Early Morning Anxiety and Dread

September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Good Morning All!

Early Morning Anxiety and DREAD.  How’s that for a title?!  Well hang in there…hopefully it gets better!

Sometimes I don’t like Sundays because they bring with them the knowledge that Monday is right around the corner.  Depending on what you have going on, Monday can be a welcome relief or an unwelcome dread!  I guess it just depends on what Monday brings.   For me, Monday brings with it reality.  Even if I manage to “check out” on the weekends and shelve those things I’d rather not deal with—Monday makes absolutely sure that they come back to the forefront.  If I had a dilemma on Friday then I can always tell myself that somehow over the weekend it will resolve itself.   Then here comes Monday and the problem is still there.  What now?

I hate the feeling of DREAD.  If you have ever had an unresolved issue hanging over your head, a  problem that you can’t figure out how to solve, a deadline looming in or a due date approaching with no resolution in sight—then you may know the feeling.

If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety or depression–then I’m sure you’ve come in contact with our old friend DREAD.

Dread is certainly the close synonym of many words:

Fear

Apprehension

Trepidation

Worry

Concern

Foreboding

Unease

Angst

 

And who wants to feel that way?  Try starting out the day under that heaviness!

It makes logical sense to feel dread over major decisions that have to be made or issues that seem out of your control.  Dread, however, can also come seemingly out of no where.  Many people experience it upon waking.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to bed just fine and woken up with the feeling of dread.  As if some looming monster is coming for me.  I’ll lay there with this sensation that something awful is going to happen.  Maybe it’s the feeling that I didn’t do something I should have done.  Perhaps it’s just an overwhelming feeling that something horrible is going to happen.  I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up to immediate fearful thoughts playing through my mind but many times it’s not any one particular thing.  Very often it is just the sensation of fear, anxiety and dread accompanied with no actual specific fear.  And that is the worst part.  When you don’t even know WHY you feel that way.  You rack your brain trying to figure out what it is.

Did I forget to do something?

Is something supposed to be happening today? Tomorrow?  Something I’ve forgotten?

I might try to run through all the possible things that I could worry about.  Was it this?  Is it that? And let me tell you.  THAT doesn’t always make it better.  In the midst of trying to discover what it is that I feel worried about—I remind myself of all the other 10,000 things I should ALSO be worrying about!

I try to identify this unnamed disaster but I’m still left in the dark.  I can sense it coming for me but I don’t know from what direction it will come.  I feel it looming and yet the day or hour of this impending doom is unknown.  It’s like a scary movie where you know the character is going to get killed. You just don’t know when.  But the suspense is there and when you least expect it….

WHAM!!!!

The crowd screams in the theatre.  They jump out of their seats.  But the worst part is BEFORE the “WHAM!”.  It’s the suspenseful waiting period.  Where you finally just say, “I can’t take it anymore!! Just do it already!!”

Now imagine that being your life.  Imagine waking up feeling like that.  Only it’s not a movie.  There is no remote control.  And you can’t fast forward through the suspense.  Instead you wait.  And you wonder what the source of all this worry and anxiety might be?  Because clearly it’s there.  It’s real.  You just don’t know exactly why.   The dark shadow will not ease your misery by explaining itself.  It only sits by your bedside waiting for you to wake up so it can squeeze any joy out of your day.

Feelings of dread or early morning anxiety are actually pretty common.  And if you are someone who is already prone to depression or anxiety then it is even more likely you may experience this at times.  It is really a stumbling block for many who are seeking self improvement.  If you had a good day and went to bed feeling accomplished, you may find yourself utterly confused at this feeling now of doom and gloom.  We all need to feel some hope, you know? Especially in the morning! I mean GEEZ….we’ve got the whole entire day to get through still.  The last thing we need is to feel completely defeated and riddled with fear and dread before we’ve even removed our head from the pillow!

And yet there we are.  Feeling that way again!

I’ve learned that this feeling can come over you for a number of reasons.

