The two sides of
High Functioning Anxiety:
Unveiling the Hidden Struggles Behind the Mask
High-functioning anxiety is a complex phenomenon where individuals seem well put together externally, but internally, they battle with anxiety and its symptoms. The difference between high-functioning anxiety and regular anxiety lies in the ability to maintain daily tasks and appear functional while experiencing the distressing symptoms of anxiety deep within. Recognising the signs of high-functioning anxiety can be challenging as people often conceal their struggles, making it essential to understand the common symptoms and seek appropriate support from a mental health advisor. Unraveling the two sides of high-functioning anxiety sheds light on the importance of addressing these hidden struggles to achieve inner peace and well-being.
The two sides of high-functioning anxiety can be summarised as follows:
External Appearance: People with high-functioning anxiety often present themselves as composed, capable, and accomplished individuals. They can efficiently handle daily tasks and responsibilities, appear confident in social situations, and may even excel in their professional and personal lives.
Internal Struggles: Despite their apparent success and composure, individuals with high-functioning anxiety experience intense internal distress. They may constantly worry, overthink situations, have obsessive thoughts, and battle symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate, gastrointestinal distress, and feelings of impending doom.
These two sides create a paradox where individuals with high-functioning anxiety can seem fine on the outside, while internally, they grapple with chronic anxiety symptoms. Recognising and understanding this dual aspect is crucial for providing the right support and seeking effective strategies to manage high-functioning anxiety and achieve overall well-being.
Signs that you may have high-functioning anxiety include:
Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in all aspects of life, feeling anxious about making mistakes or not meeting high standards.
Overthinking: Constantly dwelling on past events or worrying about future outcomes, leading to excessive rumination.
Difficulty Relaxing: Struggling to relax and feeling restless, even during leisure time.
People pleasing: Going above and beyond to please others and avoid conflict, often at the expense of personal needs and boundaries.
Need for Control: Feeling the need to be in control of situations to minimize anxiety and uncertainty.
Accomplishment-Oriented: Relying on achievements and external validation to feel worthy and calm anxiety.
Avoiding Vulnerability: Resisting vulnerability and keeping emotions hidden to appear strong and in control.
Physical Symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms like tension headaches, stomach issues, or muscle tension due to anxiety.
Overloaded Schedule: Overcommitting to tasks and responsibilities, finding it challenging to say no.
Difficulty Asking for Help: Struggling to seek support or feeling reluctant to share feelings with others.
High Self-Expectations: Holding oneself to unrealistic standards and being overly critical of perceived failures.
Difficulty resting: Feeling guilty or unproductive when taking breaks, leading to a constant need for productivity.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety is unique, and having some of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean you have high-functioning anxiety. If you resonate with these signs and they significantly impact your daily life, it’s essential to seek support from a mental health professional to discuss your concerns and explore coping strategies.
A message to you:
I know that living with high-functioning anxiety can be challenging and overwhelming at times. It may feel like you’re constantly putting on a brave face while battling a storm of thoughts and emotions inside. I want you to know that you are not alone in this journey, and there is hope for healing and growth.
It’s important to recognise that your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to struggle sometimes. High-functioning anxiety doesn’t define you; it’s just one aspect of your experience. You are strong and capable, but you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders all the time.
Take a moment to pause, breathe, and be kind to yourself. You deserve compassion and understanding, just as much as you give to others. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and support when you need it.
Finding healthy ways to cope with anxiety is crucial. Consider exploring mindfulness practices, grounding techniques, or speaking to a mental health professional who can guide you on your journey of self-discovery and healing.
You are not your anxiety, and you have the power to create positive change in your life. Embrace your uniqueness and value the journey you are on. You are capable of finding balance, joy, and peace within yourself.
You have a bright and beautiful soul, and you have the strength to navigate through the challenges. Embrace your journey, and know that you are worthy of love, acceptance, and happiness.
Take it one step at a time, and remember that progress is not always linear. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small, and be gentle with yourself during setbacks. You are resilient, and you will overcome this.
Above all, know that you are enough, just as you are. You don’t have to be perfect, and it’s okay to show vulnerability. Embrace your journey with self-compassion, and remember that you are deserving of a life filled with peace, love, and fulfilment.
With warm wishes and support,
🌟Keep shining your light