Today, I woke up to my alarm.
If you have a snooze habit and/or tend to be a heavy sleeper, you know the struggle. What I achieved this morning was nothing short of a personal miracle. Here’s how I did it.
Yesterday morning six alarms sounded next to my bed: two trumpet alarms, two heavy duty vibrating alarms, and two especially annoying alarms that alternated on continuous 5-minute snooze.
I snoozed soundly in the intervals between 5 second bursts of noise from 6:30 to 8:00 am. It was my roommate knocking on the door at 8:15 am that finally woke me up, and by then I was already late to work. I wish I could say that work tardiness does not characterize me. Instead, let me express how grateful I am to have a gracious boss.
But when I arrived at work yesterday morning, I knew that it was time to deal with my inability to wake up, even with six obnoxious alarms, two of them being on continuous snooze. Clearly, I have a problem.
So, I turned to the Internet. First, I researched alternative alarm clocks. Then I realized that the problem was not the technology. I had already tried all kinds of alarm sounds and buzzers–to no avail.
At that point, I started asking why.
Why am I such a heavy sleeper? Why don’t I want to wake up in the morning? I had been blaming my bipolar medications for my heavy sleeping, but yesterday I finally started to think that the reason was deeper.
During this thought process, I ran across an extremely helpful article (link below). As I thought my way through it, I realized that there was a part of me that didn’t want to be waking up to this version of my story.
The one where my last boyfriend emotionally abused me.
The one where I got labelled bipolar by a doctor who never, not even once, sat down to know me in my right mind.
The one where my brain fails me given the right emotional triggers.
The one where Peter Pan exists but is no where to be found, just loved always from the galaxy of a different star.
Yes, this story that is mine is hard to face squarely, with open eyes not dreaming.
Once I understood my emotional reluctance to encounter each morning, then I was able to finish reading the article. It advised me to choose an alarm tone that would wake me up gradually and to plan a rewarding morning that did not involve getting out of bed right away.
Understanding the difficulty I’ve been having facing my own story gave me an idea. Why not wake up to somebody else’s? So I started a new Korean drama. The episodes last about an hour, giving me the perfect reason to wake up an hour before I have to leave. It worked.
This morning I woke up gradually to lovely violin music at 6:50 am. My laptop was open and the show was on by 7:00 am. At 7:30 am, I moved into the bathroom to get ready and finished watching the second half of the episode. I was in the office on time at 8:30 am, and my coworker commented on my improved morning mood.
Wins all around.
Am I confident that I can keep this up? Yes. Do I wish that I could enjoy waking up to my own story instead of relying on a surrogate? Yes. Am I doing everything in my power to write a better story for myself? You bet! And will I share it with you once I’ve written it? Of course.
If you would like to read the practical guide that helped me make this change, click here.
Here’s to happy mornings!