Why anxiety can be worse in the morning


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Three women explain why they feel more anxious earlier in the day.

and how they’ve learned to cope
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AMBER, 28, content marketing executive
“Anxiety has always been a part of my life, but it wasn’t until I moved to Sheffield when I was 24 that my GP helped me take steps to manage my
mental health
. I was eventually diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder.
My anxiety shows itself physically and mentally. I often suffer from an increased heart rate, tremors and rapid breathing, which used to escalate into anxiety attacks. I also struggle with
sleepless nights
and dark days, where I struggle to leave my bed.
When my anxiety was at its worst, my brain was full of ‘what ifs’ before I could even leave the front door for work, and I’d sometimes
have panic attacks
. Insomnia would drive endless self-questioning about things I had said or done and what effect they were going to have.
I’d lie in a pit of spiralling darkness until it was 8am and I needed to leave for work, absorbed in anxiety and unable to leave my bed
. Anxious mornings ruined my workday, if I did manage to leave for work. I’d work myself into a state on my commute and spend most of the day trying to calm myself down so that I could crunch through my to-do list. My anxiety would be even worse in the mornings if I overexerted myself the night before, from having too many social plans, a busy day at work or too much to drink.
Carol Yepes
Getty Images
Eventually, in 2018, my doctor, bosses and I agreed I would take some time off work. It was a hard decision because work was the only thing getting me out of bed, but taking time off for my mental health was a necessity and I do not think I’d be here without it. I also
began counselling
on the NHS. I was listened to, my concerns were heard and I wasn’t just prescribed more medication. Together with my therapist, we worked on the root of the problem.

Mornings, although often still difficult, don’t take over my days anymore. I haven’t ‘overcome’ anxiety and depression but through intense counselling, medication management and relearning my own behaviours, I’m in better control of it.”
NATALIYA, 33, writer and digital content consultant
“Before I was diagnosed with a generalised anxiety and panic disorders a decade ago, I genuinely believed everyone woke up with a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach every day. I’d heard people speak of anxiety, so I thought it was normal, but now I know that being anxious and having an
anxiety disorder
that requires medical attention aren’t the same thing. Anxiety is a normal feeling in the body, like happiness, sadness, or jealousy. There’s a big distinction between anxiety and anxiety disorders.
“I genuinely believed everyone woke up with a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach every day”
My anxiety was especially bad in the morning because I struggled to deal with the day ahead.
Waking up meant I had to organise my day to ensure I didn’t miss anything or say anything that would make me ruminate all night
. I went through the tasks in my head over and over. If I was doing something new or unusual that day, I’d wake up too early with anxiety. Everything new spelled fear, especially when it centered around people or expectations I had to fulfil. Talking on the phone felt awful and
socialising was a huge task
At the time, I was working as an influencer, leading a NYC-based fashion blogging group. That meant socialising with many fellow bloggers and going to events. This was a nightmare and I’d sometimes prep for events weeks in advance. I found it easier to chat with a wine glass in my hand and sometimes would inadvertently have one too many drinks (not because I was having so much fun, but because I was trying to drown out the anxiety). Obviously,

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