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High Functioning Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety looks like a lot of different things for different people. Some people have to sit and cry every so often to release their anxious energy, others have to jog on a treadmill to feel calm again. It’s not always easy to know or understand the signs of an anxious person, but what's even harder is identifying someone with high functioning anxiety disorder.  

What is High Functioning Anxiety Disorder?

High function anxiety disorder isn't a recognized mental health diagnosis. Instead, its become a term used to refer to people who have anxiety but believe they function relatively well in most aspects of their lives. This kind of anxiety disorder differs from others in that the person suffering from it appears to have everything under control. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I was shocked when I recognized all of the signs of this disorder in myself.  

Signs You May Have High Functioning Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety has always impacted how I think, what I do, and how I do it. However, I never realized that maybe I function pretty well regardless. When I started researching the signs of high functioning anxiety disorder, I determined that this was, in fact, a snapshot of my life. Common signs you may recognize in yourself include:
  • Punctual - You arrive early to appointments
  • Proactive - You plan ahead for everything
  • Organized - Lists and calendars are your friends
  • High Achieving - You're a real go-getter
  • Detail Oriented - You have to know the little things to get to the bigger things
  • People-Pleaser - Letting others down upsets you
  • Nervous Talking - You find yourself stumbling on words and talking excessively
  • Nervous Habits - Biting your nails or chewing on your lips
  • Overthinking - You obsess over one little thing
  • Unable to Enjoy the Moment - You're always waiting for something bad to happen
  • Comparing Yourself to Others- You feel you don't measure up and fall short of expectations
  • Insomnia - Falling asleep or waking up is difficult for you
  • Inability to Say No - You're worried you'll upset someone
  • Reassurance is Everything - You feel the need to check on things multiple times or be told by others you're meeting expectations
  • Mental and Physical Exhaustion - Your anxious life exhausts you

What Do You Do Now?

If that sounded like you, then maybe its time to talk with a medical professional about what you're experiencing. Sometimes its hard to seek help when we only know ourselves with anxiety. If you're like me, you're afraid of losing your drive and motivation if you don't have anxiety pushing you forward. There's also a social stigma surrounding those with anxiety which can prevent people from getting the help they deserve. High functioning anxiety is really just anxiety that's hidden. The help you may need may not work for someone else and vice versa. Developing your own treatment plan based on your tendencies may be the key to overcoming the anxiety you've been living with- and that's something worth working towards.

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If you are in crisis, call 988 to talk with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, text HOME to 741741 to connect to a free crisis counselor, or go to your nearest emergency room.