Pain in my chest that caused me to roll into a ball and cry. Pulse out the roof. Mind foggy. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was 16.
I told my mom and we went to the doctor. We did the EKG's, and stress tests to figure out what was going on. When the doctor came back he said, she is just having anxiety. JUST having anxiety!? How could this just be anxiety when I felt like it was burning a hole in my chest?
I ended up going on meds for it until my freshman year of college. On the outside I'm sure I looked all perfectly put together. I had great grades, worked two jobs, was working towards collegiate cheerleading, all the things.
But on the inside I was dying. I caught myself struggling with procrastination and lack of focus, feeling like I had to constantly be perfect, fear of failure and dissapointment from those around me, constant overthinking, an inability to say no, and mental and physical fatigue.
This is high functioning anxiety.
Today I still struggle with this. I struggle with emotional connections for fear of letting people down. I struggle in following through with my own plans for the future. I can't think too far out or I get overwhelmed and completely shut down. I have to have a very structured but flexible schedule. Doesn't make sense right? I have to have a to do list for the day and week but flexibility to do each task as my mental health allows.
This anxiety isnt something we can just turn off, but there are a few things I have introduced into my own life to help me cope with this:
1. Establish a good morning routine
Lay out everyones clothes
Start Coffee Pot
Hot Shower to help me wake up
Get Dressed and Pack for Work
Daycare Drop off
Morning Confidence Journal Worksheet (subscribe to the blog and get this for FREE)
2. Start setting boundaries
a. Have a strict calendar that outlines work, family time and alone time
- I have both digital and paper copies
- We also have a shared family google calendar
b. Say no to things that don't serve you
c. Set boundaries with the toxic people around you.
3. Self Care: Find things that you enjoy and spend 15 minutes a day doing it
a. Dance parties! Often done while doing dishes after work
b. Read a good book
c. Take a hot bath
d. In bed by 10:30
e. Find a way to get outside and exersize. My favorite: Weekend hikes!
All in all, the best thing that you can do if struggling with high functioning anxiety: Take care of yourself! Listen to your body and bran and give them what they need. You are your own greatest asset. Treat yourself that way.