“16 ‘Anxiety Thoughts’ People Have When They First Wake Up” was originally published on The Mighty.
Overthinking and intrusive thoughts often come with the territory when you live with anxiety. And while many people learn to live with and manage “anxiety thoughts” on a daily basis, it can be especially difficult to wake up and get accosted by them, sometimes before you even get out of bed.
Maybe you open your eyes in the morning and immediately think to yourself, “Am I going to get fired from my job today?” Maybe you wake up worried, going through all your loved ones in your mind, picturing a sudden and tragic death for each. Or maybe you wake up and trade the peace of sleep for a flood of intrusive thoughts you can’t find your way out of.
These kind of thoughts can be exhausting, but we want you to know you’re not alone if you experience them. We reached out to members of our Mighty community to share one “anxiety thought” they have first thing in the morning.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. “I wake up anxiously listing all of the things I have to get done. I then begin to procrastinate almost immediately after feeling nauseous and closing my eyes, trying not to think of everything at once. I worry about money, my family, my goals and suddenly feel my energy dwindling. My anxiety drains me even before I get out of bed in the morning.” — Nina R.
2. “’OMG, I need to call ___ today!’ Phone anxiety is real, and makes rescheduling things hell. I always try to make appointments for this reason, but my daughter had a baby on the day of my last psych appointment and it’s been a week of me still struggling to make that call even though I know it’s important. That being my first thought of the day almost guarantees I’ll avoid it all day despite my best efforts.” — Selena W.
3. “An anxious thought I tend to have first thing in the morning is, ‘Do I have to go out anywhere today or socialize with others?’ The thought of having to go to a doctor’s appointment, go to the pharmacy or just go to the gas station makes me very anxious in the morning because that means I have to get out of bed, get showered, dressed to the point where I look nothing less than decent and force a fake smile and happy-go-lucky attitude for the world. Being in public and having people pay attention to me or try to socialize makes me so nervous I get sick to my stomach.” — Samantha W.
4. “‘I wonder how many things will go wrong today?’ This thought pops into my head almost every single morning when I wake up. Sometimes it’s even hard to start my day with the thought lingering there. But once I get my day started, I do other things to distract me from keeping the thought in my mind of everything that could go wrong. The biggest thing I do is try and think of things to look forward to. It could be something as small as going out to eat with my fiancé when he gets home, or watching a movie together. But it takes my mind off of the negative thoughts and gives me something positive to look forward to.” — Haylee G.
5. “Will everyone in my family be alive? My anxiety sometimes screams, ‘Everyone you love is gonna die at any minute.’ I even imagine how they are gonna die… Awful.” — Susana J.
6. “My first anxious thought is about something I may have forgotten to do at work and wondering if I’m gonna get yelled at or fired.” — Brandi M.
7. “First thing I do when I wake up (either during the night or for the day) is go and check on my son to make sure he is still breathing. He’s 15 months old and super healthy, but I’m just so scared one day I’ll not check and something will be wrong. Sometimes I even lie in bed for a bit longer, too scared to go into him just in case something has happened. Every morning is a struggle until he is awake and with me. At least I’m not setting alarms every 15 mins like I did before I got admitted to hospital when he was 10 weeks old.” — Jaimee L.
8. “Most of the time it’s, ‘Did I turn on my alarm clock? I’m not hearing it go off, yeah, I’m sure I turned it on last night. Wait, what if I fall back asleep and miss work? What if I didn’t turn it on and I’m already late for work?’ Then I’m so anxious I’m pretty much up for the day.” — Carolyn A.
9. “One of the first thoughts I have in the morning is, ‘Oh, no, I didn’t get everything on yesterday’s to-do list done. Now today’s is longer.’ I become overwhelmed and panic sets in quickly. Then I decide whether I should even get out of bed. I often start each new day with my perceived failures of the day before. That guilt just makes the anxiety worse. It’s an exhausting cycle. Each day starts with an irrational thought, and it takes a good amount of positive self-talk to challenge it and move through the day.” — Dorothy R.
10. “‘Oh God, this is it. This is a heart attack.’ I have POTS (along with several other issues). I’m fine while I’m lying down in the morning, but the second I sit up I get a rush of chest pain and nausea. I text my husband to bring me coffee when in reality, I just need him to reassure me that I’m not dying.” — Shayla F.
11. “‘Something bad is going to happen.’ I have such a hard time dealing with the fact that I don’t know what is going to happen. Uncertainty is my enemy. Not knowing is the beauty of life. But not for me. It creates such a hold on me. My worst fear is being all alone in the world. Not in the physical sense. But to have so many around but have no one on your side. To be rejected and ostracized. To feel like everyone looks at you like you are a disgusting filthy creature. My mind creates this situation often to where I feel it is coming true. I end up feeling alone and the worst terror in the world. It is the scariest feeling and mindset ever. When I come out of it, I feel as though somehow I escaped that world, but it is always waiting to suck me back in! So it leaves me on edge feeling as though it’s waiting behind every corner. If I don’t get out of bed, it can’t get me…” — Krissy M.
12. “‘Oh God. Another day to get through.’ And then panic realizing I have work later knowing I have all day to feel anxious and knowing I have to at some point start preparing to psych myself up to leave the house.” — Claire B.
13. “‘What intrusive thought will get me today?’ I suffer from horrible intrusive thoughts and usually there’s one that will really get me. So when I wake up, it’s always that panic.” — Alyssa D.
14. “My first thought in the morning is of my wonderful husband and usually is along the lines of, ‘Am I good enough for the man lying next to me?’” — Jami M.
15. “‘What if my car’s gone? Then we can’t go to work. No work means no money. No money is no rent and we’ll be homeless again.’” — Tanya C.
16. “‘OMG what if I’m late?’ Even when I don’t have commitments right away after getting up I’m always afraid of being late.” — Amanda
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