Living With High Functioning Axiety
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Health and Wellness

Living With High Functioning Axiety

Insight on what its like to be your own worst enemy.

Living With High Functioning Axiety

Imagine a situation where you would be in danger, for example, you are walking in a dark alley and a person approaches you. How do you feel? Usually, when a person is in danger the body goes into a flight or fight mode. Your heart begins to race, your chest becomes tight so that its hard to breathe, you might even begin to sweat. I feel this level of panic at least once every day. Every day is like walking through a dark alley alone. This isn’t to say I’m in danger, I can be in class and suddenly I am having a panic attack. But nobody else in the classroom would be able to tell the difference between me taking notes, and me taking notes while I’m having a panic attack. I live with this feeling, I am familiar with it. I have learned that this feeling of panic doesn’t always subside when you meditate or try deep breathing exercises. My anxiety attacks are an unwelcomed guest that overstays their welcome. There are days where I go trough my entire day without being able to calm myself down and catch my breath.

High Functioning Anxiety feels like no matter what you do, it isn’t good enough. You need to study more. You need to work harder. You should be able to run faster. High Functioning Anxiety looks like a person who is very involved in their work, someone who is involved with multiple clubs and committees. On the surface, you would not be able to tell that a person has with high functioning anxiety.

On an average day, I wake up anxious, meaning that both my thoughts and heart are racing. I feel my anxiety mostly in my chest, although this isn’t the case for everyone. On other days I wake up exhausted because I woke up several times during the night having a panic attack. I have very vivid dreams so when I have an anxiety attack in my dream I have one in real life too. The best way for me to cope with anxiety attacks in the morning is to go running. Running not only releases endorphins (which make you happy) but also physically tires me out and subdues the physical effects of anxiety. I also do more homework in the morning or study. A large part of my anxiety centers around academics so I have the constant feeling that I am not as smart as everyone else despite the fact that I spend countless hours studying.

If I have a quiz or exam that isn’t first thing in the morning its almost impossible for me to focus on anything except for the voice in my head telling me I’m going to fail. I am fully aware that I am my own worst enemy, but once I begin to worry about my exam it escalates to being anxious, which then escalates to a panic attack. Which leads to me doing numerous activities such as obsessively cleaning my apartment, organizing my entire closet by color, or organizing my roommate’s kitchen cabinet. You may be thinking that if I just looked over the material I would be tested on I would feel more confident, but that’s not an option. When you experience a panic attack you suddenly lose the ability to rationalize, focus, and think critically. All of which are necessary to calm myself down and sit to work through possible exam questions. This panic doesn’t subside until after I take my exam which inhibits my ability to perform well on the exam because I cannot remember the material because I am too worried about not remembering the material.

High Functioning Anxiety doesn’t just affect me academically; it affects my social life as well. I would like to preface this with the statement that my friends and family are extremely supportive and have never done anything to prove otherwise. This does not stop me from thinking at least once every week that my friends only hang out with me because they feel bad for me. I automatically assume that every person I speak to doesn’t like me and that I need to overcompensate for that by trying to be funny. Obviously, not everyone I speak to dislikes me (or at least I hope) but this rational thought never helps me when I am hyperventilating. Rationale never calms me down or convinces me to stop isolating myself. The problem is that even if someone else tried to prove to me that they did like me, I don’t believe them. This is not their fault; it comes from my own insecurities that need to be worked through. I work through these insecurities by writing down things I like about myself, by being venerable in my writing for the Odyssey, and by letting myself know that it's O.K to like yourself.

Living with high functioning anxiety is exhausting. In order to work through my anxiety, I am hyperactive, and when I take a break because I’m tired my head is filled with thoughts like “why are you so lazy” or “you don’t deserve to take a break when you could be studying” Although I know for a fact that I do deserve to take a break sometimes and I am not lazy, those negative thoughts don’t go away. I am working on using the fact that I have a constant To-Do list to my advantage by adding things such as taking a break or going to bed early. Anxiety is a part of who I am and although I will never live without anxiety I don’t give up on the idea of recovery.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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