15 Things People With High-Functioning Anxiety Do Without Realizing
Despite what many people believe, anxiety isn't a one-size-fits-all condition. In fact, a lot of people suffer from high-functioning anxiety and don't even know it. They go through their day-to-day lives stressed, worried, but seemingly "normal." From the outside, everything seems fine, but on the inside, they're stressed, anxious, and worried about pretty much everything.
While some amounts of stress and anxiety are normal, there are some things that people with high-functioning anxiety do without even realizing they're doing it.
Read through the following 15 signs of high-functioning anxiety to see if you recognize these patterns in yourself or a loved one.
1. Feel easily overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis.
People with high-functioning anxiety often feel overwhelmed by daily tasks, even if those tasks always get accomplished.
Even small tasks, like doing the dishes, picking the kids up from school, and taking a shower, can feel stressful and overwhelming.
2. Experience irregular sleep patterns.
With constant stress and anxiety, sleep doesn't always come easily or regularly (or perhaps it comes too often!). Sleeping long hours or suffering from insomnia are both linked to high-functioning anxiety.
3. Act as a "people pleaser."
It's hard to say "no" to people and that often comes at a personal expense. Anxious people tend to worry about upsetting others and go out of their way to please - even when it's not in their best interest.
4. Have pessimistic thought patterns.
Life is hard and people suffering with anxiety find it even harder.
This is evident in the pessimistic thoughts and language they use. They may say, think, and truly believe things like, "I can't do that, I'm not good/smart/talented enough." Or, "I won't do that because I can't follow through." Watch out for phrases like, "I won't," and "I can't."
5. Can't get over past mistakes or events.
They play these moments through their mind on repeat. That time they said something "stupid," or did something embarrassing.
6. Making comparisons to other people and feeling inferior
"They're better than me because…." - While this may not be the exact wording/thought used, it's the general feeling. Anxious people tend to put others on a pedestal while lowering themselves.
7. Fret over little details and possible outcomes.
Anxiety makes it hard to overlook things. People with high-functioning anxiety often stress and worry about the little details and overthink every possible scenario and outcome, often fixating on what could go wrong.
8. Flake on friends and events.
They often end up not "feeling good" before social events or meetings with friends and cancel their plans. In reality, the anxiety and stress about the event (even a simple hang-out with friends), is making them feel sick.
9. Use food and alcohol to cope.
Anxiety can trigger binge-eating and excessive alcohol consumption.
10. Are unable to sit still.
They constantly fidget or have to be doing something. Watching a movie? Better fold some laundry at the same time, or scroll through your phone, or eat some popcorn...
Anything but let your hands and body (and especially not your mind) sit idle.
11. Can't decide.
People with high-functioning anxiety struggle to make even simple decisions. A decision like, "what should we have for dinner?" is enough pressure to send them into a downward spiral.
12. Get validation from others, instead of themselves.
Remember how anxious people are often people pleasers? It goes even deeper than that. They often care so much about other peoples' opinions and try to find validation and reassurance through others.
If something feels right to them, but someone tells them it's a bad idea, they'll probably drop it (trusting other people more than themselves).
13. Experience unexplained illnesses and ailments.
It's surprising all the weird symptoms, stomach pains, headaches, etc., that can be caused by stress and anxiety.
14. Follow the same strict routine.
Routine means comfort to those with anxiety.
15. Unable to open up about stress, anxiety, and other issues.
Anxious people often struggle with opening up about their issues and problems, which can hinder their ability to get help.
If you have high-functioning anxiety, what can you do about it?
Thankfully, it's possible to treat anxiety through a variety of methods.
The first step is recognizing you may need help. Always seek out the advice of a healthcare professional. From there, treatment options may include lifestyle changes, like getting enough exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Or, it could include medications and therapy. Speak to your healthcare provider to see what's the best option for you or a loved one.
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