What Does It Mean to Have High Functioning Anxiety?

by Aug 1, 20220 comments

Picture this: You’re the first one at the office, which isn’t totally shocking considering you’re there a full 30-45 minutes earlier than the start of your shift. Your co-workers slowly trickle in and compliment you on your hard work, dedication, organization, and willingness to succeed.

But everything is not as it seems. Little do your coworkers and acquaintances know you’re struggling on the inside. In your reality, you struggle with never feeling good enough or worrying you won’t do a good job. Maybe it’ll get you fired. After all, everyone had to have noticed that small mistake you made last week, right?

This is just one possible scenario in the life of someone with high functioning anxiety. But what exactly does that mean?

Here’s what it means to have high functioning anxiety.

What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

The main difference between generalized anxiety and high-functioning anxiety is the response. Additionally, high functioning anxiety isn’t an actual diagnosis on its own. Rather, it’s a phrase we use to describe those who have anxiety but appear to be functioning normally.

With a generalized anxiety disorder, an individual will immediately fall into a fight-or-flight response, often removing themselves from events, people, or situations that are triggering. They may struggle to get things done when they feel overwhelmed.

When it comes to high-functioning anxiety, the individual might bottle up their anxiety. Essentially, they make put on a mask that makes it look like everything is okay, when they’re actually suffering immensely in silence.

Although they may be successful at work or seem to have an exciting life, they may experience unseen struggles like insomnia, low self-esteem, perfectionism, etc.

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety?

The signs of high-functioning anxiety usually describe a high achiever. The signs include someone who is extremely organized and detail-oriented. Think of someone who is hard-working. They often have an outgoing personality and are very proactive.

These may seem like traits that are all positive. That may be true, but the individual suffering from high-functioning anxiety is actually taking on these personality traits as a way to mask their symptoms. As mentioned above, the person may appear like everything is fine and in control on the outside, but on the inside, they are very anxious.

There are several positive symptoms shown with high-functioning anxiety, but there are also several negative symptoms as well. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Overthinking
  • Inability to say “No”
  • Insomnia
  • People pleaser
  • Nervous habits
  • Loyal to a fault
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fatique
  • Unable to relax
  • Workaholic

What Are the Treatment Options for High-Functioning Anxiety?

There are several different treatment options for individuals suffering from high-functioning anxiety.

Individuals suffering from high-functioning anxiety may have a harder time reaching out for help. Reaching out doesn’t mean that you’re weak, and having anxiety doesn’t mean that you can’t continue being a hard worker.

If you want to try to manage your anxiety on your own, you can try things in your day-to-day life to try to cope. Aim to get on a consistent sleep schedule. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Try to incorporate yoga, meditation, or breathwork into your daily routine. And this may be easier said than done, but be mindful of your work, appointments, and meetings, especially when it comes to deadlines and timelines.

You don’t have to continue living this way or trying to manage it all on your own. Burnout is not a sign of success. You need to be able to have a work-life balance. If you’re dealing with anxiety, reach out to us today to get your life back on a healthy track.