10 Signs of High Functioning Anxiety

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Anxiety Diagnosis

Anxiety has only become a more common diagnosis in recent years and, for many, an anxiety diagnosis can go unrecognized for an entire lifetime. A person with high functioning anxiety is essentially able to go about their day and their tasks while the anxiety rests right below the surface.

While the anxiety is not usually debilitating, it can become more intense when unaddressed.

Another factor of high functioning anxiety is that others around the person with high functioning anxiety will likely not be able to recognize that anything is going on. The person with high functioning anxiety is typically able to hide those feelings from even their closest friends and family.

In fact, they themselves might not even be able to recognize the presence of high functioning anxiety. That is why checking in on your mental health is so imperative to your overall well-being, even if you do not think there is anything going on, it never hurts to check in.

Here Are 10 Signs of High Functioning Anxiety:

  1. People-pleasing:  People with high functioning anxiety often struggle with people-pleasing. This can mean saying “yes” to too many commitments or requests, or it can look like putting other people’s needs before your own. People-pleasing, while not inherently bad, can cause a person to put themselves last when they really need to put themselves first.
  2. Overthinker:  Everyone experiences overthinking from time to time. If there is an event, an assignment, or a circumstance that is weighing on you, it can be easy to fall into the trap of overthinking. For those with high functioning anxiety, overthinking your options can derail you from making a choice, essentially making you overly indecisive. Likewise, ruminating over a circumstance or event can steal your joy from other experiences.
  3. Overachiever:  There is nothing wrong with reaching for the stars. Being a hard worker and a dedicated student or employee is frequently praised. That said, some people with high functioning anxiety feel the need to be the best out of an intense fear of failing. When you are too afraid to fail, the weight of achievement can be a heavy load to bear.
  4. Sleep Struggles: If you experience insomnia, you might also be experiencing high functioning anxiety. Whether or not you notice the effects of high functioning anxiety during the day, the presence of high functioning anxiety can be more obvious at night.
  5. Extremely Organized: This is another example of a trait that is typically praised in most environments. There is nothing wrong with being organized, but if you find yourself unable to focus on your work until each thing is in its place, that might be a sign of high functioning anxiety.
  6. Procrastination:  Overachievers can also be procrastinators. Some people with high functioning anxiety will find themselves stressing about the things they need to get done, but will put them off until the last minute, perhaps due to fear of failure or struggle with time management skills. If you find yourself frequently procrastinating your obligations, you might be experiencing high functioning anxiety.
  7. Need for validation: In the same way that a person with high functioning anxiety may overthink, they could also experience a need for validation that what they do is good, correct, or even perfect. This can also be seen in overachievement. Achieving self-actualization without the validation of others can be difficult for a person with high functioning anxiety.
  8. Jaw Tension: High functioning anxiety can be seen in behaviors, but it can also be felt in one’s physical body. A person with high functioning anxiety can often hold tension in certain parts of their face, neck, shoulders, and back, but most commonly the jaw.
  9. Substance Misuse: Using substances as a crutch is not something every person with high functioning anxiety will experience, but it can happen for some. If you notice yourself misusing substances when you are feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a mental health professional to find another outlet. The substance use helpline is (800) 662-4357.
  10. Overplanner:  In many cases, a person with high functioning anxiety will plan for every possible outcome that they can think of. The need to have a solution thought out for each potential outcome can be a sign of high functioning anxiety.

Conclusion

If you think you are experiencing high functioning anxiety or suffering from any of the signs listed above, reach out to a mental health professional to get the tailored guidance you need. With the right assistance, you can begin to find solutions to help with handling your high functioning anxiety.

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