What it's like to work with someone with anxiety
If you have anxiety, you probably clicked this link with thoughts racing through your mind of what your co-workers really think of you. I know, because I have anxiety and I would do the same thing. If you are productive day in and day out despite your anxiety, you are stronger than you think. Don't let your own thoughts or people's reaction to your anxiety tell you otherwise. I have anxiety with a capital A. It's truly crippling. For those of you who don't understand it, here's what it feels like: physically, it's like having a constant hangover mixed with way too much caffeine. It's spending hours of your day pacing back and fourth. On bad days, it's throwing up first thing in the morning. Your palms are sweaty, you're short of breath and sometimes it feels like your chest and throat are caving in. Mentally, It's a thousand negative thoughts going through your mind even when you're having fun. It's playing out the worst case scenario of any situation, and actually believing it already happened. It's thinking you've done something wrong because you didn't get a text reply within a few minutes.
I decided to write this blog because for the first time in years, I somehow, magically haven't had anxiety for a few days. Honestly, I don't want this feeling to end but before it does, I want to write something inspirational for those of you who suffer with anxiety like I do.
If you are productive or successful and have anxiety, you are truly a superhero.
1. You don't let stuff fall through the cracks. Ask someone with anxiety to do you a favor and they will not forget about it. Why? Because we constantly store everything in our heads and we don't want to let anyone down. It may take us a while to get around to it because we've said "yes" to you and everyone else, but trust me, it's weighing heavy on our minds and it won't go away until the job is done. If we drop the ball... even if you don't notice or care, we never forget.
2. You don't miss deadlines. Someone with anxiety wouldn't dream of missing a deadline. In fact, you don't even have to give us deadlines. We put enough pressure on ourselves that the job would be done with or without a time frame.
3. You are a provider. Someone with anxiety doesn't only worry about themselves. It's not that easy. We worry about everything and everyone all the time. That being said, people around you will be taken care of if they show any signs of struggle. Whether they're hurting financially, need a ride to work, or simply need someone to talk to, we'll do everything we can to find a solution. And if we don't, we will think about it forever and pressure ourselves to make it up to them.
4. You are empathetic. Someone with anxiety can listen to people's problems without judgement. Even if their way of thinking is bat-shit crazy, we don't judge because we understand what it's like for people to think your thoughts aren't logical. If a co-worker is freaking out over something minor, it's easy for us to point out why they're thinking that way and get them through it. We may not be good at controlling our own thoughts, but we've dealt with our demons long enough to help others conquer theirs.
5. You're a great problem solver. Someone with anxiety can look at a situation from not only every angle, but also every possible scenario. Why? Because we have already thought about all the bad that could happen with every decision. Unfortunately, that's how our mind works. Lucky for your co-workers, you're able to point out potential risks quicker than anyone.
There is nothing positive about the way anxiety makes you feel. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis. Being one of those people, I finally decided to embrace who I am and try to manage my anxiety through positive thoughts and healthy habits.
Here are the top 3 things I do to control my anxiety:
- Eat cashews. Eating a handful of cashews is almost equivalent to taking a dose of prozac.
- Background music. Go to youtube and type in "Positive vibrations frequency" and chose a track. My favorite one is the 432Hz. You will be surprised at how different your workday goes listening to this in the background.
- Exercise: First thing in the morning. It's not easy to get up in the morning to workout but it's so worth it and makes a huge difference.
I hope that this blog made you smile and gave you at least 5 minutes to focus on yourself, your qualities and why people love you for who you are. Now, go kick anxiety's ass!
- Cheri Garcia, Founder, Cornbread Hustle