I am a big advocate for talking about mental health and ending the stigma. I talk about it when people ask me but I don’t go seeking them out. They seem to find me. Just different people from some of my best friends to people I have just met. They all seem to just spill everything that is on their mind out to me. Which I am completely okay with and think it is good to have someone to talk to about everything. Even if you aren’t looking for a solution. Yet where is the line where I have to take a step back and be like ‘whoa okay. I need to take a second’. Where do I maybe to say that I can’t be that person anymore because I need to look after myself and my mental health too. I want to help people but when I am barely keeping my head above water and then I take on this? It’s like adding weights to my ankles. I know I shouldn’t be taking it on but I just feel everything.
I just don’t know where to draw the line.
I don’t know when to say that I can only handle so much.
Lately, I have been struggling. A lot. But it seems like no one notices. I am outside of my body screaming at it to do something about how it feels. To tell someone about how I am feeling. But I don’t want to bother anyone. I feel like me telling someone that I am struggling but I don’t want to burden them with my problems. Everyone has something going on and if it seems like they don’t. You’re wrong. They are just better at hiding it then some. I haven’t really been eating or feeling. I think that is what scares me the most. I am not feeling much of anything. I know I should be and realize that something is wrong but….. I am just tired. Tired of fighting this. Fighting day in day out. This invisible war that wreaks havoc on my mind and body. Feeling like I am drowning in a crowd. The constant feeling of something is going to wrong.
Somehow I still get up. Many people still get up and do what they have to do. It might take all of their willpower they have.
Those people are the some of the strongest people this world has.
High functioning anxiety is a thorn in my side. I could have been up all night and cried myself to sleep. But I am up the next day going about my business like nothing happened. I don’t bring it up or draw attention to myself and do my work. I laugh at the appropriate times and smile at people. When people ask if something is wrong I just tell them that I didn’t sleep the well the night before.
Fake it till you make it
Then when you actually open up to someone they say something like “oh I never would have guessed” or something along those lines. I am fully aware I do not seem like the person to have a panic attack over the fact that I may or may not have said something. I know I don’t seem like the person to worry about every little thing that is or isn’t within my control.
But I am.
And telling me that I don’t seem like the person to be like that isn’t really a compliment. It is more of a nod toward our acting skills or lying skills whatever one you think it should fall into.
It’s that feeling of free falling than getting slammed back into reality
So I have noticed something about myself lately. I am hyper-aware of what I do and say. Comes with the anxiety, I guess that might just be me. Anyway. When I am put into a situation that I know I will be able to handle or everything will be okay. The logical part of my brain knows this but the anxiety part doesn’t, so instead of trying to talk how everything that possibly could go wrong it does this neat little trick where it gets my body to react.
For example first day of school. I am in college and I knew all the people who were going to be in my classes because it is a small program. Yet I still wanted to throw up and my hands were sweaty. There was that huge weight on my chest that threatened to restrict my breathing. I was on edge the whole day which was not good because it is draining doing that. Hiding how anxious you are or trying not to show the symptoms of being anxious. It is frustrating to talk to anyone about it because I have been on the same track how many times, I know everything is going to turn out okay or I will be able to handle whatever happens. But apparently, my body didn’t get the memo.
No one talks about high functioning anxiety much. I want to talk about it because no one seems to grasp the concept of it. High functioning anxiety is a person who has anxiety and keeps living their everyday life. We do things that are odd to people who do not deal with anxiety. I know that I will check my bag or purse like at least five different times before I leave the house. (I have to commute to my school so I don’t want to forget something.) But I have been doing this since I was a kid and never thought it was odd until it was pointed out to me. The second one was that I get super anxious when talking in class. My heart should not race like I just sprinted 100m when I answer a question…. Right? I thought that was normal until I brought it up to my mom.
These are just a few things that I have noticed about myself. High function anxiety sucks. A lot. I get up to go to school/work and have to keep pushing. Even if I want to just curl up and not deal with the outside world. There is another thing about it that really sucks. Everyone assumes that you are fine because you are up and about doing things that everyone else is doing. But on the inside, my anxious brain and logical brain are in a huge wrestling match. But there is no crowd and no one seems to ask you.
The reality test its a way of reasoning with yourself and calm your self down. My therapist taught it to me and my mom so she could help me with it when I was too worked up. Well, it works for me.
All you have to do is ask yourself one question
“What is the reality of the situation?” We will use the example of the party to make it easy. I am always anxious to go hang out with my friends. No real reason why I am anxious I just am.
“I know these people. They enjoy my company and I have hung out with them before. I am a likable person.”
It is simple and it doesn’t work all the time. The reality test is about timing. When you feel anxious but not to far gone that you might talk yourself into a panic attack. I have done that before too.
Since it is the end of 2017 I did some reflecting.
I hope everyone has had a great holiday and has a wonderful New Year.
It’s the small steps that are usually the biggest when you look back. It is true. One small step that I look back on in my life is asking for help. My mom got me to see a therapist and it has helped me in ways I can’t even explain. The second one is going on medication. There is such a stigma with that word ‘medication’ but there shouldn’t be. The medication helped my brain produce the chemicals that I am lacking. The third is doing two speeches at my graduation in front of hundreds of people. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal but if you would have told me that three years before that I would have laughed, then probably have been anxious about it (lol). The fourth and probably the best of them all is applying for college. It was the middle of the summer when I did this I wasn’t expecting to get in and had plans to travel but not even a week later I got my acceptance letter saying I had gotten in and then I was set off down this unknown path. I have met incredible people in this program and have found something that I love to do. So you never know what that small step will look like unless you just take it. No thinking not overthinking. Just take the step.