Sucking it Up isn’t Serving Us.

2020 has thrust us out of our comfort zones and into a world of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. And yet, people with High Functioning Anxiety continue to pressure themselves to do better, be better, and improve.

When life gets out of control, we double down on hustling. We amp up our need to be in control by controlling our behavior and maybe even those around us. We don’t give ourselves a pass; we only engage in self-care in the hopes it will help our productivity; we don’t do all the things we need to feel better; we double down on all the unhealthy coping skills.

We do this because our coping mechanisms have served us for years. Feel stressed? Make improvements. Feel out of control? Seek control wherever you can find it. Feel incompetent? Double down on accomplishment.

Coping skills work. They make us feel better for the short term. They are necessary for our survival. AND they don’t work in the long term. Clearly, 2020 is here for the long term.

I have read countless articles on coping with anxiety during these times, as I am sure you have. We KNOW the answers:

  • Move your body.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Limit the news.
  • Do breathing exercises.
  • Give yourself some grace.

I even shared some of these tips a few weeks ago.

But the issue I am seeing with High Functioning Anxiety individuals is we are Sucking it up, Buttercup. Instead, we are “fine”; we are “hanging in there”; we are “struggling and oh so grateful”; we are, as I said to a friend this week, “counting our blessings, blah blah blah.”

We aren’t going there. 

We are skimming the surface of what is happening. 

We are not allowing ourselves to FEEL ANYTHING.

Because someone has it worse, my problems aren’t as bad; I shouldn’t feel this way, blah, blah, blah.

We aren’t going there because it is too hard to go there and still do all the things we need to do in our day to day world. OR at least that what we tell ourselves because that is one of our coping mechanisms.

We have convinced ourselves that going there, being honest with ourselves, owning the fact:

  • that we are struggling with homeschooling
  • DONE being home with our spouse all the time
  • exhausted by wearing a mask everywhere we go,
  • discouraged and overwhelmed by the news.
  • And honestly don’t know how much more we can take.

Will take us down and leave us incapacitated.

Even in those rare moments when we allow ourselves to express our pain, we cover all that up with:

  • “We are so blessed.”
  • “I don’t have anything to complain about; I mean people are suffering.”

It’s ok to be sad, out of control, overwhelmed, and tired. Working with people who have High Functioning Anxiety, I know we have a survival skill of sucking things ups out, which has served us.

But here’s the caveat; it serves us in the short run. Denial, numbing, not going there is not a long term survival strategy, and we need a LONG term survival strategy.

This week befriend yourself. Allow yourself a time and place to let it out, cry, scream, throw things. Vent to a friend, write out all the injustices you are experiencing, and don’t tie it up with a pretty little bow. Experience your life; all of it the mess, the laughter, the fear, and pain.

I encourage you to notice when your HFA coping skill of sucking it up is kicking in and ask yourself—Hey Sweetpea, can I add some wiggle room here? Can I give myself some kindness?

When your Monger steps in to tell you to suck it up and keep plowing forward (which she will definitely do), lovingly remind yourself with all the things happening in the world, getting by is ok. Anger, sadness, doubt, and pettiness it is all part of the deal. You are not selfish or ungrateful, you are a kind-hearted human being who is experiencing very human emotions. Allow those. They will pass. ​

You can be doing your best and still have a to-do list a mile long is ok. You got this, Sweetpea. You are a loyal, kind, generous person who is doing the best you can with what you have.

This is why I love my Coach In Your Pocket service because it allows this venting, honesty, letting it all out to occur and be productive. You’ll get kindness, support, and strategy on a daily basis. Head over here to learn more.