If you know me, you know I suffer from occasional bouts of anxiety. Most of the time, they’re situational and caused by something outside of myself, that triggers it. Sometimes there’s no apparent reason and I don’t know if this is true, or only my perception of it, but they’re the worst. This morning I woke up around 6AM with that familiar feeling of dread. I got up, used the bathroom, got some fresh water and laid back down. About 6:45 it was getting a little worse, so I found a favorite meditation on Youtube, hit play and got back into bed. Around 8, I was crawling out of my skin and took something for it. As I was trying to get comfortable and waiting for the anxiety to dissipate I had this horribly guilty feeling and I knew that I was about to sleep the morning away. I got into a terrible state, beating myself up about it. Why was I so reluctant to take the morning off?
The anxiety started to dissipate and I did fall asleep. I had the silliest dreams (almost all medications intensify my dreams and they’re pretty vivid to begin with), and slept for four hours. When I woke, I felt so very much better, there’s a low level anxiety “hum”, still but it’s certainly bearable.
At this point, I’m looking at why I took two hours to decide to take the medication. If I had taken it right away, I wouldn’t have suffered for two hours and I would have been up and done with it two hours earlier.
If I’d had a headache, would I have deliberated for two hours about taking ibuprofen? If I had an asthma attack, would I delay using an inhaler? Heartburn, avoid taking Tums? That’s ridiculous. So why would I ever hesitate to take something that will relieve the debilitating anxiety that I had this morning. Well. That’s an interesting thing to explore and it could be a number of things, or more likely a combination of them.
- Stigma – anxiety is a mental issue – mental illness? Oh God, what if people find out? I’m supposed to be super together!
- The medication will alter my consciousness! How am I supposed to get anything done today, if I’m altered?
- I don’t have time to sleep for four hours! (Granted, not everyone needs to sleep, but even with a small dosage, I get wiped out)
- I need to be stronger than this! I’m superwoman, right? How could I let this win?
You know what? It’s all bullshit.
Take the Morning Off
That’s just what I did. Now, I know I was very lucky in that there was nothing pressing that needed to get done and not everyone has that luxury, but maybe you have a friend you could trade off with. If you think you don’t have any friends who suffer from anxiety, I’m willing to bet that you’re wrong. Open up to someone, even if you tread lightly, I guarantee you have one (or more) people in your life who struggle with anxiety and/or depression. Let people help. Ask for help, be willing to offer help to them as well. We’re all in this together.
No, I didn’t get anything accomplished this morning, but I’m feeling much better and I’ve got the rest of the day to seize. Sometimes, it’s just makes more sense to let things go just a little bit, give yourself the time to nurture yourself back to a place where you can feel comfortable. Every once in a while just take the morning off.
Above I mention my favorite meditations and I thought I’d share them with you. These are two Youtube channels that offer “talk down” as well as binaural meditations. I love them both!
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Photo: Emily Burnett