I’ve always known myself as anxious person. It manifests itself in different ways, and 98% of the time it’s something I manage well and those who don’t know me don’t pick up on it.
When I was little it would show up in my extra energy, needing to always be around people, and trouble falling asleep. Through adolescence my anxiety grew up a little. I wasn’t a rebellious kid or troublemaker, though I had my fair share of opportunities. But my anxiety caused me to overthink the consequences of getting caught and I simply chose not to participate. In college, my anxiety turned toward my future: will I find a job? Will I get married? Etc.
And now my anxiety comes, more often than not, in my relationships. I worry about how I affect others and the deeper meanings behind their actions and words. I often think myself into a tizzy making sure I haven’t upset someone or done something “weird”. I don’t talk about this side of me much, probably because anxiety comes with a huge stigma in our society. People think it has to be treated through medications only, that anxiety is a gateway to other things, or that anxiety only happens to the “other”. Those aren’t my truths.
I am a high functioning anxious person who handles it really well on my good days. But on my bad days I tend to think the worst: everyone hates me, I made them upset, I’m not living up to my own expectations, I’m left out of “fill in the blank”. It’s a part of me, I live with it and I grow through it, but it isn’t always easy. I’m learning to be more direct in sharing my feelings and insecurities, to ask for what I need (and accept the genuine answers whether “I can help” or “sorry, I’m busy”). And I’m identifying ways I can best work through anxious feelings to diffuse them as much as I can.
I’ve been faced a couple times recently with conversations that gave me insight to my life and my friendships, and I’ve found I probably should start journaling again–not the “dear diary” type. More prompt based, deeper learning related, and concentrated on my goals and growth, how I’m feeling and the causes and side affects. My brain needs this type of organization and these lists to help me move forward, to get past the multifaceted analysis that often consumes my thoughts.
So with journal and pen in hand, I look forward to setting some new habits and routines–a healthier, more confident, stronger me. So I’ll start that forward motion with this new mantra propelling me: