ANXIETY...........a story about me and maybe others
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
February 16, 2020 Facebook Post
I want to share a bit more from the filming of #whosontopdoc coming out soon to a film festival near you! People often don't realize I deal with anxiety, and I have developed a way to hide it... here is the inside scoop...
Part of the filming process discussed my battle with severe anxiety and hyper-vigilance (another post later). I wanted to share a bit about this struggle and how it affects my life... Hopefully, I am sharing this to help one of you and/or provide some insight for those of you who know someone suffering from this. Maybe when you meet somebody, this will give you some insight, and you can give a little leeway/understanding.
Anxiety - a close friend was recently chatting with me. She emotionally mentioned she felt terrible that I have to live life with this lens of anxiety. It struck me; I never realized that I have another "lens" that many people don't view life through. For example, I was running with some friends, and I asked them (I have asthma), so when do your lungs relax, like at which mile??? They looked at me like I had a horn growing out of my head. I realized at that time that most people don't experience running the same way. Just like anxiety, I experience life differently. I haven't known anything different. The following is what I feel, and I'm trying to simplify this significantly.
Every day almost every event, nearly every interaction, nearly every activity is heightened. Heightened in that I think of dozens of scenarios based on dozens of inputs. Hyper-vigilance (I promise to talk about later) is the laser focus on everything, everyone, every activity surrounding me, or within my "range." So with that, I am paying attention to every look, motion, word that you are saying or showing while focusing on everything else around me. While doing all of that, I am trying in every way to connect with you. All of this occurs while I am processing what I mentioned before. You see, all of those inputs and observations tend to overwhelm my senses and hinder my ability to process and be present. That's when I experience anxiety, which is my "animal brain" taking over (fight or flight), which is a physical manifestation of brain overload.
When all of this "wonderful" happens (hint: sarcasm), I have a hard time focusing, reacting, and being my true self. My ability to be vulnerable and authentic becomes VERY difficult. I often choose to build walls, create emotional distance, or make jokes creating a buffer to protect my overwhelmed system and self. Sometimes the inputs overwhelm me so much I become ineffective and cannot accomplish my goals. To combat all of this stuff, I have to use many tools such as breathing, refocusing, and processing using my "fact vs. emotion tool" while chatting with you.
That's a lot! You see, for me to connect with you, it takes a significant amount of my energy. How has this affected me? For years almost 38 (I'm guessing), I have dealt with this in some way. It has affected my ability to have friendships, work, social connections, and importantly, intimate relationships. I require an additional level of understanding and kindness that takes a strong and special guy to understand. People like me have sooooo much potential to co-create strong relationships, but we need people that see us and understand the unique, albeit frustrating lens we see and experience life through.
I have failed so often in my relationships due to my anxiety and hyper-vigilance and have missed out on great and amazing guys because I couldn't articulate my needs. When my system gets overwhelmed, I shut down, snapback, or move on in which I work on daily to rectify. I offer this insight, do not isolate yourself, live a big life (it makes the little things less impactful), share your unique attributes, and, most importantly, be authentic and vulnerable. Show each other a bit more love, understanding, and kindness. I am an amazing partner, a rock, a loving respite from a tough world with the right understanding man. You just need to see me with all my quirks and try and understand this "lens." This isn't just about me. It also translates to all the other people who are suffering or managing anxiety. It also touches those who don't have anxiety but have people similar to me in their life.
Lots of love all!
Please share in hopes of creating understanding.
Photo credits @fotobysilvia, Silvia V. Guevara, https://nosunrisewasted.com/whosontop,