The lovely ladies of Sol Sisters took to IG live to dissolve the stigma surrounding anxiety. As someone who continues to suffer from it, I was especially happy they did this. I was also surprised. I wasn’t surprised that smart, involved, cultured, successful, and social women had anxiety. I think on the surface, that’s what I look like. I was surprised at the specificity of it.
From what I watched, it seemed as if most of the women experienced what is called “High-functioning anxiety disorder”. Although I understood what it meant, I didn’t believe in it. To me, the words “functioning” and “anxiety” are oxymorons and do not belong in the same sentence. Surely if you have anxiety, you cannot function. And if you are able to function, then you don’t really have anxiety.
After hearing my best friend talk about how she packs her days with meetings after chai dates after lunch dates after gym sessions after happy hours, with all the stress and anxiety in between, my initial thought was “DUDE, BE EASY, you’re making shit way harder for yourself”.
This is something in a million years I thought I would never say to her. I am the one who can’t get my life together while she is balancing mother, friend, sister, girlfriend, community, gym, and VP duties gracefully like a Cirque du Soleil act. Yet, here I am with a full plate as well, but taking my time to eat.
I felt that anyone who experienced high-functioning anxiety like this did it entirely to themselves. Don’t want to spread yourself too thin? Don’t say “yes” to everything. Don’t fill up your planner with blocks for the sake of being busy. It’s so simple right? Of course not.
I was being apathetic and hypocritical. I was being an asshole. Although not a diagnoses, high-functioning anxiety disorder is real. The feelings, the anxiety, the pressure, and the break downs are REAL. Just ask the thousands of people experiencing it every single day.
Watching the stories on the Sol Sisters account, was a well needed reminder that not everyone’s struggle looks the same. While some may not be as extreme as others, it doesn’t make it any less important. It’s not a competition. I mean, who really wants to win the “So you wanna know some fucked up shit?” contest?
One person’s struggle is just THAT – one person’s struggle. Sharing the same struggle lets us know that we are not alone, but we don’t have to understand each other’s mental health journey in order to support it.