10 Things High Functioning Anxiety Makes You Do. High-functioning anxiety is a term that describes someone who appears to be functioning well, but experiences high levels of anxiety. It can be hard to identify since people with this form of anxiety are often able to maintain their everyday responsibilities. They are successful in their careers and relationships, but they may still feel like they’re being pulled apart by the stressors in their life. And while high-functioning anxiety isn’t recognized as a distinct mental health condition, that doesn’t mean it’s not real. You may not even realize that you’re struggling with it, but there are many ways it can affect you.
Strive for Perfection
High functioning anxiety is a tricky beast. On the one hand, it makes you more productive, more organized, and better able to troubleshoot problems. But on the other hand, it makes you feel like a failure when your efforts don’t meet your own high standards. And that’s because high functioning anxiety makes you strive for perfection in everything you do from how you look to how you work and how well you treat others. And since perfection isn’t attainable as there’s always room for improvement you never feel like things are good enough.
High-functioning anxiety makes you expect the worst and prepare for it. You’re always on high alert, waiting for disaster to strike and trying to avoid it. You’re constantly thinking about what could go wrong and how you’ll respond if it happens. And because you’re always expecting the worst, when something good happens to you, it feels like an exception instead of the rule. This can lead to a lot of stress not just from worrying, but from feeling like you have to be prepared for everything at all times. The result? You don’t get to enjoy things because you’re thinking about everything except the present moment.
Constantly Feel the Need to Be Doing Something
If you have high-functioning anxiety, you probably have trouble relaxing since you feel like you have to doing something all the time. Whether it’s cleaning the house, working on a project, or planning things for next month, there’s always a need to be productive. You’re constantly thinking about your next move and the things you have on your plate. However, this can make it really hard to enjoy your downtime.
Arrive Super Early to Your Appointments
High-functioning anxiety causes you to be on edge, even when you don’t know why. The associated stress can result in many different symptoms, including being too early for everything. It’s not necessarily because you’re trying to make a good impression; it’s more like you’re worried about being late and having your anxiety get the better of you. You show up early so that if something goes wrong, at least you’ll have time to deal with it before anyone notices.
Procrastinate On Certain Things
High-functioning anxiety can show up in a lot of different ways, one of which is procrastination: the avoidance of doing something by finding other things to do instead. Despite their go-getter personas, those with high functioning anxiety may have a tendency to procrastinate more than others due to their perfectionism and inflexibility. This is particularly true when you fear being unable to rise to the challenge. It’s a way to evade situations that make you uncomfortable or anxious. Thus, you may find yourself putting off certain tasks or assignments until the last minute, and then having to crunch to finish it.
Overthink and Ruminate
One significant way high functioning anxiety affects you is by making you overthink and ruminate about things. You might have difficulty making decisions, feel like you’re constantly second-guessing yourself, or have trouble sleeping because your mind just won’t shut off. Even if it seems like something small, your brain will take it and run with it. It’s like driving around in circles when all you want is to get somewhere. And when you’re constantly ruminating over the past and what might happen in the future, it’s impossible to focus on what’s happening right now.
Feel Guilty for Saying NO
When you have high functioning anxiety, saying NO can be incredibly difficult and it can leave you feeling guilty. You want to be helpful and make others happy (and of course, that’s a good thing), but more often than not, you end up over-committing and taking on way more than you should. Then when you need help, instead of reaching out, you keep going until you’re exhausted then collapse under the weight of everything that’s on your plate.
Keep Your Emotions Locked Up
You can be hard to read because you seem like you have it all together even though you’re struggling internally. The truth is people with high-functioning anxiety are often very good at hiding their feelings. This is because high-functioning anxiety makes it difficult to express emotions, especially when those emotions are negative. You just don’t want to burden others with your problems or make them uncomfortable by telling them how you feel.
Clench Your Fists and Jaw
People with high-functioning anxiety often experience muscle tension and discomfort throughout their bodies. You see, when you feel threatened or overwhelmed by something, your brain triggers the release of adrenaline, which causes you to tense up physically so that you can better handle whatever it is that’s happening around you. As a result, even if you appear composed, you may clench your fists or jaw in an unconscious effort to try to release that tension.
Stick to Routines and Familiar Experiences
High-functioning anxiety isn’t just about feeling anxious; it’s more than that. You’re constantly searching for control and predictability in your day-to-day life. And you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that nothing unexpected happens. That’s because your brain is working overtime to protect you from the world, even though it makes things more difficult than they need to be. As a result, you stick to routines and familiar experiences that give you a sense of comfort and control and you might pull away from new situations or people.
High-functioning anxiety is characterized by excessive worry, stress, and guilt, and it can make it very difficult to relax and enjoy life, even when everything seems to be going well. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or that something is wrong with you. It just means that the way your brain works can be difficult in certain situations. If you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety, talking with a mental health professional could help you learn how to best address your concerns.