How I Cope With High Functioning Anxiety

Hi everyone. I'm Laurie. I'm often described as bubbly and full of personality. I love to make people laugh and often try to see the positive side of all things. 

and I suffer from High Functioning severe anxiety. 

This post has been started and deleted an excessive number of times. Why? Maybe because Anxiety is something that most people don't want to talk about. It feels like a cop out I guess to some extent. It feels like I have no right to be talking about suffering from something so "minor" when people out there are dealing with "real issues". Sometimes I feel like I should get out of my head and just talk myself out of a bad mood. 

While some days, I try to do just that- I put on a smile, post something funny on the internet, make a list of all the good things in my life and pretend to move on. 

But in my mind? In my mind I'm still struggling. 
"Nothing is wrong with you." I'll say to myself. "Anxiety doesn't exist, it's just an excuse." 
I've actually heard both of those things. And I'm curious to know why people that don't suffer with this think that we WANT to feel this way? No. I want to be happy and bubbly ALL THE TIME. Who wants to feel down on themselves? But the truth is, when Anxiety hits. It hits hard, and no matter how badly you want to get out of your head, you can't. You can pretend of course. But it's still there. Floating around like a virus, sucking you in and making you believe all the things your mind is telling you. 

"You're not good enough."

"You're a Bad Mom, A Bad Wife, A Bad Friend."

I often wonder why I still feel these things no matter how badly I try to battle them. No matter how many positive quotes I read or how much I pray. 

I know people with Anxiety are reading this. I also know you too have probably felt embarrassed for feeling a certain way. Like you didn't have the right to be sad. You often wondered if it actually was just an excuse or something you've made up. 

If you're anything like me, of course you wish there was a magic button to just turn "off" these feelings. 

And while I certainly don't have a cure for your feelings, I'm going to share with you a few things that do help me when I'm struggling with my thoughts and emotions. 

1. Prayer-
I know I know, this is hard if you don't believe in God, and I'm not at all judging you. I haven't always believed in the God that most speak of, a greater power I believe in, obviously. However, it wasn't until I got pretty sick with a medical issue that I truly turned to God and he helped me. 

Since then, I've been able to ask him to help guide me through my dark days and help to lift me up when I was having a bad day. It always works. I feel comforted knowing that I''m not alone in this. No matter how much I feel like I am sometimes. 

2. Make a List-
Sounds counter productive for us suffering, doesn't it? You mean ADD to my already long list of things I feel like I'll never accomplish? No. I'm asking you to make a list of all the GOOD in your life. It doesn't have to be anything big. Where you able to take a shower this morning with hot running water? GOOD. Sometimes, even the fact that you're able to get up out of bed is a GOOD thing.

Making this list almost always helps. It helps me focus on the good instead of the bad I keep hearing in my head. Even if I don't fully believe it when I'm writing my list, at the end of it, I always feel thankful. For even the smallest of things. 

3. Talk to a friend-
This always helps me. I have one friend who suffers from similar things I do and it's always nice when we can get together and chat and remind ourselves we aren't alone with our feelings. People with anxiety are often times anti-social, so it's hard to remind ourselves how important it is to have people in our lives that understand us, it's also good to surround yourself with positive people who lift you up. I strongly believe that you are who you hang out with, so if you want to be a more positive person then hang out with more positive people. The thoughts you have will soon get better. The way you look at things in general will improve. 

4. CRY.
I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, WHAT? Is this girl nuts? Didn't she say this was her "advice" on dealing with anxiety? Ladies, I can't tell you how often I've wanted to curl up in a ball and cry for no reason. How many times I've locked myself in the bathroom with the water on so no-one could hear me, how many times I've woken up with a tear stained. Sometimes, we all just need a good cry. Even if we don't truly know why we're crying. 

LIFE. It can be so hard sometimes. Even the happiest life and moments can't make up for the fact that some of us feel so much pressure all the time. Be the perfect Mom, Have the perfect house, The perfect relationship, The perfect kids. Perfect. What a horrible word. There is no such thing as a Perfect anything and we need to come to terms with that. At the end of the day the only thing we can do is give it our best, and if we didn't, then we try again tomorrow.

5. Read a Positive Book-
Every morning, before I check my phone, my e-mail or anything else. I read an exert from this lovely little book right here. It almost always helps me with whatever I'm dealing with. Starting the day out on a positive note sets the tone on how the whole day will be. You can also try jotting down in a journal something positive that happened that day. And when you're feeling really down on yourself you can go back and remind yourself of all the good that's happened to you recently. This helps me so much on my hard days!

6. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE-
So many days I want to curl up and not step foot outside my "bubble" but it's so important for us to get out "in the world". A trip to Target with Savanna, Having Lunch out with a friend. Even if it's only for an hour- just get out! When you suffer with anxiety oftentimes the last thing you want to do is be around people- but it's so important to get out and socialize. It helps us feel like people.

7. Start A Project-
Often just painting can help me get out of my head. Creating beautiful things and spaces, makes me happy.

At the end of the day, not everyone is going to understand what you struggle with. You can't expect them too. So you just have to learn to manage and cope by loving and giving and smiling. I could easily let this defeat me, and some days, I'm not happy to admit that I do. But for the most part, I fight it. I'm not going to give in. 
I'm going to focus on the good. 

