the coffee’s kinda cold n old today

The above picture is provided courtesy of Mighty Mouse, who fricken loves his selfies.

Okay, I’m lyin. I took the picture of the cat. Unfortunately, we just don’t live in a world where we have cats capable of operating cameras, which I really don’t think is a cat problem. I think it’s a camera problem. Why the prejudice against photographer cats? There ARE NO photographer cats, you say? Exactly. It’s too hard for them to get into the industry with their tiny little paws. For shame.

…for shame.

But it’s okay. There’s still hope for internal calm because we’re not talking about photography today (or probably any day, unless you want to start that conversation), and we’re not really talking about cats either. We’re talking about something I often find very unpleasant.

Waking the hell up.

please oh no no no don’t make me wake the hell up

Yeah, waking up’s a beezy for a lot of people that don’t consider themselves morning people, but there’s more to it than the simple urge to stay in bed till the sun’s higher in the sky.

Are you one of those people that experience anxiety when you wake up?

A lot of the time, that’s me, and I know I’m not alone in this. There are a lot of different factors that feed into my morning anxiety, but whatever the reasons behind it, one thing is consistent: morning anxiety makes it righteously hard to wake up, because when the alarm goes off and you know that your body’s going to hit you with an extra dose of irrational stress, you don’t want to wake up.

My fiancé and I have totally different methods for waking up as a result of the unique causes of our morning anxiety. His anxiety only pops up if he has to wake up early, and an alarm set for him exacerbates that to unbearable levels. Luckily for him, he works evening shifts and this works great for him. His body is able to naturally wake up around the time he’s got to be up if he does happen to have an early obligation. It still grates on his soul to be up before 10am, but it’s not devastating for a once in a while thing.

I, on the other hand, have a different bone to pick with mornings.

They’re like an exclusive club, and I want in. I would love to consider myself a morning person. My job requires me to work a variety of shifts, so in the course of a week I find myself waking up at 4am, 8am, and 9-10am. That’s a lot of waking up (generally once per day, at least), and a lot of alarms. I’m what you would call a heavy sleeper, and always have been. I set…

…for the love of gosh, don’t judge me…

…four to five alarms every morning. It’s indefensible, obviously, but I totally sleep through the first three. And I usually snooze them.

Big reveal: for hours.

I wasn’t always this way. When I was twenty I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The doc I saw put me on Seroquel, which is a hell of a drug. Main side effect? Sedation. Little did I know at the time that sedation would be the biggest side effect I struggle with. It’s my least favorite out of the side effects I’ve experienced from medications, and I’m not sure, but that might have roots in taking Seroquel. The thing about that particular prescribed medication is that it knocks everybody who takes it the hell out.

Knowing that I was going to have to wake up after at least ten hours of sleep and not be able to stop slurring and weaving for roughly four hours after wakng up began a pattern of anxiety I still haven’t shaken off.

So, um, yeah. I don’t have very tolerant feelings to being drowsy anymore.

mighty mouse experimenting w/ seroquel. it’s a hell of a drug.

Before Seroquel and during my years of taking it (okay, and even now sometimes), I struggled with depression.

Here’s what waking up to a hideous depression feels like–there’s that moment when you realize you’re awake, and suddenly a weight is dropped onto your chest and tears are bursting out of your eyes because you know you’re being thrown back into the ring, and you don’t have the fight in you to defend yourself against any of the negative thoughts and feelings seeping into you like water into lungs. Waking up to an ongoing, thick depression is like drowning out of water.

It got to the point that even when I wasn’t depressed, the learned response to waking up was a hot mess of anxiety revolving around waking up my body in a healthy manner, and waking up my brain in a way that made me feel comfortable facing the day and all the trials and tribulations it might hold for me.

The way I handle my morning anxiety depends on the morning, and how I build my morning routine accordingly. There are days when I experience a lot of empty rage in response to my anxiety in the morning, and that really depends on how I’m woken up. There are lots of little things that can upset my tender sensibilities early in the day, the main one being a lack of creamer. God help the soul that drinks the last of the (almond) milk and doesn’t leave me enough to transform my bitter black coffee into a delicious creamy beverage.

The rage I experience in this situation is definitely going to be considered silly by some. But I maintain that just because an emotion isn’t warranted by an external situation doesn’t mean that it’s silly.

something i just consumed. you’re welcome for sharing

One of the ways I manage my morning anxiety, and getting myself to the point where I can even think about following a morning routine, is working on managing my just-woke-up feelings. Part of that is allowing myself to feel the things I’m feeling. Y’know. Sitting with the feeling. Breathing through it. Part of managing my emotional state involves asking myself questions about my feelings. The big one–is it rational? In other words, is it an appropriate response to the situation I’m dealing with, or is it a feeling that’s blown out of proportion? Just because a feeling’s valid to me and the way I perceive myself and my emotional context does NOT mean that it’s an appropriate response to something.

Yeah, sometimes bae forgets to replace the last of the milk. Late night hot sauce benders lead to chugging my fav bland beverage, and that leads to my morning rage inducing crisis.

What do I do? I deep breathe and problem solve. When I lived miles away from any milk source (like a convenience or grocery store, not…other things…) that meant finding coping mechanisms to calm myself down.

There’s no one solution to fixing anxiety. It’s monster with a lot of features (claws, bulging eyes, razor sharp, gnawing teeth, etc, etc.), and there are a lot of pieces to making it subside, at least to a functional level. I’ve talked to a lot of people about anxiety in general and I’ve heard of a lot of ways to cope with it. This should go without saying, but everything I laid out in this post is very personal, and doesn’t extend to all people with morning anxiety. E’erybody’s different, and that’s actually helpful. It opens up different perspectives and ways to deal with anxiety.

The goal is to be healthy–not to subscribe to an idealized form of what health should be.

Published by Damaged Chemistry

The writer of this blog lives in Seattle with her fiancé and small dog, where she enjoys swearing, quitting smoking, and pretending to be altogether rather more tough than I would say she is.

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