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.
Lately, I have challenged myself, well my anxiety really. I will do something that gives me anxiety. Like today I went for a steam with my friend and I went shopping with wet hair. I did feel the stares and it freaked me out. But I was still able to dome shopping and function as a normal human without wanting to crawl into a hole. I still want to do that sometimes. But my real question is, Does it work? I have no idea. I like to think it does because deep down, deep deep down, I know that if I am put in that situation again I know I will be able to handle myself.
See I am an awkward person by nature. It takes me a while before I can be open around some. Or just my goofy self really. I see this being a problem when it comes to dating. I mean I might really like this person and if I can’t even look them in the eye. I don’t see the relationship going far. (no pun intended) But I think there is someone out there for everyone. And hopefully, there is someone out there who will be able to out wait my awkwardness and see the real me. I guess we will have to see. Yet in the same breath, I am happy being single right now. I do not need a boyfriend to be happy I can make my own happiness and I have other people in my life that I enjoy being around. I am working on a career and future that I can be proud and happy with.
There is so much pressure on people finding a SO and I have always felt like I am failing someone by not having a boyfriend. When I think about it right now when the logical part of my brain is in control. I am not failing anyone. I have friends who enjoy me and a family who supports me.
People in my high school always want to be different. They wanted to be the super cool hipster or something that was like everyone else. As I watched them I was confused because I wanted none of what they wanted. I wanted to be normal. Well, I am normal and having a mental health issue doesn’t make you bad or inferior in any way but I didn’t know that back then. Even now I wish I didn’t have to deal with this heavy pressure on my chest that stays there for days. Or breaking down for no idea. Being scared of going over to your really good friend’s house, even when you nothing bad is going to happen but that little monster bully voice whatever you want to call it tells you different and it is so loud and overpowering sometimes it is hard for the logical side to win. Tangent sorry.
Back in high school, I watched all these people try to be different and that’s great. I love it now. Yet back then I didn’t know why they would want to do that. I was different and felt so alone and isolated from everyone around me. I wanted to be normal by their standards so much but I never could be and I never will be. It is okay because I know who I am even with my anxiety and depression. And I think I am still pretty cool. And I am sure all of you are too.
Life is a tough thing to handle. And some people, unfortunately, are better at handling it. Everyone has their off days and that’s okay.We are allowed to be a little bruised and broken. Life throws things at us that we never expected, and we are just supposed to catch it in time and hope for the best. Sometimes we miss the catch and it hit us and we get hurt. We learn how to deal with the bruises and the brokenness that are the result of us missing the catch. But we need to keep trying to catch the ball as the little monster in our heads keep throwing them at us so we can hopefully learn how to catch a few.