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My Mind Is Racing With Anxiety, but on the Outside I Look Fine

“But you look fine.”

It’s the response I hear every time I tell someone about my battle with anxiety. They always say I look fine, and I probably do. I’ve had lots of practice making sure my outside appearance doesn’t reflect the turmoil going on inside, making sure I appear as put together as I can.

I’ve gotten really good at faking a smile and feigning interest in what people are saying when all I want is quiet. I am a master at pulling myself out of bed when it seems pointless and at making myself eat and sleep so my body is in better shape than my mind. I do it all because I want to make it look like I am in control.

So, yes, I look fine, but only because I am trying to. I’m such a perfectionist I can’t let anyone see me crack. I can’t let anyone see I actually have flaws. I look fine because not looking fine would bring on the onslaught of pity, judgment and questions I just can’t deal with.

I look fine because I want to.

Yet, I’m not. I am not fine. Inside, I am begging my brain to just slow down, forcing myself to not cry, to stay strong and to keep it together. Inside, I am doubting everything I say, questioning everyone who speaks to me and quivering under the weight of everyone’s expectations. I am crumbling on the inside.

If I let the world see the way I felt every day, then no one would know what to do with me. If all of a sudden the perky, smiling, straight-A student was replaced by the crying, fractured person I feel like on the inside, then no one would understand. They would try to fix me, and I don’t want that. I don’t need fixing, not really.

So I make sure I look that way to everybody else. On the inside, my chest is aching, and my mind is spinning as I struggle to keep hold of my own mind. Yet, on the outside, I look fine.

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