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

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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

Originally published: June 7, 2018
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