These pictures are the same person, taken not long apart from one another.
This is what it can look like to live with high functioning anxiety.
Both of these ladies are part of me, but neither define me.
I am (mostly) a happy, funny, sarcastic wife, mom, and friend. I make jokes and laugh with my mouth wide open. I don’t know where makeup goes on my face and can barely dress myself but if you need encouragement or a homemade meal because everything is a sh*t-show in your world right now, I’m your gal.
But sometimes I am the girl in the covers, buried up to her cheeks in emotion and blankets and wishing everything around her would just pass by quickly and leave her behind to sleep. She worries and makes lists and could give you a complete doctoral dissertation on all the reasons she’s a horrible wife, a failure as a mom, and an unfit friend.
This is my picture of high functioning anxiety.
I sincerely make plans with excitement and then desperately wish I could cancel.
My panic attacks look like rage cleaning and mental spiraling.
I worry more when things seem to be going right because I begin to imagine all that could go wrong.
My anxiety looks like talking fast, filling silence, asking questions, and getting distracted when doing one productive task only to begin another thing on my endless to-do list.
This is what high functioning anxiety can look like.
I can have a soul-filling, belly laugh-filled night with friends only to come home and stay up for hours cleaning, organizing, and prepping for the next day because all I can focus on is how much time I wasn’t home accomplishing things while we were hanging out.
My panic looks like overwhelm, overly sensitive, and an overly quick temper.
I encourage my husband to go hang with his friends, to go workout, and to invest in time that will fill him back up. But then, if he’s even a few minutes late, I text and call frantically because my mind has painted a vivid picture of his car careening off a cliff somewhere.
This is a glimps of high-functioning anxiety.
I will say ‘yes’ and show up early no matter what else I have scheduled.
I will bring homemade treats and stay to help clean so you have backup.
I will be your shoulder to cry on and the friend who will defend you no matter what, no questions asked.
But I may not be able to identify how I’m feeling, to name my emotions, or to do anything but cry into a pillow so loudly that snot bubbles make me look like a beat up elementary school kid.
I may become overwhelmed but unable to tell you why.
I may want to eat all the things or be unable to eat anything.
I may not be able to slow down or I may not be able to get out of bed.
This is high functioning anxiety.
It isn’t always pretty nor is it easy to explain to those who don’t live with it, but it is also not something that should carry shame.
I am a person with high functioning anxiety and I still have a loving husband, wild kids, and incredible friends.
They don’t all ‘get it’, but they all love me through it and that’s pretty amazing.
If you have anxiety, you aren’t alone sister. We’re in this crazy ride together.
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