Thank you so much for letting me share my life with you, and allowing me to be raw, open and real. I hope that you know you're truly not alone! Feel free to send me a message if you want to chat on Instagram, Facebook or drop me a comment below. 
XO
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14 comments

  1. I was diagnosed with GAD back in 2005. It was BAD at the time. I've since gotten it more under control, but panic attacks still happen here and there. Over the dumbest things sometimes. For example, if we're driving in the rain and Tim doesn't turn the wipers on "in time," I feel like I'm suffocating. It's such a stupid thing to freak out over, but it happens. So I feel you! You gave great tips here! A few other things that have helped me... avoiding caffeine and alcohol when my anxiety is high, drinking chamomile tea, and our dog (when he's not being an a-hole). (On another note, sorry I've been MIA! Trying to catch up!)

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  2. Thank you for being open and sharing your struggles with the world, you are brave and powerful for doing so! I too struggle with anxiety and have only very recently started sharing it with anyone other than a few very close friends. There are always more people dismissing the issues than helping or supporting it seems, but you've given some great suggestions, many of which I use as well. I've recently started learning about mindfulness, and have found incredible strength and support in this process, I recommend looking into it for anyone struggling with anxiety, just reading some books, online research or better yet find a practitioner or facilitator to guide you if possible. Another thing I stumbled upon totally accidentally, while trying to treat headaches actually, are "daith" piercings (little piece of cartilage in the ear), it's based on an acupuncture point and I had both ears done, instantly noticed relief!! It hasn't "cured" me of anxiety by any means but lowered my overall level and made a big improvement on my panic attacks and length of them etc. I recommend looking into those as well if people are open to the idea of a small and barely noticeable piercing in the ears! Best of luck to you Laurie, you are a wonderful inspiration to so many of us out here, keep up the amazing work!!

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  3. Laurie,first,thank you for sharing your story. I also suffer from anxiety and then add depression on top and I'm a hot mess 75% of the time. I am my biggest critic! I'm constantly in my head about my body, my clothing and while I love the IG community, it is now one of those things adding to my anxiety. I do things to the beat of my own drum and when I see all these beautiful homes, I stress!! Sometimes I feel as if my home isn't as warm, inviting or as clean. Sometimes it's just added pressure and what really stinks, when I was younger, I wouldn't have cared. I have so many health issues to worry about and now for some unknown reason, I stress about having something to stress about! My hubs tells me this all the time. Anyway, thank you again for opening the discussion (this is the first time I've discussed my issues publicly, so to speak). We need to meet sometime, we're not really far from one another. (IG: our_dirt_road_life)

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  4. It's so comforting to read this! I too suffer from this! I have a 15,10, and 7yr old, and I've been a stay at home Mom for 15 years often feeling your same emotions. I struggle daily and it's an exhausting battle. My weaknesses are anxiety over parenting,being a perfect wife and mother, keeping a perfect home, staying fit, and being social. The older I get, the smaller my friends circle gets. I even have anxiety about grocery shopping. There's constant worry. I just want to feel joy and carefree, and I know I can make that happen. I have to unlock it in my head. Thank you for sharing your story. 😘

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  5. It's so comforting to read this! I too suffer from this! I have a 15,10, and 7yr old, and I've been a stay at home Mom for 15 years often feeling your same emotions. I struggle daily and it's an exhausting battle. My weaknesses are anxiety over parenting,being a perfect wife and mother, keeping a perfect home, staying fit, and being social. The older I get, the smaller my friends circle gets. I even have anxiety about grocery shopping. There's constant worry. I just want to feel joy and carefree, and I know I can make that happen. I have to unlock it in my head. Thank you for sharing your story. 😘

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  6. You are so brave to share your story, Laurie! I have never been officially diagnosed with anxiety, but I do experience it from time to time. Since I've had kids it seems to have become more frequent and the older I get, the worse it seems to get. It's definitely a scary and miserable feeling and I'm praying that I can keep mine at bay. I love all of your suggestions for controlling it, though!

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  7. Great post, I have anxiety as well and it can be very crippling! I am also a bubbly and outgoing person.

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  8. YES. I definitely fit into this group. Getting out of the house is key for me, too. You are helping so many by sharing. Thank you!

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  9. Laurie,first,thank you for sharing your story. I also suffer from anxiety and then add depression on top and I'm a hot mess 75% of the time. I am my biggest critic! I'm constantly in my head about my body, my clothing and while I love the IG community, it is now one of those things adding to my anxiety. I do things to the beat of my own drum and when I see all these beautiful homes, I stress!! Sometimes I feel as if my home isn't as warm, inviting or as clean. Sometimes it's just added pressure and what really stinks, when I was younger, I wouldn't have cared. I have so many health issues to worry about and now for some unknown reason, I stress about having something to stress about! My hubs tells me this all the time. Anyway, thank you again for opening the discussion (this is the first time I've discussed my issues publicly, so to speak). We need to meet sometime, we're not really far from one another. (IG: our_dirt_road_life)

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  10. This is so honest and relatable! I feel like I never had anxiety until becoming a mother. It can be crippling!

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  11. Anxiety is so tough to deal with! I have also found that physically making a list of the good is a powerful way to change thinking patterns. Thanks for sharing your tips :)

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story. I also battle with anxiety. I have my good days and bad days. And I am always looking for ways to cope with it.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing! No one truly knows what is going on behind closed doors and no one should judge anything. So many good tips here for anyone, I think.

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  14. Great post and I can certainly relate. I have bouts of anxiety and depression and they are horrible. When it happens I feel like I'm never gonna be happy again. Your suggestions were spot on. Prayer is #1 for me. I find that journaling helps and I swear by Magnesium and Epsom salt baths. I do a ton of research when I'm suffering and found that most people are deficient in Magnesium and the result can be anxiety. Supplementing with the right can has helped me immensely.

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