High functioning anxiety.
I can feel it right now.
Punching into my train of thought, trying to slow the words, steady the flow, drop an anchor on this blog post, prevent me from stepping out and declaring that it’s even there at all.
“Hide me!” whispers anxiety, “Don’t let them know I’m here.”
As if that might make it easier for me to cope. Somehow.
Push it away, sweep it under the carpet, pretend it doesn’t exist. Act like life is easy.
But life with high functioning anxiety isn’t easy. It’s a constant reminder that I’m not where I want to be. It’s forever pushing me to do more, be more, try more, see more …
“Prove yourself!” says anxiety, “You’re better than this.”
I continue on, dutifully working toward an endless goal, pressure weighing down upon my soul, squeezing the life out of each day with its false promises and possibilities.
“It won’t always be like this,” says anxiety, “Just one more thing!”
One more thing, the never ending promise of completion, of making it, of finally getting there.
I don’t even know where ‘there’ is, but I squeeze each moment dry with thoughts. worries, doubts and possibilities of getting ‘there’ and the promises it brings.
What if I don’t make it?
Anxiety won’t even consider that. Instead it prods and pushes, never pausing to breathe even, because to stop is to admit defeat.
To stop is to declare what they’ve all been thinking. To stop is to admit that they were right and I was wrong.
I couldn’t do it.
I’m not good enough.
I don’t deserve it.
I don’t know how to live if I’m not pushing. I don’t know what to do if I’m not working toward something. I don’t know who I am if I’m not anxious.
“See,” says anxiety, “You need me. We’re in this together.”
And I look back at anxiety and ask if maybe it could step back a bit.
“I don’t want to do everything with you,” I say, “I want to make some decisions by myself.”
Anxiety is shocked, and a little saddened. I feel guilty, and almost give in. I want to invite anxiety back, to return its control and revel in the safety of leaving no stone unturned and no possibility unplanned.
The thought is even a little comforting. I stop to think, and I realise that my whole body feels tense, waiting for my decision.
I am exhausted, and I resolve to stop – at least for a while.
“Are you sure?” asks anxiety, “I’ve a pile of things you need to do …”
But none of those things is really important. They are convenient excuses to ensure I bypass life seeming productive, useful and even successful. All the while, the spark inside of me burns a little slower and dimmer as it longs for the life it craves.
I turn to the spark, and ask what it would do?
“Sit here and dream a while.”
“But what of?” chirps in anxiety.
“Just dream, and see what happens next.”
I dream of life. A head full of possibilities, passion, fulfilment, freedom and ease. A life where anxiety alerts me only to true danger – no longer questioning every move, every word, every breath.
I dream of a life that is lived from my heart, where meeting goals is a by-product of my passion, not an anxiety-fuelled race. And as I think of this dream, hope lifts me, blowing a little more life into the spark inside.
For a moment I wish it was true, and the spark whispers,
So I do.
If you are like me, and suffer from anxiety, self-doubt and high sensitivity, perhaps you might also benefit from dreaming – and writing. I use this journal to let go of my doubts and fears, and work toward my dreams >>>>