Life Lessons

Losing Sleep over Fear

This morning was the 6th workday morning in a row that I woke before my alarm. Not because I was full of energy and ready to take on life’s challenges, but because I had this cold, acidic feeling in my belly that I get when I remember something important hasn’t yet been done. Fear. Of failure, of embarrassment, of letting myself or my team down. Terrifying, paralysing, fear.Β 

This feeling is painfully familiar to me. It’s what woke me every morning at 6am for the last 3 months of my undergraduate degree, telling me that I was going to FAIL if I didn’t get out of bed immediately and start studying. This feeling woke me a month before every major Taekwon-Do competition I competed in telling me I was FAT and needed to lose weight for the competitive category. Even though this feeling helps me to achieve objectives, it’s clear this feeling is not my friend.

Tim Urban speaks of the Panic Monster in his Ted Talk about Procrastination – how he is what rescues the average procrastinator from an important impending deadline. Mine seems to be malfunctioning. I seem to have a Nervous Breakdown Monster, that gets ready to jump off a cliff when it realises I haven’t yet completed a minor task! It’s not sustainable. It’s not healthy. I’m losing between 30mins to an hour of sleep every night. That doesn’t benefit anyone.

So far, I have been using different coping methods: taking Rescue Remedy, using Pranayama breathing, keeping a notebook beside my bed to brain dump mind junk, and, as a last resort, just getting up and starting my meditation and yoga process that bit earlier. But these are all reactive methods – I wish I could find a way to stop it happening in the first place!

Does anyone else experience this horrible feeling? How do you manage it?

5 thoughts on “Losing Sleep over Fear”

  1. Yes, I definitely experience this feeling! I haven’t found a way to stop the feelings but I do feel like I’m getting better at dealing with the feelings when they bubble up.

    I also keep a notebook by my bed to jot down fears/worries that I will deal with in the morning, and so can forget right now (in the middle of the night!).

    But I find the best tool is breathing. Just breathe, tell yourself to just breathe and I promise you will magically calm down a bit. I also have some pillow mist which smells of lavender (ridiculously expensive from Molton Brown but hey it makes me feel better and helps me keep calm!) and this helps me to enjoy the deep breathing as well.

    Finally, I try and really appreciate being in a safe, warm bed and tell myself I’ll miss it in the morning so I might as well enjoy it now!

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    1. I love the sound of pillow mist!! (Am a big Molton Brown fan too!) I do think the breathing helps – even when I’m still feeling panicky, I try to just keep breathing and eventually the feeling does dissipate a little. I love the idea of appreciating where I am! I think I’ve been mistakenly taking the other approach of kicking myself for being awake, rather than simply appreciating the lovely warm coziness! Thanks for the tip! 😊

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    2. It worked Jen!! I managed to sleep through the night!! There was a moment where I wavered between sleep and awake and I remembered your words and decided to be appreciative of my lovely warm cosy bed, and I drifted back to sleep before I could think of anything that would cause me fear! I think the biggest thing that helped was knowing I wasn’t alone in dealing with this problem, so thank you for the support. This is exactly why I wanted to create this site – so women would feel they have somewhere to go to for support. Thanks for being part of this community. xx

      Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Hey hun… sorry I’m a bit late posting this. As you know I’ve been experiencing the same fear and anxiety that keeps me up every hour on the hour, but recently I met with this great mindfulness therapist and he told me to listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ6xgDI7Whc

    I didn’t think it would help, but I tend to listen to it and I swear after about 15 minutes (where yes I am still thinking about all the things that need to be done, or haven’t been done), I am asleep! I don’t think I have ever listened (well atleast not while awake) to the end of it πŸ™‚

    Try it and let me know if it works for you xx

    Liked by 1 person

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