When you think of someone with an anxiety disorder, what do you think of? Constant nervousness, incessant worrying, social phobia, nagging, things like that? Well, it’s not always so obvious.
I have an anxiety disorder, as anyone who knows me would tell you, but if you were to ask someone who didn’t know me well they wouldn’t be so sure. I can traverse small social interactions without giving myself away, and most days I experience minimal or nonexistent anxiety.
Wait, I’m not constantly worrying or scared. How could I possibly have an anxiety disorder?
I’m not safe, I’m just avoiding the triggers. If I do something outside my limited comfort zone, or if there’s something out of the ordinary happening, I freak out. But my day-to-day is anxiety-free, so it’s not obvious.
Back when I was still in high school it was way more obvious. That’s because I was dealing with something difficult on a daily basis: going to school. It’s a highly social environment, with expectations, and that gives me a lot of anxiety. So that brought it out far more often than my current situation.
Now I’m able to stay within my comfort zone and avoid the things that scare me. I know, it’s not the healthiest solution, but it’s allowed me to almost forget about my disorder for several months. The only time it really had a chance to come out and torment me was when I was in the hospital for surgery, and the anesthesia and pain medication really helped with it then. Other than that, it’s like I committed a major crime and got away scot-free.
So it’s not always easy to tell when someone has anxiety. Some people have gotten really good at avoiding their triggers and just blending in.