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.
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.