough to put yourself out here in such an honest and vulnerable way <3

  2. Kate White says:

    Hi Steve,

    Glad you found your way here, and thank you. Hope you find some better treatment options soon!

  3. Christy9339 says:

    I totally understand. I’m anxious even before I wake up each morning. I actually wake up shaking from anxiety. Where I am lucky, is that I have two dogs that want to go outside and eat breakfast and they keep me busy for a bit. Next, I sit and eat breakfast. So, I do have a morning routine. This in no way makes waking up shaking any easier. It’s been going on for so long that I don’t panic any longer, but it still is an awful feeling.

    A new thing I’m finding is having anxiety in the evening. Same as the morning, everything that needs to be done floods me and I can’t relax. I’m hoping to work through this one and maybe get it to go away.

  4. Kate White says:

    Hi Christy,

    Dogs are terrific, aren’t they? Routine is good too, though I’m not very good at it! :)
    Hopefully you’ll be able to deal with the evening anxiety effectively, since you’re getting to it early. (knock wood)

    Thanks for your comment,

  5. Praticing meditation can really be helpful to improve motivation to get up in the mornings.

    Due to the worry aspects of anxiety we can get extremely drained. Sometimes people feel like they have done 10 months worth of hard labour with only three hours of worry.

    Worrying may increase a lot during the night just before going to bed because people tend to be less busy at the time.

    So this is a really good time to practice meditation. Meditation will allow increased focuss on neutral or pleasing thoughts which then allows for better sleep making you wake up felling more capable of facing the day.

  6. Kate White says:

    Hi Adewale,

    Great tip.

    Yup, meditation is definitely one for my playbook in dealing with morning anxiety. Visualization exercises are a good place to start. A little easier to contend with than meditative breathing and similar which set off the panic too easily for some folks.


  7. Jon says:

    Hi There,

    I’ve been waking up anxious and dizzy for the past few days, which is new to me. I’ve dealt with anxiety in the past, but usually in the evening and never dizzy before.


  8. Kate White says:

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for your comment. If the dizziness is a totally new thing, you might want to check with your GP about it as it may be something physical.


  9. tyler says:

    A great way to battle morning anxiety is to work out first thing. It not only will be very good for you, but can help to ease anxiety and stress and is a great way to get the day off on the right foot.

  10. Judy says:

    thank you!!!!!!!!! GREAT article. And others that I couldn’t stop reading, they helped me so much. Truly.

  11. Jean says:

    I can’t focus enough to meditate and, to be honest, all that stuff makes me think about the people I know who have told me to do things like that while simultaneously telling me what a worthless person I am. I think I’m done trying.

  12. Alexandra Oliphant says:

    I wake up with sickening, physically debilitating anxiety that I don’t know what to do about. I feel in severe pain and I’m not even worried about anything. I have bi polar 1 disorder
    Please help. Alex.

  13. Kathy Glynn says:

    I loved your helpful hints! Could I be put
    On your mailing list. Thanks

  14. Barbara Rolnick says:

    interested to know more

  15. Sandy R. says:

    I struggle with ocd & depression. Waking up knowing my rituals and intrusive thoughts with be battled with,I just don’t want to try. Rough times!

  16. Kayla says:

    When I wake up in the morning I feel like I can’t get. I don’t want to get up. I have things I have to do but, it’s so hard get. I not sure if it’s anxiety. Should I have a talk with my doctor or is it just something else.

  17. Susan Jones says:

    I’m so glad I saw these comments. I have had depression for years and anxiety some of the time. About 5 mos.ago had lots of issues going on. Then morning episodes of depression and anxiety started for the first time. Recently it stopped for five days in a row. Something triggered me and it’s back.
    On medication but hasn’t changed morning
    episodes. Been researching this and trying
    different things but no relief. What a way to greet a new day. To all who are dealing with this, we must keep trying..we can’t give up.
    You have my love and compassion. I’m praying for better days ahead. Now I know I am not the only one with this problem. Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Peace, Susan

  18. Olivia says:

    Hi, I’ve recently gone through a harsh relationship break up and these morning anxiety episodes are really affecting my life now. I wake completely stressed and can’t get out if the bed, it’s gotten so bad now that I can’t go to work. Please can you help? Thanks

  19. jennifer says:

    This is the key that staying in bed is the start of my circle of depression. I keep saying to my just another 1/2 hour (am 67 so I don’t have to get up for work. At present I get up at about 4 in the afternoon. I have decided after I have taken my tablet for anxiety I am going to do 3 things ie plant some cuttings in my garden, go to the shop and make a meal for myself. Hoping these ease my anxiety. If these work for a few days I am going to make my self get up a 10-11am best wishes to you all. I’ll keep you informed how I go

  20. Mikeny585 says:

    My name is Mike. I’m 28. I still feel like I’m 18. This is the core of my anxiety. I have lived my life very slow. To me at least. I have accomplished and seen major things since graduating highschool but I feel like I’m still a teenager trapped in an adult body. I have no career but a great degree. No partner but lots of friends. No money but great credit. I’m handsome but shy. I have prolonged “growing up” for years by going to school and considering my self a student. So myself and everyone around me won’t expect the next steps I should be taking. I tried to continue my eduction this fall and had a mental break down about the school debt and time to get a higher degree. The life I think I should be living by now took over my mind and gave me such great panic attacks I ha to drop out of school. I’ve decided to put school on hold as try to get a career with the degree I already have. I work part time because it worked around my school schedule and I never picked up more hours. So I have 4 days off a week to be trapped in my mind by myself. The mornings are extremely tough. I hit snooze until 5min before I have to take a shower and go to work. The day before yesterday was my day off and I didn’t get out of bed until 4pm. I sat there with my eyes closed just trying not to worry. I see a therapist and take Prozac so I’m trying to get a handle on it. I’m scared of failure but to anxious to do anything productive. I feel broken. I feel like a need a life coach/best friend/Doctor/financial advisor/personal trainer/guru to literally hold my hand and tell me a play by of how to live and what to do. I’m scared I’m going to be alone,poor, and hated by my family and friends. I’ve built this façade of being everyone’s golden boy and now I can’t back it up. I’m am extremely luck enough to have friends and family understand I’m going through something but I feet that understanding will run out and they’ll become annoyed and disappointed with me. I know it’s all in my head but I can’t break through it and obtain my true potential. I see I’m not alone. I’m greatful others have shared their anxiety. I wish there was a foolproof step by step way to just live a normal happy life and wake up everyday wishing my life was different.

  21. Rita says:

    The daily devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is really helpful.

  22. Jerem says:

    You just made me feel sane.

  23. lisa Durham says:

    Hi my name is Lisa.
    I am 48, I’d really like to pack a suitcase and disappear. I feel like hiding. I wake up every morning in a state of panic and feel like I can cope with life, my head when I’m awake is never relaxed it’s always over thinking and it’s exhausting. I have been on antidepressants for years. I self medicated with strong pain killers to help me sleep as much as possible to get away from my anxiety. I won’t tell the doctor this in case he takes away the pain killers. Today for example is Sunday so I’ve managed to spend the whole day in bed with the help of the painkillers.Then there’s the other me…I will find projects to do and be creative and positive and upbeat for a week or 2 then I fall back into hopelessness panic and no motivation to live my life.

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