There’s a phrase going around now: High Functioning Anxiety. There is a lot of talk about what it looks like and how to know if you fall into the category of “having” it.
Here’s the thing though…I’m not sure I really know that there is a difference between “high functioning” and “regular” anxiety. Sure, I don’t have a panic attack about what to wear in the morning or the fact that I have to go to work and deal with people when I’m not feeling my best. But do I have anxiety? Boy Howdy, do I.
And here is what I absolutely hate about my, personal, anxiety.
It makes me doubt myself.
It makes me doubt my friends.
It makes me doubt my loved ones.
It makes me short and snippy, and more likely to lash out at those who do not deserve it.
It makes me feel less than, not enough, and too much all at the exact same time.
It makes my stomach clench, rumble, and causes me to feel like I have to go to the bathroom multiple times an hour…often simply because I am afraid I might be sick.
It makes me tired…oh, man, does it make me tired.
And possibly the very worst part of it all: IT STEALS MY JOY.
What can possibly be worse than the loss of joy? The loss of your peace? I’m sure we could each think of worse things: Not having love, the death of someone you care about, anything, really…but for me, this is the worst part of my anxiety.
And I want to feel that joy and peace again. DESPERATELY.
So I’ve taken to being more intentional with my self-care. I’ve started “running” (More like trotting and walking) again. That seems to have worked so well in the past. But here’s the difference this time: It only works while I’m doing it. No longer do I have the wonderful, long-term effects of the workout. I’m not sure I even get the kick of the endorphins anymore. So what do I do now?
I’m not sure. I know that if I keep performing the self-care, it will pay off in the end…but what do you do with the doubt caused by a brain that is just a little off? I know what I do: I withdraw from everyone that I can. I choose to fight this alone because otherwise, I feel like I am putting too much on others, in some way placing the responsibility of my joy and peace on their shoulders…and I know that it is not fair, so I withdraw. Physically, emotionally, technologically, I withdraw.
Does that solve anything? Nope. But it removes the fear that I am too much for those people I love and trust. Am I depressed? I don’t really think so. I don’t feel sad. Lack of joy and peace does not automatically equal sadness and depression.
I suppose, in the end, I just needed to get these words out. If you believe you suffer from anything I have described above, I would love to hear your own coping mechanisms. And I know that I will probably never be completely rid of the anxiety, so coping mechanisms are truly what I believe I need.
Until next time…here’s the Silver Lining:
I am here. I am loved. I know these things and they are enough.