One day, scrolling through my Facebook feed as I so often do, I came across something that truly resonated with me.
"High-functioning anxiety looks like achievement, busyness, perfectionism." My breath catches in my throat. I listen more closely. "When it sneaks out, it transforms into nervous habits. Nail biting. Foot tapping. Running my fingers through my hair." I look down at my own hands as I pick at my cuticles. They're messy and raw.
When I saw this video, I wasn't sure what to think. I do consider myself to be dealing with some form of anxiety. I acknowledge its presence in my life. I attribute all of my nervousness to it. And it does in fact "sneak out" at times...sometimes more often than I would like. And now this video that suddenly popped up on my timeline wants to categorize me as "high-functioning." But "high-functioning" anxiety? What does that even mean?
What this video made me realize is that, to me, it is the feeling of always needing to do something but never having the motivation to do it. It's wanting to succeed but feeling like you aren't good enough. It's feeling so frustrated when you fail or disappoint someone or don't live up to your potential. It's the constant voice in your head telling you that you simply can't do it, but also that you need to be perfect. It's strange.
Yet, I have never considered my issues with anxiety to be holding me back. It's a part of who I am; I likely wouldn't be the same person without it. I'm punctual. I'm always prepared for the worst. I am a perfectionist. I'm pretty successful. But I also sometimes lack self-confidence. I question my ability to do things and constantly doubt that my friends, professors, or colleagues like me. I'm scared of failure. I procrastinate like crazy. The buzzing in my brain sometimes get too loud to hear anything above it and it gets harder to breathe. It gets hotter, like I'm suffocating. The room spins. And then it's gone...the cacophony of noise reverts back to a dull hum. I'm fine again.
Yes, it's an obstacle. Yes, it's intrusive and annoying and frustrating. But it also drives me. I'm tired of using it as an excuse. Instead, I pledge to let it be one of my attributes in 2017. I will allow it to motivate me to do better. But I will also remind myself that it'serves okay to fall down sometimes. You just have to get back up again. High-functioning anxiety, I'm not afraid of you.