Waking up with anxiety can be a very unnerving experience. Do you wake up with anxiety? Is it just a little bit of anxiety or is it severe? Are you left wondering what it is, why it’s there and what you can do about it? I have personally experienced this issue in the past, but it no longer troubles me. In this article I’m sharing with you everything I know about it.
My personal experience of Waking up with Anxiety
For about 10 years through my twenties and early thirties, I would wake up each morning with this horrible fear in the pit of my stomach. There were other symptoms too, such as a heightened sense of alertness and paranoia, and some shaking. This collection of symptoms is what I’m referring to by anxiety.
I didn’t understand what the reason was for the fear – it seemed like there was no reason. All I knew is that I felt really afraid that something very bad was going to happen to me.
I wondered what I could do to make it go away. I was convinced there was something wrong with me. In hindsight, that’s not really the case – just because you’re feeling fear doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. But I think it is true to say that the fear being there is a sign that there’s something about yourself you’re going to need to face up too.
The Source of my Anxiety
I had my first panic attack when I was 21 years old, just starting my fourth year of university. Since I’d started university, I’d felt that I didn’t really fit in. Even though I’d made a few good friends, I didn’t really have any friendships that I now know to be true, deep friendships, where there’s a real caring for one another. A friendship where both people genuinely care about the well-being of one another, and put that above all else.
This is the time in my life when I first started waking up with anxiety. At the time I didn’t understand nearly as well as I do now. I been through so many experiences now that I can see it in a much clearer light. Life’s a bit like that. The trick is to be humble and listen to advice from people who have already been there, as long as you trust them and they’re genuine. The important thing is that you listen to people who speak from their own experience.
At the time I thought the reason I felt anxiety was that there was something wrong with me. The field of self-help and psychology often backs this up (please note I’m no expert in these fields). These fields seem to me to sometimes reinforce the belief that there’s something wrong with us, and that something needs to be fixed.
It was only later in life, when I realised that the anxiety was there to tell me that something in my life wasn’t quite right, for me. Something about my life wasn’t right. I knew this, and so I was unhappy.
Moving beyond waking up with anxiety
When you’re young, people mainly want you to behave in a way that will make them feel comfortable. In fact, this also applies as you get older, but it’s most difficult when you’re young, and peer pressure is high. That’s not to say it’s not difficult when you’re older. For some people it can be just as difficult when they’re older.
To start to deal with the anxiety, I needed to start becoming honest about what was ok for me – what I was and was not happy with about my life. Until my mid-twenties, I was basically still acting out what I thought my parents and friends wanted from me for them to stay happy. I never asked what it was that I really wanted, and when I did, I often felt incredibly guilty.
Personally, I began to get drawn into spirituality. Note, I’m not talking about religion. If you’d like to know more about what I mean by spirituality, please read my article – Spirituality – What is it? It’s sufficient to say here that getting into spirituality allowed me to meet some friends that genuinely cared for my well-being. Friends that truly wanted me to be happy. These friends have no expectation of me, and would love and care for me no matter what decision I make. It’s far far different from religion, where you often have to subscribe to a set of beliefs to be accepted. There’s none of that in true spirituality, though if you do come across that my advice would be to stay well clear!
Once I’d met some friends that genuinely cared about me and wouldn’t judge me, I began sharing some of the things I was really unhappy about with them. I began sharing how bad I felt around certain people and how bad I felt about myself. For a couple of years, with two very close friends in particular, I poured my heart out. I talked about everything that made me feel bad and uncomfortable. In all that time, not once did my friends judge me – now those are true friends!
The end of waking up with anxiety
That really allowed me to get out of my system what I needed to, and gradually the anxiety disappeared. By talking with someone trusted about what was bothering me, the anxiety could dissipate, piece by piece. Since then I’ve been able to return the favour to other people who were in a similarly anxious place, by listening intently and not judging them – it’s a real pleasure to do so – I can see people transforming before my eyes as they bring out their fears into the light of another person’s consciousness – someone who will not judge them no matter what (murder, burglary, torture etc.)
That’s why I love spirituality, as it’s possible to meet people who have this level of all-inclusive love and presence, and are willing to offer that presence. To get started with spirituality, read my article – Spirituality – What is it?
This post is dedicated to my wonderful friends who helped me through that most difficult time. Good luck, and I hope to see you back on the site in the future!