Not good enough

A gorgeous, successful Facebook friend shared a story on her newsfeed earlier this week called “Living with High-Functioning Anxiety.”

Reading it was a reminder that while there are unicorns in my daffodil paddock, there are still demons.

In the article, Sarah Schuster writes: “High functioning anxiety sounds like: You’re not good enough. You’re a bad friend. You’re not good at your job. You’re wasting time. You’re a waste of time. Your boyfriend doesn’t love you. You’re so needy. What are you doing with yourself? Why would you say that? What if they hate it? Why can’t you have your shit together? You’re going to get anxious and because you’re going to get anxious, you’re going to mess everything up. You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it. You’re letting everybody down. No one here likes you.”

That’s how it sounds for me too.

It’s odd that I listen to what it says, because I am a very sensible person. I’ve spent my life getting on with things, being determined and productive and measured and calm.

I’ve managed to convince myself that my high-functioning anxiety is nothing. I don’t have panic attacks, which is what comes to mind when someone says “anxiety”. There’s just a permanent knot in my chest and a brain that’s constantly whirring and fretting.

I tell myself that everyone is like that.

But then I’ll ask DD what he’s thinking and he’ll say “nothing” and add that his head is completely clear.

My head is never completely clear. How can someone’s head be completely clear? I can’t begin to imagine what that feels like.

Nup, not possible.

My view could be skewed by being a blogger. High-functioning anxiety is VERY common in the blogging community.

I think it’s because, as Sarah notes, the anxiety is: “Always looking for the next outlet, something to channel the never-ending energy. Writing. Running. List-making. Mindless tasks (whatever keeps you busy). Doing jumping jacks in the kitchen. Dancing in the living room, pretending it’s for fun, when really it’s a choreographed routine of desperation, trying to tire out the thoughts stuck in your head.

“All the while, it appears perfectly calm.”

I’m so much better than I was. Joy often shoves aside the anxiety and tells it to take a hike.

Sometimes, I don’t just appear perfectly calm. Sometimes I am.

I love those moments.

How about you?

Song of the day: Kate Bush “Cloudbusting”






11 thoughts on “Not good enough

  1. Constantly have too many tabs open and rarely know how to shut them down I wish it was as easy as it is on the computer!
    Cannot even comprehend what that empty feeling is like! Even when I feel empty on the inside my head is still super full and busy it NEVER stops! xo

  2. I can sit with nothing in my head easily. But I do think ‘over achievers’ tend to have this problem you describe…so it’s a good thing…it probably spurs you along…more than the ‘blank heads’ like me.

  3. I live with a knot in my tummy on most days. Have for a very long time. Most people I know are gobsmacked if I tell them this. Most of us are expert actors. And the wonderful thing is that forcing a smile and a chat, even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing, actually CAN REALLY help make you feel ok. I don’t tell many. Depression and anxiety are still highly stigmatised complaints. Regardless of all the RUOK type initiatives, I can’t see them ever being de stigmatised. I guess the healthiest way of coping is to just get on with life.

  4. Hi Alana, yep, I’ve never had a blank head. It must be blissful. I don’t have a knot in my chest all the time (some days yes), but the head is constantly whirring and often fretting about one thing or another! I think Sarah Schuster has hit the nail on the head! I think writing helps.

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