Today I read an article titled: “What it’s like to have ‘high-functioning anxiety.” After reading the first two lines, I knew that I was meant to stumble across this post. It starts off stating that high-functioning anxiety looks like Achievement, Busyness, and Perfectionism. Well, I’m a 23-year old college graduate and home-owner who has been in a healthy, happy relationship for nearly 7 years. I drive a car that I like, I have a job at a successful, growing business, and I am able to travel at least 1-2 times a year. I do not have any student loans to pay off, and I am making enough money where I can still contribute to my savings, while also being able to treat myself to my iced coffee every day. Looks like achievement right? The perfectionism comes in when you start digging into each of those “achievements.” I have been at my job for just over 2 years and I have been promoted twice. The upstairs of my house pretty much just looks like staged rooms, rather than an actual home where people live. Downstairs is a bit more “home-y,” but I am constantly straightening up and cleaning to try to achieve the same look we have upstairs. Now all of this may sound really appealing to people, which I understand. Doesn’t everyone want to have a clean home and be progressing in their job? Well there is a lot more to that.
The article goes on to discuss the nervous habits of people who suffer from anxiety, and also the social aspect of being anxious. For me, I would not say I am socially anxious, because I feel like I can get along with people easily; but I will say I have to mentally prepare myself for any event. With that being said, last-minute plans are hard for me. I am used to a routine and making plans, and when something disrupts the plan, it is difficult for me to adapt quickly. In the article, the author writes: “The panic that flashes through my eyes when a plan changes. When anything changes.” That, right there, is what hit me. About a month ago, my boyfriend and I had left a friend’s house and when we were almost home I realized I had left my purse at their house, and I immediately started to panic. My heart was racing, I became sweaty and I was very agitated. My boyfriend was calm and was telling me it was not a big deal (I mean we only live about 20 min away from each other), but for me it was, because that was something I wasn’t anticipating. This is just one example of many.
The problem with this type of anxiety, in my opinion, is people think that you don’t need help. Sometimes I feel that people are just seeing a responsible perfectionist who has everything in order, but there is so much going on underneath the surface. There are times when I feel that my friends are only taking me at face-value, and maybe the problem is that I am not open enough about these feelings. I have been really in my head these last few weeks, and I am evaluating myself as well as my relationships. I have been beating myself up, wondering if I am a good enough friend or a good enough person, but I have realized that no one should feel that way in any relationship. Although I may still be working on my mental health, I still know that I am a good person, and I can’t let others allow me to doubt my self-worth. I am genuinely compassionate towards others, and I am always putting everyone else first. The problem is, that is where I can lose myself. As I have mentioned before, I can get too wrapped up in people’s emotions to the point where I will set mine aside and completely ignore them.
In addition to ignoring my feelings, I also have a bad habit of holding in a lot of feelings/thoughts I have. I do this for a number of reasons, the main one being I never want to hurt someone’s feelings. Now, I am not saying I have a bunch of hurtful, malicious thoughts towards people, but I am saying some of the thoughts I have can be taken the wrong way. A vague example is when I told my friend an idea of how to make things less stressful for her during this situation she is going through, but with the way she responded and the fact that she has not talked to me in weeks, I think its safe to say I offended her. A couple of years ago another friend and I had a falling out, and at the end of the friendship I told her that I felt like she did not appreciate her parents or everything they did for her. Well, she decided that was me saying terrible things about her family. All I was doing was sharing an observation, considering she fought with her parents in front of me all the time, but apparently it was more than that. So with all of that being said, I just keep thoughts inside.
As I have been evaluating myself and my friendships, I will say the one thing I regret is not being more open and honest about certain things. Even if there is that possibility of them reacting poorly, there is also the chance that they will take on a different perspective and try to understand where I am coming from. I have come to the realization that I cannot have friends who make me feel like I need to walk on eggshells around them. If there is something bothering me, I cannot pretend that everything is fine in order to spare feelings or avoid a fight, because in my opinion, that is being a bad friend. I should be able to be open and honest about my thoughts with my friends, even if that means having a conversation/debate. I should be able to explain why something hurt me or bothered me, without feeling guilty about having those feelings.
Ultimately, my goal is to be happy and free. I do not want to be questioning my thoughts or my friendships. I do not want to feel guilty or feel that I cannot open up. If that means ending certain friendships, then that is what it means. We all continue to grow and to learn, and sometimes you will discover that not everyone is beneficial to your life or to your progress, and it is okay to move on. I am the only person guaranteed to be with me until my dying day, so I have to do what is best for me. ♡