Nervous energy, being afraid of disappointing people or fear of failure drove you to success.
Do you hesitate to call in sick? Do you go over possible scenarios in your head? Does it keep you awake at night?
If this sound familiar, you may have high-functioning anxiety.
Positive Characteristics of high-functioning anxiety
Characteristics of people with high functioning anxiety often perceived as positive, include:
- Outgoing personality (happy, tells jokes, smiles, laughs)
- Proactive (plan for all possibilities)
- Orderly and tidy
- Appears outwardly calm and collected
- Loyal in relationships
Negative Characteristics of high-functioning anxiety
With high functioning anxiety, a struggle often lies beneath that veil of success. The fear you feel about your success must come out. Everything must be perfect.
Despite being regarded as 'high functioning,' you may experience the following struggles in your day to day life.
- 'People pleaser' (afraid of saying no)
- Talking a lot, nervous 'chat.'
- Nervous habits (biting your lip, nails, crack knuckles)
- Need to do repetitive things (counting steps, rocking back and forth, walk a particular route)
- Need for reassurance (checking on others frequently or asking for directions multiple times)
- Procrastination followed by long periods of cramming.
- Lost time (arriving too early for meetings)
- Avoiding eye contact
- Feeling intimidated by the future
- A tendency to dwell on the negative ('What if? thought spirals and dwelling on past mistakes)
- Having an overloaded calendar
- Racing mind
- Mental and physical fatigue
- People think that you are 'difficult to read' (stoic, unemotional, cold)
- Limited social life (turning down invitations)
- Inability to 'enjoy the moment' (finding it hard to relax and be in the present or expecting the worst in any situation)
- Having to compare yourself to other people (falling short of expectations)
- Loyal (to a fault) in relationships
- Potential alcohol or substance abuse as an unhealthy coping method
Successful but struggling
You may think you are an over-achiever. This perception fails to take into account the struggle (and perhaps anxiety) required to achieve that level of success.
You know, deep down that your anxiety limits your life.
Perhaps you can achieve essential tasks, but you feel your life is limited in other ways as you never do anything outside your comfort zone)
Your anxiety probably dictates your actions. You may choose activities that calm your racing thoughts rather than pursuing things you would enjoy.
If you have high functioning anxiety, you have likely become very skilled at presenting a false persona to the world and never show the real you nor your true feelings.
You bottle it up and compartmentalise. It makes you unhappy and distressed. Possibly depressed.
You can extinguish high-functioning anxiety with specialist anxiety treatment.
As a result, high-functioning anxiety can lead to burnout, mental breakdown and ill health. I can help you overcome anxiety with intensive 1:1 therapy online using Zoom in 4 weeks. It is discreet, confidential, neuroscience-based and no need to take time off work. You can schedule a free 15 minute consultation to find out how I can help you.