‘Sorry I’m late’ -morning routine featuring Anxiety

‘Sorry I’m late’ – things I’d like to honest about with work colleagues

Most people dislike mornings, or so I assume. Who wouldn’t rather have a lie in than get up and go to work? Most people will have bad mornings occasionally. Things will go wrong or they’ll have the Monday morning blues. A lot of people are occasionally late. That’s normal. 

I don’t think I’ve ever had a good morning, and I’m always at a risk of being late, even if I’m up 3 hours before I need to leave.

My morning routine usually starts the night before. I know what’s coming so I know I need to prepare. 

Pull out my clothes for the next day, or at least mentally decide what I want to wear. That’s one less decision that will torment me in the morning.

Make sure I’m in bed an hour before I need to sleep, the war of wanting to sleep (so I don’t have to think about tomorrow) and not wanting to sleep (so I don’t bring morning to me any quicker) will take at least this long. I’ll fall asleep eventually but the constant worrying will have ruined any chance of a peaceful night. 

I’ll wake up at least three times and use every method I have at my disposal to make sure I drop off again before the worrying starts. This usually involves lying completely still with my eyes closed and refusing to move so much as a finger. If this fails I’ll spend hours tossing and turning, sitting up hugging my knees or going to sit outside until the cold drives me to crawl back into my quilts.

(I’ve never actually told my other half how grateful I am that he’s with me when I go to bed, I get to sleep so much quicker now.)

My alarm goes off at least an hour before I need to get up, because I will snooze it, no doubt. I’ll hit snooze because that alarm is calling me to start my day and that is a call I’m never ready to answer. I’ll eventually wake up properly, or enough that sleep is not going to come easily again. 

This is when the anxiety and the panic really set in. Every morning without fail. A huge pressure builds on my chest, I’m going to burst into tears or implode, something in my body is just going to crack if I move. If you’ve never experienced it you can’t possibly imagine the real honest to god dread that fills every part of you, (regardless of the fact you know it’s irrational).

Whilst most people are busy getting dressed, eating breakfast or doing their hair. I’m sat in my bed shaking with the effort of staying above the tidal wave of panic. 

Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think, just move get out of bed, do it fast, do it without knowing why you must, only that you must.

My best coping method so far is to completely ignore the reason I’m getting up and ready. If I start to think about work then I’m guaranteed to be at least half an hour late and exhausted from the inevitable panic attack. 

I pull on the clothes I chose the night before and ignore the full length mirror because if I look, that’ll be another half an hour of hating how I look and desperately trying to pick another outfit that will somehow magically make me look beautiful and put together. I’ve been known to burst into tears trying to find socks, so if I’ve not prepared the day before I’m going to be late and puffy eyed.

Feed my kittens, I could leave it for my other half to but it’s the only thing I have to do that doesn’t stress me out. Theres zero chance of breakfast for myself, even if I had time I’m too wound up to have any appetite.

Put on makeup, well at least foundation to cover the bags under my eyes, the rest will likely have to wait until I get to work because by this point I’m already running late. Hair isn’t even a concern, it goes however it is when I wake up.

Make sure I have everything at least three times, even though I inevitably forget something. Count my change for the bus over and over and make sure it’s in a pocket I can get it out of quickly.

Then from being ‘ready’ to leave and actually leaving I need at least 5 mins (on a good day) to work up the courage to step outside. Walk to the bus stop, I’ll usually have a cigarette, despite the fact it makes me feel sick, because I need something to distract me. If I start thinking about work or the fact that I might miss a bus or it might be late or delayed I’m likely to start panicking and this would means tears and / or stopping and sitting in the street to avoid a panic attack. 

If the bus is late then this is another bout of panicking, I’m going to be late again, I’m a terrible employee, I’m going to get sacked, everyone think I’m some lazy I don’t give a crap idiot. This is usually the point that decides my day, if the bus takes too long to come, my panic will reach a point where I can’t go to work. 

Once (if) I’m on the bus, I do anything to distract myself, music, a podcast, reading or mindlessly flicking through my phone. Once off the bus it’s swallow the nausea and barrel headfirst into work and just don’t think. 

Now my day has only just begun and I’m already exhausted and on edge. It’s hard to make eye contact or talk to anyone until I can calm down. How long that takes depends on how bad my morning was. I’ll usually make some seemingly casual comment on how ‘Oh I really need to get a car, buses are so unreliable‘, because how do you say my anxiety is so high and I’ve already had three panic attacks this morning, sorry I’m late?


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