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14 'Habits' of People With 'Morning Anxiety'

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If you live with an anxiety disorder, you might know what it’s like to experience “morning anxiety.” This basically just means you feel dread or other symptoms of anxiety right when you wake up.

If you’ve ever felt “morning anxiety,” you’ll know how it can disrupt your morning routine and may even impact your entire day.

Anxiety manifests in many different ways, and people don’t always realize what we are doing is because of anxiety. We wanted to know what “habits” people in our Mighty community have because of “morning anxiety,” so we asked them to share things people don’t realize they are doing because they are anxious in the morning.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. Staying Up Late or Not Sleeping At All

“Stay up all night or until the early hours as I’m so anxious about the morning, I won’t sleep and cause myself more anxiety because I’m overtired! If I do go to bed at all, I’m often late and really rushed in the morning as facing the day feels quite terrifying, so I’ll snooze the alarm over and over.” — Kim A.

“Not sleeping, waking up waaay too early and not getting back to sleep, waking up every other hour in the same night in a panic thinking you’ve slept in and you’ll be late.” — Jess L.

2. Waking Up “Way Too Early”

“I wake up more than an hour before I leave. Just to get my thoughts going that I have to get to work. I get to work a half hour early only to talk myself into walking in the door. At my desk I have a small fan. We all sit in a pretty open area. So when the anxiety tears come I put on that fan and face the computer even if I don’t have anything to do at that moment. I wait for the fan to dry my tears. I will instant message one of my co-workers who knows my issues. Even though she sits less than 10 feet away. Just casual talk but I have to do something or else I get worse.” — Cassandra M.

3. Running Late

“I am always late for work, not because I don’t like my job, because I have to convince myself that today is worth living. Some days it only takes me a few minutes to keep my depression at bay but what takes the longest is fighting the overwhelming anxiety that I wake up to every morning… It’s easier to hit snooze and fall back into sleep than let my mind race about the ways I’m going to screw up or make people hate me today.” — Faith L.

“Running late. Anxiety makes it hard for me to get out of bed sometimes. I wake up worried and curl up to try to relax and get my mind to settle down.” — Alicia D.

4. Skipping a Morning Shower

“I have a really hard time getting motivated to shower. I get up plenty early enough but just taking a shower every morning just seems like an impossible task for me.” — Shelly P.

5. Frequently Using the Bathroom

“Having to go to the bathroom before I leave for school and when I get to school because my anxiety causes me to pee frequently. Also, I stay up late thinking about all of the possible types of day I will have (good, bad, an OK day, etc.), and it will cause me to only have an hour of sleep sometimes.” — Libertad A.

6. Setting Multiple Alarms

“I set 10 alarms between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. because my anxiety tells me if I don’t do that, I will wake up late and the rest of my day will be ruined. I always make sure I have an extra hour to calm myself down, go through my ‘anxiety check-list’ (checking and double-checking that I have what I need for work/the day) and mentally prepare to leave the house before I need to go.” — Malia B.

7. Being “Snappy” With Others

“I’m really snappy in the morning if my anxiety is acting up. It often gets mistaken for attitude, and tends to set the tone for the entire day, because people would rather act like I’m a mean person.” — Veronica B.

“I will spend almost my entire two hours before leaving for work trying to convince myself to even get dressed. I’m so very angry — agitated as well. Mix that with the depression I have, and it’s a recipe for disaster. I have to do things carefully as even the smallest issue will set my entire day off.” — Sheldon N.

8. Crying

“Cry in the shower so no one sees me. Cry on the way to work in the car. Pull it together long enough to get inside, break down one more time before being exhausted and just single tears run down my face periodically during the day.” — Margie E.H.

9. Throwing Up

“[I get] very little sleep because I can’t shut my mind off. In the morning, when I do get up, I’ll throw up from the dread I feel having to face the day ahead.” – Lori M.

10. Getting Ready as Fast as Possible

“Trying to get ready for work and get out of the house as fast as possible. I am not one for mornings to begin with and my mind starts reeling before I even get out of bed. The day ahead, the to-do list, the things I should do but won’t are all I can think about. Get me to work so I can try to take on the day.” – Leslie T.

“I try to plan my morning out where I don’t have a minute to sit around and be still. It gives my mind too much time to ponder. I hate getting ready with a couple minutes to spare. I have no idea what to do with myself and start to worry if I forgot something and the train starts rolling. So I try to be ready as soon as I need to be out the door. This also helps me keep momentum for the day.” — Katelyn T.

11. Having Stomachaches

“My stomach hurts so badly, I spend a lot of the time in the bathroom. My heart races and I can’t breathe.” — Jacqueline N.

12. Struggling to Eat

“I don’t eat. My nerves are so bad in the morning that if I eat too soon after waking up, I get sick to my stomach. I set my first alarm for two hours before I’m due at work so I can try to calm down before starting my day.” — Jennifer B.

13. Staying in Bed

“Lying in bed for way longer than I should. I wish I could be a normal person who pops up and gets their day going, but I ‘hide’ from the day as long as physically possible.” — Cay B.

14. Being Quieter Than Usual

“Being extra quiet as my day is starting. It’s usually just my brain thinking about all of the things I have to do that day and ‘settling in.’” – Victoria L.

Mornings can be difficult for anyone, and can be even more difficult if you have anxiety. If you experience “morning anxiety,” you are not alone.

If you need some support from people who really “get it,” The Mighty community is here for you. To give and get support today, post a Thought or Question on The Mighty with the hashtag #CheckInWithMe.

Can you relate?

Originally published: May 16, 2019
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