People with anxiety, feel. Intensely. They feel their way through things, life, choices, people, everything. Feelings are their vehicle to experience the world. Also, most people with anxiety are empaths, high functioning or highly sensitive Empaths (HSEs) or HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). And these ones know what it is like to feel everything so intensely and they cannot do much to turn it down. They often feel helpless, overwhelmed and fatigued. So they try their best to control their environment. It all comes at a cost. Everything loud or too much gets them hoofing it to their favourite cosy place (away from crowds, their cave at home, the forest cabin, or simply shut off in their room).
People who do not know that they are living or dealing with an HSE/HSP will find them controlling, evasive, fickle, reclusive, eccentric, and “overly sensitive” (often used as a judgment). This is the cost sensitives, empaths and people with anxiety pay. They are judged and often by their closest ones.
Funnily, there are more of these people in the world than non-empaths. And, I don’t even feel that there are any non-empaths. There are people that are at various degrees of empath. They are either unaware or have not acknowledged it. The world can be a terrible place for them and even more so, as they try to fit in and constantly feel out of place. So how can you tell whether you are an empath or sensitive?
Anxiety is your constant companion. Chest heaviness, the pit of stomach churning, fluttering in the belly, thoughts racing, and easy distraction are also common. Oh, and don’t forget, crazy made up doomsday nightmares in waking hours (or when you really want to sleep).
You love being in an intimate and deep relationship, but too much of closeness, time spent with the other or too much physical closeness can result in overwhelm or a need to push away and get some space to breathe. If this isn’t acknowledged and communicated effectively, it can result in the other person feeling wrong or rejected. This one is easily sort-out-able. Eg: I often tell my partner or close friend that I am in “hermit” mode or he expresses it when he needs space too. The social mode is called “People- mode”
You can listen to someone deeply. In fact you “get” a lot more than what they are saying, words they aren’t speaking and things they aren’t expressing are received well by you. They also may feel either very comfortable at being seen, heard and understood or if it is a person who is new to you, they may feel like you are looking right through them and may never want to meet you again.
You can tend to overreact to situations or people and feel something is wrong with you. It isn’t. You are picking up subtle unexpressed lies or manipulations from the other. Even they are not aware that they are doing this. And they mostly aren’t. So know that you know something is off. Acknowledge!!
You dislike crowds, loud noises, intense situations, violence of any kind, extended periods of time with people, strong smells or odours, jarring or grating sounds, and some of these may even trigger emotional responses. People around may think you’re a bit nutty.
You cannot seem to turn the caring off! Even with people you dislike or let go of in your life. You still think about them and hope they are ok and then bury your head in your hands wondering what the heck is wrong with you? You left them for a reason but they manage to stay in your head.
You constantly need time off, peace, solitude, crave to connect with nature, be with animals, you cannot consistently “people” even with loved ones. And after prolonged exposure to other human beings, you need to retreat into your cave for recharge. Animals make better consistent company than humans.
Fatigue, burnout, lethargy, and mood swings are just some of your regular emotional states.
You find that people love to talk to you or confide in you and you mostly agree to it out of a sense of knowing of their deep loneliness and are unable to draw a healthy boundary with them and say no. You would be an awful person if you said no to someone in need.
Now all of this can lead to anxiety. So how in the world could anxiety be a good thing?
Here’s the flip side.
We live in a world filled with automated, goal-oriented doers. They’ve created a structure in which others have to fit in or be left out and succumb to loneliness or worse, depression.
Automation is where your mind tells you how you are supposed to be in order to fit in. What you are supposed to desire, have, be, do, feel and so on. How you are also supposed to hold it all together and not lose it so you can be seen as trustworthy and reliable by those around you. Within these automated actors, lies a bunch of people with swirling tornadoes occurring within them of emotions, sensations, feelings, thoughts and responses to their environment and they struggle to control these external stimulants that leave them fatigued by the end of the day with the thought in their head “why am I like this?”
If it wasn’t for these wonderful weirdos, there would be no poetry, songs, music, films, books, art, healing and even in structured forms of well being there are HSEs with anxiety such as doctors and nurses. These are the fools that actually teach you how to be a human being. How wonderfully muddled, chaotic, sensitive, caring we can be as a species. Most suffer from anxiety and I use the word suffer because I know what that helplessness is like. But that’s where it’s a good thing.
If you have anxiety, know that you aren’t a robot. Know that you are that crazy one that just feels everything intensely and struggles to get off this spinning mechanical bull you’ve been on just to be able to feel grounded and calm for a second.
That bite of chocolate feels like mini explosions in your mouth, inspiring music gives your entire body goosebumps, you feel love with every cell in your being vibrating, when you paint you want to drown in it to create it (yes you could eat that paint) you also want to scream shut up to the world at times because you have forgotten what true silence felt like, so you could just be. So here’s my advice.
Don’t try to turn anything off, your awareness, your intensity, your being, your mind, nothing. Don’t control your environment either. Yes, anxiety is good because it’s a sign that you feel. We need more feelers in this world. But what you aren’t doing enough is expressing it. Through words, creativity, art, writing, dance, acting, and so much more. Anxiety is a symptom of your entire inexpressiveness. Anxiety is not the problem. The way you are in total lack of awareness, acknowledgement and embracing of your emapathness and sensitivity is the deeper problem and anxiety is the symptom of it.
Anxiety is a good thing. It means that something is right with you. You are the right kind of human being. The one that cares enough, creates enough, is grateful enough, passionate enough, feeling enough, listens enough, intense enough and well…just enough. You are enough.
The rest of the world needs to figure out the “how” to fit in with you. Not the other way around. That will make you anxious. And when you lay in bed at night with sleep overpowering your eyes, yet your brain is zipping at 1000 miles an hour, just smile and know you are in all probability feeling everything around you like a radio antenna and relax that this is how you are designed. Your fight to sleep is what’s giving you sleepless nights. You won’t be this way if you weren’t chosen to do something with it. It’s a gift. So learn what you can do with these amazing gifts you can instead of labelling them as wrong and calling it anxiety.
I see you. Clearly. You’re gorgeous.