In The Morning, Baby

During this lockdown, just about every morning has been a real battle for me. I have had to come face to face with several internal problems as a result of this break from my usual hectic routine. For the last three years or so I’ve battled anxiety, but more recently that anxiety has taken over my morning routine. Nothing in particular triggers it, I just wake up with it.

Now, this is easy to avoid when you have something like work or school to force you to get up and get out. So in the past, I have not been under much pressure to fix the source of the problem and instead chose to ignore the symptom. With not much to do and nowhere to go, quarantine has revealed to me a completely new tactic for dealing with my anxiety: immediately going back to sleep. Doing this I can quickly and effectively avoid the anxiety, but it comes at a price.

Unfortunately, I can only choose this tactic so many times before I’ve wasted half my day. Then I get more anxious about wasting my time and start to worry about getting all my daily tasks done.

Climbing out of bed in the morning is theoretically a lot easier than climbing up the side of a cliff. If I can do that, why can’t I just get up rather than perpetuating the problem?

There are key moments every day where we have the opportunity to decide whether to let situations fuel us to do better or make us want to quit. For me it’s the morning, for you it’s some other time. Either way, we all share the same dilemma. Will we choose to roll back over? Or charge ahead? So, how do we prepare ourselves to make the right decision?

Here’s a quote from a blog I’ve written in the past discussing a similar situation: 

“how do we strengthen ourselves to make those decisions? One of the most important things you can do is to remember that YOU are in control of your own success and happiness.”

This quote is interesting to me for a variety of reasons. First off, it is especially problematic during a time like this. So many of us feel right now that we are completely out of control in terms of whatever plans we had for our lives. This situation unexpectedly took away the jobs and goals of so many. Leaving many, including me, wondering if we were ever in control at all. And secondly, that I conflated success with happiness. That is a very ‘me’ thing to do.

The truth is, we were never in control of our lives. However, I think I was trying to say that we are always in control of our perspective. If we are going to make the hard decisions we need to make to overcome our internal challenges, we need to equip ourselves with a positive outlook.

A rock begs no one to climb it. There are (for most of us) no medals waiting at the finish. And unless you’re on Everest, there’s always a higher cliff somewhere else. Oftentimes, you can simply walk around it, and nobody is making you rise to the occasion. Climbing it would be dangerous, with little to no physical benefit. Any potential exercise could easily be found in a safe, indoor gym. It’s just a rock.

Still, we see that rock differently. We see it as a challenge. As competition with nature. An exciting adventure. Without perspective, rock climbing as a sport would not exist.

In order to make decisions to approach and contend with our problems, we need to have a positive outlook on our current situation. That’s a long process, and I am currently working on my own. For now, I hope you confront the cliffs and boulders in your life and see them as an opportunity to ‘metaphorically’ rise above.

Thanks, as always, for reading. How are you trying to stay positive during this situation? I always love to hear your advice.

Casen
Casen (Co-writer)

27 Replies to “In The Morning, Baby”

  1. I can relate. My anxiety a few months back left me fearing the night…I couldn’t sleep. I dreaded the nights.
    I’m now venturing into new projects.. I’m a artist and am finding new paths to follow, trying to adopt practices I’ve not had before. It helps. I struggle as you do to create an accurate perspective. Achieving that can change how everything is perceived.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is always so much easier said than done. But it helps to know there are also others out there who deal with similar issues. I hope you continue to find new paths and I wish you luck with them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have anxiety and depression too. Everyday going out is a little daunting because I don’t want to face what gives me anxiety however I know I have to do it to get better. Preservering is the word. Thats awesome you rock climb i consider that a metaphor (or analogy?) For you to overcome your anxiety

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have struggled with anxiety too, a couple of times in this situation. I woke up at 3 am today with it. How do I cope with it? Well, I’ve been known (by my dogs!) to scream which is somewhat helpful. Otherwise, though I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, there’s a Bible verse that has helped a lot. “Take no thought for the morrow for the morrow shall take thought for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the malice thereof.” I blend a couple of translations here, but you know, that’s the gist. It has helped me a lot to remember that there are things beyond my control and I’m just stuck with them.

    I think that has a good (metaphorical) parallel with a rock (or a trail, or a day). We don’t negotiate with those things to get them to alter their shape, their course, their nature. Wise people deal with them in a spirit of acceptance. They’re the boss. I think the biggest lesson I’ve gotten from a lifetime in nature is to surrender to the moment as it is even if it’s hell.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There aren’t too many things I’m sure about, but there is definitely no negotiating with a rock. A spirit of acceptance can be hard for me. There are times when I lose sight of reality and try and hang on to things that are out of my control. When COVID hit, I tried to force my work and pursuits to continue, only to worsen the disappointment and frustration when I found it was completely out of my control (like all things).

