Waking Up Scared

When I was little, I used to hate taking naps. I had this really big problem with lying still when it was light outside. I would fight my parents on it until I finally gave in and spent thirty minutes “lying down” tracing the patterns of texture on the wall. I would anxiously await the footsteps coming towards my room that signaled I had reached my destination: I could “wake up” and greet my toys and friends!

When I was a teen, I used to take naps after I got home from a sleepover or on a Sunday when my parents were working around the house. I refused to lay down after three o’clock because I hated the feeling of waking up after five pm feeling like I had missed the whole day. I would wake up overwhelmed and kind of in shock, thinking I had accidentally slept through the night, I was late for something, or I had missed my opportunity to just relax and hang around with friends on my day off.

Now that I’m an adult [LOL], I find naps to be scarce and rather rare. They come when I can finally shut my brain off because I’m THAT exhausted. I like waking up early{ish} on the weekends so I can spend time with family and drinking coffee as the day starts. I like knowing I have time that is un-programmed and free.

Except most days when I wake up, I feel anxious. I feel this impending feeling that I’ve missed something, I’m behind, or I’m about to experience stress. I look forward to the mornings when it’s evening time, but then I wake up and feel this overwhelming rush of worry. Why? Why do I wake up scared? Why do I wake up early and already feel the day has gotten away from me?

Perhaps it’s anxiety about a to-do list or the after-effects of a bad dream. Maybe I’m waking up at a weird time of my sleep cycle. Or maybe I’m just in a rut. I’m experiencing a part of a season of life that is colored with happy moments, growing experiences, and doubt. I’m living an 80/20 lifestyle where I move through the day acting as if everything is fine, but 20% of my brain is on fire, telling me all of the things I can’t do, all of the things people are thinking of me.

I’d like to put it out there that I’m very self-aware about my anxiety and depression. I have always been very in-tune with the fact that I’m an empath, depression and anxiety run in my family, that this doesn’t define me, yada yada yada. I know this is not a forever thing–this impending fear. I know that there will come a time where I’ve worked hard enough on myself, gone to enough therapy, and drank enough coffee that I can operate on a 95/5 schedule. But what about now? What do I do when I am in that in-between stage where I can see the ways I should modify my daily rituals, the big choices I’m nervous about making, etc.?

One of my good friends sent me a quote about crying this morning. It notes that tears can come from any strong emotion that moves you. Happiness can lead to tears. Sadness can lead to tears. Shock can lead to tears. So how do these other symptoms of emotion move us? How does fear move us?

Fear moves us away from the things we naturally know aren’t good for us. Fear moves us towards growth. Fear moves us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. It’s big and heavy and full of wind that knocks you off your feet. But it moves you. You’re not stuck.

So eventually I’ll stop waking up in a panic, afraid I’ve missed half of the day. I’ll find daily routines that honor the part of me that is in need of self-development. I’ll move towards the right answers at the right time. Because I’m moving. I’m moving with fear. We may be fearful and full of anxiety, but we’re moving. We’re taking steps. That’s all you can do when you feel stuck. Keep taking steps.

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