#1—Legitimate Issues

Sometimes you literally do have overwhelming issues going on that result in legitimate anxiety.  Maybe you are sick.  Maybe you have financial worries.  Maybe your children are having problems.  Whatever it is, you might be feeling anxiety for logical reasons.  And when you wake up those issues are brought back to your mind.  This has been the case for me several times in my life.  When my husband moved out and I found myself going through a divorce—the mornings were the worst.   I would wake up and it was as if my mind had completely forgotten that he was gone.  It ws only after I turned my head to see the empty space next to me that I remembered once again he was gone.  Suddenly this overwhelming feel of dread and anxiety would come over me as I suddenly remembered all over again my current circumstances.  This same situation happened all over again when my mother died.  It was like reliving the same nightmare over again every 24 hours. I would spend all day trying to adjust and cope to the realization that she was gone.  By evening, it had sunk in as reality.  Then I’d wake up in the morning and it was as if my mind had been erased.  I’d wake up in the morning feeling groggy but as soon as I started to become more alert—there it was again.  My mom is gone!  And once again this feeling of total dread would hit me like a ton of bricks.   These are all legitimate and logical reasons to feel early morning anxiety.

#2—Anxiety Disorder/Depression

Some people suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or depression.   Very often they will feel anxiety, fear and dread for no apparent reason.  Early morning anxiety will come for them with often no substantiated reason to back it up.  It’s just there.  I have often experienced this in my life.  Even when everything was fine.  It will make you question yourself.  It will cause you to have doubt even when things are going your way!

#3—The Mental Fatigue of Obesity and Trying to Lose Weight

If you are someone who struggles with extreme obesity, you will be intimately acquainted with the mental fatigue that this brings.  I cannot tell you how many days I woke up feeling utterly defeated even before the day begin.  First of all,  a good night’s sleep is never a reality.  At 417 pounds, I could barely get any sleep at all.  I was ALWAYS uncomfortable.  Just sitting or laying down was uncomfortable.  Other people can curl up in a blanket and get rest.  But not me.  Just getting situated in the bed was a job.  I had to prop myself up from all angles.  That was when I was still able to sleep in the bed.  Eventually I would suffocate at night under my weight so laying down was no longer an option.  The recliner was by far an answered prayer.  It still, however, was never a good night’s sleep at that weight.  I had to sleep sitting almost completely straight up.  Still I would wake in the night choking many times.  In addition to this, being very obese is physically demanding on your body.  I often would be sitting completely still and my heart would feel as if it was beating out of my chest.  I am quite sure I spent at least a decade not really getting a good night’s sleep.   It was only after losing significant weight that I finally started sleeping through the night.  In addition to those factors, there is the stress of chronic dieting.  Someone who is desperate to lose weight knows that every morning brings another “start line” where once again you have to try to stick to the “rules”.   If you’ve ever had to get on stage to give a speech or been in a competition then you are keenly aware of the anxiety you feel beforehand.  You are hoping you can “perform” well.  That you won’t fail.  That is what the chronic dieter must face every single day of their life.  Will I be able to perform today?? Will I achieve my goals? Or will I once again fail miserably before 9 am?  Tell me that isn’t cause for anxiety before you even leave the bed.

 

Whatever your reasons may be for feeling anxious in the morning–there are ways to handle it.   Here are some things that have helped me out tremendously when it comes to this issue:

#1—GET UP ANYWAY

The worst thing to do when you feel anxious in the morning is stay in bed.  Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t made this error a million times.  I still often do make that mistake.  But the worst thing to do when you feel this way is to sink into it.  You may feel like the right thing to do is analyze the situation.  To run through all the possible things that could be making you feel this way.  (And you are HALF right).  A helpful strategy may be to try and find the source of your anxiety but doing it while laying in that bed is not the way.   So get up right away.  Don’t even give yourself time to think about it.  If you can, go for a walk.  Or do some form of exercise.   I can tell you that I was at my most successful when I had my walking shoes and clothes laying right by the bed the night before.  I had my phone charged and my earbuds right next to them.  I was up and out the door regardless of how I felt.  This was not easy especially in the beginning because just getting out of the bed was in and of itself a physical chore.  Try propping yourself up at 417 pounds when your arms and legs have been immobile all night.  Everything is swollen.  And you have little strength in your arms to get the job done. Just getting into the “sitting up” position can be a workout.  But whatever stage you are at—start moving!!  It is really one of the best things you can do.  Trust me—all the problems and fears you feel  you have to mull over from that pillow are more than capable of being mulled over  as you are walking.  Plus at least you will know you accomplished something positive. Maybe you still have no idea why you are feeling anxious but at least you did something constructive in the meantime.