      That is a perfect verse/quote/truism for this time period we are in. Thank you, Martha!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re not alone! This is definitely a particularly difficult period for those dealing with anxiety. Mine comes not in the morning, but at night. Sounds like you are staying positive. I’m trying to as well and I am grateful for being with my family and living in a place where I can get out for peaceful nature walks…this helps a lot. All the best!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great post and true only for me I know Hod is in control and the only thing I can do effectively is pray about what is going on. Then there is the human factor and I am an extremely anxious person. I have on some mornings awakened feeling anxious about nothing in particular So I have been exercising more and trying to write more which gives me a positive thing to focus on. I also remind myself about how blessed I am not to have the virus, to have shelter, healthy food and God’s love. A combination of these things really helps. Plus reading great posts. Love, hugs and wishing you blessings and less anxiety. Love 💕 Joni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Focusing on first things first is definitely a great way to help us get our feet back on the ground. We have to take care of ourselves! Thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Fantastic post. I consider myself an optimist. For years I would juggle many plates and try to keep them spinning too! It shouldn’t take life or death experiences to jolt someone into reality~but in my case, it did. I fought with some depression this last winter. Only to rise above it and Covid hit. Ironically, I have felt more close to people. And even here, through blogging, I have felt more positive in finding like-minded souls experiencing life as “inwardly” as writers tend to do. And anxiety….yep, I have it at strange times. There are days I can climb that mountain, and days I’m overwhelmed by making it to the coffee pot. My morning meditations and faith in God, coupled with deep breathing , exercise, and staying connected with others, help me to LET GO. The mind is a battlefield. If you’ve never read any of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s books, I have found them to be a wonderful tool in dealing with my own brain trauma (yes, not exactly anxiety, but it’s led to that at times…). I call this my “death bed” test~if I were told that I only have 6 months to live, is what I’m thinking and worrying about RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT going to make a “hill of beans” difference? WHO is going to be at my side? Who is with me all the time? Then, I get outside. I take a walk. I smile at my neighbor. I read your post and others’ posts. I watch a funny movie. And go to bed knowing tomorrow is a new day. God grants his mercies new every morning. There is a plan greater than us. And all we can do is cherish the moment we have right now. Specifically, I’m going to pray for you and my other friends. I cherish you all. And then sip on another cup of coffee (which probably isn’t great for anxiety) and hug my pup. Blessings and PEACE TO YOU! 💚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a beautiful sentiment. Thank you! I will definitely look into those books.

      While is often goes in one ear and out the other, every day IS a chance made new, and that is such a wonderful blessing to have. Thank you and peace to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, my anxiety and the SIP have altered my sleep cycle. I’ve been bingeing on YouTube and not as artistically productive as I thought I’d be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Youtube is my kryptonite. Definitely a crutch to avoid anxiety at times. You can do this! Sometimes we just have to flip the switch to off.

      Like

  7. I so relate to this. I, like I’m sure many others are, am struggling with that feeling that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. What next?
    In my case I know what’s next. I’m waiting for my nephew to call and tell me my sister has passes and I could do nothing to help her or stop it. She never had the chance to get Covid because she’s been, since her brain surgery, in another world. But, yes, at some point, regardless. we need to get our shit together and not worry about control of anything else but our perspective of current events, knowing that there’s always going to be that other shoe, somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, all my love to you and your family I am so sorry to hear about your sister. I hope you are able to stay positive through this situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, definitely on, “YOU are in control of your own success and happiness.” It’s bit of semantics on my part — which I call ‘some antics’ — though, I don’t believe in control. I don’t feel anyone can control anything. It’s all Nature. One can be in control of themselves, guide themselves, navigate, drive life, take aim and build momentum with or to something, though I feel it’s all about experience, and what we make of it. Intention is great, though can be over-rated in the context of how something comes across being more important (to me). And, mistakes are OFLs, Opportunities For Learning.

    I have the reverse of the “i can’t get out of bed issue.” I’m allergic to boredom, so one of my tools is to mind myself tp keep aware of when I need to rest or hang something up for the time being.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Very difficult time staying positive. I have lost my usual distractions and spend more time in bed, more time on a screen and more time in introspection.

    That a problem. All those demons I had pacified are getting bored and restless too. And I put on 10 lbs. in two months. Psychologically a difficult time.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Loved your post and the comments. Ironically, this shutdown has come to me with a blanket of relief. I was obviously over committed before it all happened. Maybe my advice would be too simplistic or maybe I do things that I assume everyone is doing:
    Getting out of bed: same time everyday. I have something to look forward to, coffee and my prayer time, walk with my favorite podcast update.
    I get outside everyday – even on the rainy days.
    yes, I do talk to people everyday.
    I have a plan for everyday.
    I see that you are an adventurer. Do a blog with a montage or collage of all your past favorite adventures.
    Plan a trip to a state that is opening up.
    Since you are an outdoors person, my guess is that this won’t go too much longer. Make your own plan for re-entry.
    Social distance walks are great. Hey, if you can climb and mountain and risk life and limb-what’s a little walk six feet apart?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Please don’t be too hard on yourself – these are weird times. I’ve kept busy by utilising free online courses on Future Learn. Perhaps mindfulness meditation could help a bit? – Maybe something to do as soon as you wake up? There’s loads of free apps/videos online.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Perhaps it’s not so much about staying positive at all times which would actually be toxic positvity but up allowing yourself to look into areas of your life which may need attention. It’s totally o.k. to feel the way you do! Avoidance is a coping mechanism and believe me, we all do that at times. You have asked for advice from the community and mine would be trying to see the lockdown as a chance and challenge to look at what underlying causes your anxiety has. It’s won’t be easy. Continue to reach out for support when you feel that you need it! If you’d like to chat about changes of routines or anything else, please send me a message. You are not alone!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. “I conflated success with happiness” is something I know better than anyone. First twenty years of my life were just one success after the other. And I wasn’t grateful. With pain, my personality got a dimension more. Depends on how you define success. A lot. You seem to be putting your anxiety into perspective. By writing, you are moving away and observing. I think you are going to master it soon. Best, Ivana.

    Liked by 2 people

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