High-functioning anxiety is a term used to describe a specific manifestation of anxiety where individuals experience significant anxiety symptoms but continue to perform their daily tasks and responsibilities at a high level.
It’s characterized by a paradoxical combination of outward success and internal distress. People with high-functioning anxiety may seem accomplished, driven, and capable on the surface, but beneath that exterior, they often struggle with intense feelings of worry, fear, and unease.
Some common characteristics and experiences associated with high-functioning anxiety include:
Overthinking: Constantly analyzing situations, potential outcomes, and worst-case scenarios, which can lead to decision-making difficulties and a tendency to second-guess oneself.
Perfectionism: Striving for flawlessness and setting unrealistically high standards for oneself. Any perceived imperfections can lead to heightened anxiety.
Excessive preparation: Spending an excessive amount of time planning and preparing for tasks or events, even if they seem relatively minor.
Need for control: A strong desire to control situations and outcomes, which can result in heightened stress when things don’t go as planned.
Fear of failure or disappointing others: Worrying about letting others down or not living up to expectations, often leading to a fear of criticism or judgment.
Physical symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and gastrointestinal issues.
Avoidance behaviors: Engaging in avoidance of situations that trigger anxiety, even if it means missing out on opportunities or experiences.
Difficulty relaxing: Finding it hard to unwind and relax due to persistent feelings of unease and the constant need to be productive.
People-pleasing: Going to great lengths to please others and avoid conflict, often at the expense of one’s own well-being.
Inner restlessness: Feeling a sense of restlessness or agitation, even when there’s no clear reason for it.
It’s important to note that high-functioning anxiety is still a form of anxiety and can take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health over time. Just because someone with high-functioning anxiety appears to be managing well on the surface doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling internally. If you or someone you know is experiencing high-functioning anxiety or any other form of anxiety, please give me a ring