I haven’t been doing very well. I think that having to be “on” most days, doing groups, teaching, being in class, etc, is all just taking a toll on me. I knew this semester would be trying, but I didn’t realize how assaulted I would feel. It has been hard for me to get out of bed most days with school, work, and what is going on in my personal life on top of everything.
I feel like I live a sort of double life for a variety of reasons. I am somehow able to continue being productive with school work, sometimes doing just the bar minimum to get by, but what I do end up doing, I feel I do well… so that’s good. But, people don’t really see the struggle. They don’t see me wishing I could just stay in bed, not out of laziness, but out of simply the faceless fear that anxiety gifts you. Sometimes it could be the simple fear of having a panic attack around people, fear of not having energy to make it through the day, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of failing, fear of forgetting something important, fear of doing something irreparable, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of looking/appearing disgusting to others, fear of appearing pathetic to others, fear of not ever doing anything I want to do-like writing creatively, fear of not knowing what to do or say, fear of not living up to people’s expectations, fear of running out of time, fear of people finding out I’m not as good as they think I am, and on and on and on.
FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR
I feel that the reputation I have built for myself is undeserved. And though I often have a stoic/calm outward disposition, there’s often a tornado in my head, which I think is why it is so hard for people to understand that I have anxiety. I have heard people comment on how successful, pretty, smart, X Y Z that I am … but none of that matters. Most days I don’t think that about myself, so what everyone else thinks is irrelevant. I’ve been trying to work on that, sometimes I have good days, lately there have been more bad ones, where I’m just exhausted and want to stay in bed. It’s hard knowing that there is a very stark mismatch between the outside and the inside of myself… but I do know that if I were to unload on people, it would just be too much. It has proven so in the past, and now it seems to be unproductive for me. They seem to not understand, or not believe it, so I now normally reserve such discussions for a therapist, which is sometimes beneficial. I don’t know. I do feel like if people knew the truth/ what I really think and feel about myself and the world, they would be worried. Maybe rightfully so, but for now I’m just doing the best that I can. Sometimes the face of anxiety doesn’t look anxious at all, sometimes the face just looks blank, normal, unanimated. Sometimes the face of anxiety is not in the face at all, its your dry mouth, chest hurting, hands feeling numb or thrumming with static electricity and dread, or it could be not going out to meet people because you’re too exhausted, not because you don’t care about them or their lives, but because you know that in order to function at all on the other days of the week, you need time for yourself–otherwise there may be days where you actually CAN’T get out of bed. I’ve been there. So people may not understand, and they don’t have to. It would be nice if they did, but if you know you’re doing the best you can, then I suppose that’s all that matters. Because that’s all you can do anyway.