Anyone who has ever lived with me can tell you that I’m not a morning person. I didn’t even get up early as a little kid to watch cartoons. When we would visit relatives growing up, I used to beg my cousins to wake me up when they got up because I knew I was missing out on some of the fun. I’ve always been jealous of people who wake up in the morning and feel great and excited about the prospects of the new day. Me? My first thought when I wake up in the morning is some variation of “Ugh! The day!” and a longing to put off starting it for as long as possible.
This feeling has only gotten worse as I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression. A new day means more opportunities to fail to live up to my expectations, so why bother trying? Everything about the day rushes at me, and it’s overwhelming. It feels exhausting to even think about it. But the thing is, once I push through this feeling and actually get going with my day, it usually is way easier than I think it will be. Not always, but usually. Either way, once I actually do something, I at least feel better about the fact that I did something. And by the end of the day, my perspective on life is usually much different.
The biggest hurdle of the day, then, is getting past this horrible paralysis I feel when I first wake up. No matter how great I ended up feeling the day before, I usually start at square one first thing in the morning. As such, I related strongly the character Lucy in the (so-so) movie 50 First Dates. Lucy had an accident that has affected her memory. Every morning, she wakes up thinking it’s the morning of the day the accident happened. Even if, over the course of the day, she realizes that it’s actually years later and remembers what happened to her, the next morning, it starts all over again.
When a man falls in love with her, to shorten the amount of time he has to explain himself every day, he makes a video that she watches when she first wakes up. It details her accident and everything that happened since then so that she remembers the truth about her life and their relationship. I thought this was a fabulous idea. Even though I don’t forget the events of several years every day (thank goodness), I sometimes feel like every morning I forget everything I know to be true about myself and how life is. Like, that it’s going to be okay. That I am not worthless or that my value does not depend on what I do. That God loves me no matter what and his grace is enough. That things won’t be as hard as they seem, and even if they are, God is with me. That the negative thoughts running through my head about myself are lies straight from the pit.
So I’m trying to work on creating my own “video” of the things I need to remember every day. Rather than feeling frustrated that I need to relearn the same things over and over again, I need to accept that I have spiritual/emotional/mental amnesia and remind myself of the truth. I think we all need to remind ourselves of the truth; it’s amazing how easy it is to forget. I guess this is why we’re told to preach the gospel to ourselves every day, or why we take communion every so often, or why the Psalms constantly call on God’s people to remember everything God has done for them in the past.
Hopefully, as I try to fight the flood of overwhelming feelings every morning with the truth, the paralysis will be a little less awful. Don’t count on me becoming a morning person, though. If you want to watch cartoons with me in the morning, you’ll just have to wait a while.