Love List

2 October 2016

High functioning anxiety looks like nail biting, nervous habits, shaking my legs, playing with my hair, but it can also look like this:

If you look close enough you'll see it unanswered text messages, nervous laughter, slight panic when plans change or you're put into an unknown and different situation. If you look close enough, you'll see that a smile can hide quite a lot.

What does high functioning anxiety feel like?

Well, it feels like there's an elephant sat on your chest, like you want to breath but you can't, like my brain confuses someone trying to speak to me with a knife being held to my throat.
It's kind of like that flight or fight response, but for someone with high functioning's always flight.

Your head is a dangerous place to be, common thoughts are always; i'm not good enough, you're wasting your time, you're a bad friend, a bad girlfriend, he'll find someone better, why can't you just be normal? Why did you say that? No one cares? Okay, panic, that will make things better. You're letting everyone down.

Panic attacks

If the nervous habits, anxious thoughts and self loathing wasn't enough, anxiety can also lead to full blown panic attacks.

The best way to describe a panic attack, is simply to imagine your whole body feels like there is something wrong, you want to run, scream, cry, anything, but you can't, because you can't breath.

You feel like your suffocating, drowning in your own thoughts and panic, and there is nothing you can do...unless like me you have some diazepam or a brown bag around to slow your breathing.

What does someone with high functioning anxiety want you to know and understand?

When I get invited to something, by immediate response is panic, yes I like being invited to things, social events, family meals etc. but there is a constant battle going on inside my head, and most of the time, the anxiety wins. 
On the rare occasion that it doesn't its out of fear of letting your friends/boyfriends/family etc down, or out of fear of missing out all the time.

It's a constant battle of not being sure if people like you, or if they just pity you, so don't be offended if it feels like we always need reassurance. 

Sometimes social situations where we have to be around a lot of people can be a nightmare, we may become reserved, or weirdly very confident and outgoing, because we feel like we need to be, we feel like we need to hide the panic that's going on inside our heads.

Yes, I get scared to pay for things in a shop, to ask for help, to do simple things like order food over the phone, my mind will be going crazy, there may be slight panic in my eyes, but my face will appear perfectly calm. 
So, please do not tell me I'm being silly, or I need to grow up, because for us, this is the scariest of things to deal with on a day to day basis.

Anxiety and me

I have had anxiety for roughly 6-7 years, but only got diagnosed by a doctor within the last year. 
I have to take medication every day, and some days this still isn't enough.

The Katie you see on the outside, on social media, she has it all together, great friends, a great boyfriend, supportive family etc.
But the Katie that I am every day, and in my head, has to have my life a certain way, I have to keep busy, I can't sit still for long, or be left alone for too long, because my mind and the panicking will drive me crazy.

Yes, I have high functioning anxiety, and way more people than you'd think are dealing with these struggles and many more every day.

What can you do to help you may ask? It's simple, just be there, be supportive, and be as understanding as you can be. And if you know someone that is suffering with anxiety, or even depression, please encourage them to get help.
This is a kindness that will go such a long way.

Kt x

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