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When You're a Logical Person, but Anxiety Makes People Think You're 'Emotional'

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“That awkward moment when we have a meeting and Sophia doesn’t cry,” one of my friends said.

My friends laughed, and I laughed with them. Internally, I was embarrassed but I was determined not to let it get to me. I wanted them to know there’s more to me than breakdowns and panic attacks. I can take a joke. I can laugh at myself.

Most of my friends know me as “emotional,” which, as someone who prides herself on placing logic above all else, has always bothered me. Being both highly logical and struggling with a myriad of highly irrational anxieties is just one of the many self-contradictions that make up my life.

But here’s the thing about when I “get all emotional” — I cry not because I’m upset, but because my body needs to cry.

For me, crying is not a sign that my feelings have been severely damaged or that I’m angry with you. Most of the time, crying is just the way my body releases anxiety. And trust me, there’s no relief for me quite as wonderful as the relief of being able to cry.

So much of the time, I can feel the anxiety building inside me, racking around in my head, tensing my insides until my whole body tremors. And so much of the time, nothing helps. No amount of self-care or coping rids me of that anxiety until some little thing pushes me over the edge and, mercifully, my body begins to cry. Finally, rather than another anxiety attack, rather than another episode of hyperventilating or insomnia, my body takes pity on me and the tears begin to spill.

But beneath all that, I am not a naturally emotional person. Paradoxically, I am quite a logical thinker. Anxiety symptoms aside, I prefer logical and well-thought out plans to emotional and spontaneous ones. Granted, I might have an anxiety attack because I didn’t buy the right number of carrots at the grocery store, but I am calm in a crisis.

My anxiety attacks might make me appear fragile or even petty, but I promise you, if you stick around a little longer, you’ll discover I have my own kind of strength and I desire, above all else, a life that is deep and meaningful.

So many people, even people I call my friends, have met my anxiety plenty of times. You might even say they’re friends with my anxiety… but they haven’t really met me. For all the time I’ve spent with them, they barely know me.

I don’t mind if you judge me or if you don’t understand. But if you call yourself my friend, then please, make sure you know me (and not just my anxiety).

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Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.

Originally published: September 22, 2017
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