High Functioning Anxiety-I’m still tired.

A little while back, I shared one of the traits of high functioning anxiety, being worried about disappointing people—all the time.  Always being tired is another.  This is a state of being that is constantly with me, no matter whether I’ve slept 7 hours or 4.  Sure, my day is far more manageable with 7 hours, but not because I feel any less exhausted.  The difference is more that there is less purple beneath my eyes and I might talk with a bit more cogency.  More sleep often means I’m a little less irritable and I’m more able to control random bouts of crying in public bathroom stalls.  The fatigue never really seems to be touched.  It’s in my brain and in my body, always, just with more fierceness on some days than others.  I distinctly remember a well meaning person asking how I was doing and I answered honestly that I was tired.  Their response was a face of shock followed by an exclamation about how that could be possible when I didn’t even have my kids the night before.  Needless to say, the worry about disappointing people is exacerbated when others act as if I’ve done something wrong or need to be doing something differently because I’m worn down.  It’s risky to share openly about being tired.  If I’m too honest, I might come across as lazy, unwilling to work, entitled, or any other combination of insults leveled at people who appear to not work as hard as others think they should.  If I’m not honest, I risk ignoring my body’s need to rest.  Too many days of ignoring may lead to other more problematic issues.  The brain’s natural fight or flight thinking is engaged significantly more often in the minds of those with anxiety.  That work, the constant subconscious effort to be ready to make a split-second decision to be defensive and hide or be offensive and attack, causes both physical and emotional exhaustion.  Some of us with anxiety were relieved when the pandemic came, because we felt less alone.  Others who didn’t know how we felt previously began to understand what it feels like to never feel like you’ll ever have energy again.  It is rainy and cold today.  Despite getting over 8 hours of sleep last night, I fell asleep in my recliner at 1 in the afternoon.  I eventually woke up and moved to my bed and slept some more, waking up only after I missed a phone call.  In the time I was resting, I missed 4 text messages and the call that acted as my alarm.  It’s 5 days before Christmas and I’ll probably need a nap every day until then and some after.  It might look like I’m not trying hard enough, but I’m tired because I’m trying so much more than most people realize.  More than maybe even I’m aware of…

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