 

#2—HAND IT OVER

I don’t always know what in the world is going on inside my head but I trust that God has it under control.  Maybe I feel unusually anxious but I don’t know why—HE DOES.  I mean seriously, He does!  God is after all omniscient and all-knowing right? He knows the source of my anxiety and fears even if I cannot figure out what they are.  Remember—early morning anxiety can often be for no reason.  Sometimes it has a cause like I said before (legitimate life issues) but sometimes it doesn’t.  It is frustrating when I feel anxious but don’t know why.   Instead of dreading that something horrible is going to happen because I can’t remember something—I just give it to God.  I ask Him to bring to my remembrance whatever it is I need to recall.  And then I move on with my day.  If there really is something dreadful about to happen if I don’t do XYZ  then I trust He will bring it to my mind.  If not—oh well.  I tried! Many times though my anxiety is just generalized.  It has no specific source.  Maybe it’s just life in general. Maybe it’s mental fatigue.  Maybe it’s just me being anxious for no reason.  But whatever it is, I know that God is the source of comfort and peace.  So instead of focusing on the way I feel I need to focus on Him.  He has promised that we will not be consumed by these things.  That in the midst of trouble, He is compassionate!

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness. 

Lamentations 3:22-23

I have a Bible Promise book and trust me that thing is WORN OUT!  I carry it in my purse and break it out when needed.  I like it because it is divided into topics.  What to do when you feel depressed, confused, worried etc.  The “worried” section is most used in mine!

Here are a few that remind me to not worry so much about my worrying!  I accept that the feeling is there.  I mean let’s face it.  IT IS THERE!  No need to pretend it’s not.  But I will not let it paralyze me.  I will accept it and then I will remember this:

Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you;my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; 

 Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

I also love music.  There are some songs that really speak to me at different times.  This song is a great one when you feel confused.  When you wonder what path you should take.  Sometimes we just don’t know what we should do.  This song speaks to that.  Even if we are unsure, God knows. He has a plan for us and I believe that the plans comes with a future and a hope!!  (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

 

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!!!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

C September 22, 2014 at 5:38 am

“…you wonder what the source of all this worry and anxiety might be? Because clearly it’s there. It’s real.”

Have you run across this book? Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James Wilson…your library almost certainly has a copy or would buy one.

Aldosterone, a critical hormone that regulates electrolyte balance, is at its lowest point in the morning. This is one reason many anxiety and depression disorders are worse – literally, physically worse – in the morning.

Obviously, this isn’t the *only* reason things can be worse in the morning. But I’ve had a number of friends who, after reading this book, began to see changes. They took Dr. Wilson’s advice, tried it out to see what worked – and got relief.

Specifically, some who had major, on-going sugar cravings found those disappearing when they had enough salt. I know…salt is supposedly so bad. But I found out years ago – when I get enough salt – I completely stop craving sugar. AND my blood pressure didn’t rise. It became normal for the first time…which Dr. Wilson said would happen. Needless to say, it was a whole lot easier losing weight after the sugar cravings disappeared.

Also, several friends with anxiety and depression found those disappeared, too, along with their sugar cravings.

You’ve probably already looked into all of this?

Reply

C September 22, 2014 at 5:46 am

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/aldosterone/

One more link about the aldosterone, since some people prefer this site to Dr. Wilson’s book.

Good night, Holly!

Reply

Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 27, 2014 at 1:09 am

Thank you!! I’ll check it out!!

Reply

Kristi September 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Woohoo! You did it! A whole week of blogging without one miss. Great job. I love reading what u have to say. Keep up the good work.

Reply

jim September 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

Regards, Laura Heap

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