When I first realized I had anxiety four years ago, I didn't quite understand what that meant. I assumed the panic attacks and feelings of depression I'd experienced were just a normal part of life. I thought since I could go through my day-to-day tasks without any major issues, there was no way I could be struggling with anxiety. That was until my friend — who also has anxiety — suggested that I look into the signs of high functioning anxiety and compare them to my personal experience.
According to HuffPost, people with high functioning anxiety can perform well in social situations and still have overwhelmingly negative thoughts about what they are doing. My anxiety, for example, causes me to constantly replay and rework scenarios in my head, long after the account has ended. Doing so keeps me up at night and makes me feel nauseous when I think about the encounter. To the people around me, it always looks like I have it together, but I know how much of a struggle it is to deal with high functioning anxiety. The need to crave perfection and run from things that worry you can be daunting. With help, however, you can find a way to overcome it.
If you're not sure whether you're living with high functioning anxiety, these nine signs may help you figure it out.
1. You Have Odd Body Habits
According to Healthline, people with high functioning anxiety react to the feeling by biting their nails or picking their skin. Many people use this as a way to cope with their nervousness.
2. Your Sleep Schedule Isn't Consistent
Curious Mind magazine noted that, because anxiety causes you to overthink things, your sleep may be affected. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild all day and keep you up at night, try working to control them the closer it comes to your bedtime.
3. You Stay Busy
According to Learning Mind, those with high functioning anxiety will always seem busy to avoid being around others.
4. You Want To Be Perfect
Psychology Today noted that high functioning anxiety can make people crave perfection. As a result of this, those with high functioning anxiety tend to practice negative self-talk and will even put off their tasks out of fear for not getting them done perfectly.
5. You Leave Things Early
According to The Mighty, leaving things early is a common habit of high functioning anxiety because being around others can feel overwhelming. There have been times when I've been excited about going to an event and have had to leave within an hour because it was too much for me to deal with.
6. You Feel Guilty When You Have To Say "No"
Global News noted that those who struggle with high functioning anxiety feel guilty when saying no because they worry about disappointing others. Similarly, people with high functioning anxiety may never say no for fear that it will ruin their relationships.
7. You Shape Your Life Around Your Fears
According to Reader's Digest, you will start avoiding your fears to mask your anxiety to make it seem like you're operating well in your daily life. The moment you have to face them though, you may realize that you have an issue that needs to be addressed.
8. You Think Catastrophically
The previously mentioned Global News article mentioned that if you have high functioning anxiety, you usually think the worst of every situation. When a new job comes along, instead of thinking how well you will do in the position, your thoughts automatically question "what if." Instead of using the "what if" mantra negatively, try asking yourself positive questions to follow.
9. You Overanalyze Everything
As noted in the previously mentioned article from The Mighty, those with high functioning anxiety overanalyze everything. For every decision that you need to make, there's a battle in your mind about the pros and cons of the outcome. Unfortunately, the cons usually win the debate.