"Anxiety is terrible, you could be having an attack and no one would even know, because it's an inward thing. It feels like you're malfunctioning and you can't process your own thoughts. You get a knot in your stomach and you can't take a full breath, but outwardly you can literally just sit there and look completely normal, as long as no one tries to speak to you." — Anonymous / HealthyPlace.com
What people see when they look at me: happiness, perfectionism, dedication, responsibility, overachieving.
What people see when my anxiety becomes too much and starts to seep out through my every pore: my nail biting, my eczema, my leg-tapping, my teeth-chattering.
What people see, but do not realize is a result of my anxiety: texting multiple times in a row, trying to make plans for the future, seeking reassurance, showing a lot of appreciation for others.
What people do not see: my obsessive and circling thoughts, my rapid heartbeat, my crying in the bathroom and interacting with people four minutes later.
My anxiety, when everything in life is going well: "You have not achieved enough. Everyone is doing so much better than you are. You are too clingy. You care too much about people. People do not care about you. You are boring. You are a disappointment. You will not be happy in the future. Your loved ones are going to die."
But you do not see it. No one does. It is all in my head, literally.
Sometimes I isolate myself because the inside of my head is all of the noise that I can handle.
Sometimes I reach out to people 24/7 because I cannot stand even seven seconds of silence.
I am always prepared. I have a plan. Now, I can stray from the said plan, but there is a plan.
My planner is full of jotted down notes of appointments and times and assignments.
If I am not doing something, I feel overcome with guilt, even if there is nothing to do.
I need relaxation and self-care time to function, but that same stuff makes me feel guilty. It is a confusing life.
The thing is, my anxiety is not even totally about me.
It is also about the people I care about.
My anxiety, it is scared of disappointing others. It is scared of being a failure in their eyes.
Every day, I am doing what I want to make myself happy and pursuing my dreams and goals. However, all the while, I am thinking about making my loved ones proud.
I identify as a survivor, not as a struggler. By that I mean that I do not let my anxiety drag me down, but rather, I take it as a challenge to push me forward and make me stronger and more resilient.