What It's Really Like to Fall Asleep When You Live With Anxiety

Everyone thinks of anxiety as this boogie monster that is out to get you every second the sun is up. It doesn’t matter if you are in an elevator, on a bus, in a class or completely relaxed with a group of friends.

But what happens when the sun goes down and anxiety doesn’t give it a rest?

For me there are always a few surefire signs. First, I become extremely paranoid about the “what ifs.” Windows must be closed, doors double checked and the alarm on. I’ve woken up more times than I can count in the middle of the night with a siren in one hand and my phone in the other. Of course I sleep with a freaking siren, because that will protect me from the burglars I have decided are coming to get me. This is only the first inklings that the night ahead will be very long and that I will no doubt end up with a wet pillow and sore eyes.

Next comes the panic of the unknown. Did I put my keys on the table? Did I do my homework? Are we sure those darn windows are all closed? Crap… I’ve been at this for over an hour.

After I’m thoroughly stressed out about my keys, my homework, those shorts I thought I lost and anything else my mind manages to conjure up, I turn to Pinterest.

I scour the app for quotes that describe exactly how I am feeling and I save them to my private board, “Kicking my own butt.” It only ever makes me feel worse, because now I am sad too.

Finally comes the weird attempts to induce sleep. Remaking my bed for maximum comfort, tidying up and if I have the energy, going to grab a cup of milk.

Now, if it’s a good night, I will toss and turn for a few minutes, siren in hand, and drift off to sleep before being woken up at 6:30 a.m. If it’s a bad night, it would be an hour longer.

Every night I get to sleep after quite the ordeal. I wake up the next morning and go through the next day realizing I had already done the things I worried about the night before. Then I come home after a long day and the process begins again. Over and over. Every night.

Getty Images photo via Archv

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