Lets Talk Fact Not Fiction: High Functioning Anxiety.
This morning I woke up crying, yet again I had been plagued with one of the ever frequent nightmares caused by my anxiety, and that’s when I can even sleep at all, this is a regular occurrence, not just for me but also for so many people who suffer from anxiety in any form. It took all of the will that I had to roll myself out of my bed to grab my laptop and begin writing this post for you, however, I decided that this was something that needed saying, because there is far too much misconception about what anxiety is and how it affects people.
High functioning anxiety is so often hidden and when it does escape, it disguises itself in the form of nervous habits, jumping on the spot, tapping my foot, playing with my hands, fiddling with my hair, biting my nails.
Anxiety is waking up in the morning with a gripping and unstoppable sense of dread, for no apparent reason, yet still (most days) dragging yourself out of bed and getting on with your day, because you can’t face the awkwardness of having to make up an excuse for yourself. Yet sometimes, no matter how hard you may try, not even all of your strength is enough to pull you out of bed, so you spend your day laid hiding in bed wondering why you’re such a failure.
Anxiety is the constant and overwhelming fear of not being good enough, it’s walking down the street feeling as though everyone’s eyes are on you, it’s looking at your phone or the ground to avoid eye contact with a stranger, it’s trying to make yourself feel as invisible as possible to try and drown out the feeling that everyone that you pass is judging you.
Anxiety is the constant over thinking and over analysing of every word that someone says to you, and then feeling like a failure because you can’t sustain something as simple as social interaction without panicking. Yet at the same time over analysing your own response to that person because you feel that you’ve scared them away or annoyed them with something instead, to the point where what actually annoys them is your constant over analysing and asking if they’re okay.
Anxiety is the silent panic attack when someone doesn’t respond to your message and then the over analysing of the entire situation, not because it was a particularly important conversation, but for the sheer fact that in their non-response you suddenly feel the weight of the world, wondering what you did wrong.
Anxiety is the constant feeling of needing to be liked, yet never feeling good enough to earn others respect and friendship, all the while desperately panicking about what people really think about you and whether people are ever really your friend. Anxiety is looking in the mirror and wondering what anyone sees in you because all you see is a big bundle of nothingness.
Anxiety is the inability to make even the smallest decisions without an ongoing battle in your brain as to why you shouldn’t be making those decisions. It’s the being asked to hang out or attend an event and instantly panicking about all of the things that may go wrong and if you do commit, it’s only through obligation or the debilitating fear of being left out.
Anxiety is having to take yourself out of a room or situation to breath because even if there is only one other person in the room, sometimes you just cant cope, and taking yourself out for a breather is the only thing coming between you and bursting into tears.
Anxiety is the nervous energy at 4am that has you jumping around to try and wear yourself down, yet never quite managing to, and even when sleep does come it’s usually ravaged by vivid night terrors, so there was probably no point in sleeping anyway.
Most of all anxiety is pretending to be okay, keeping a smile on your face and faking some kind of confidence, in an attempt to trick your brain and those around you into believing it.
This is a daily reality for so many people, anxiety is so much more than the ‘worrying’ that everyone defines it as. Anxiety is a mental illness, a real metal illness, and it’s about time that some awareness was given to not only anxiety, but every mental illness so that society can gain a proper understanding of what it is.
Just because you can’t see an illness, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
As always thank you all for reading, I hope you found this post informative, I’ve also linked to a video produced by The Mighty below, as I thought that it also encapsulated the reality of living with anxiety.
Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments!
Until next time