Hello, hello, loves! Welcome back to another Wellness Wednesday. Today I’m shedding some light on high functioning anxiety, which technically isn’t considered a mental disorder, but I still thought it was important to talk about. During the times my anxiety isn’t quite so high, I consider myself to be someone with high functioning anxiety – solely because my anxious tendencies always exist, but might not present themselves to the point of panic/anxiety disorder. The thing about those with high functioning anxiety is that we function rather well – we tend to use it to propel ourselves forward and as motivation for success rather than sit in fear. However, the toxic mental processes are still there, but we’re just better about hiding it behind a smile. So what exactly does high functioning anxiety look like?
For me, it looks like always having something to do – constantly burying myself in projects, chores, and activities that keep me from being still with my thoughts for too long.
It looks like planning + paying attention to details as a way to try and keep my life under control – sometimes to the point of overthinking.
It looks like sarcasm + being outgoing even though I’m constantly questioning everything I say and do to the point of nervous chatter and eventually closing myself off.
It looks like fatigue – sometimes from just feeling so bogged down by my ever-buzzing mind, other times because my thoughts + anxieties physically keep me from getting a full night’s sleep.
It looks like seeking validation because I rarely trust my own judgment; other times it looks like never saying anything at all because I fear feeling like a burden.
It looks like constantly trying to help everyone around me but feeling too intimidated to ask for help for myself even when I know I need it.
I looks like never being able to sit still – my thoughts are constantly buzzing inside my mind and activity is the only way to release the pent up tension.
It looks like writing everything down because my mind is too cluttered to keep track of specifics without it.
It looks like being absorbed in mindless activities like scrolling through social media or binge watching Netflix to distract myself from stress + endless thoughts.
It looks like a full schedule because I often times feel unable to say “no,” feeling like I’d rather overwhelm myself instead of taking the risk of hurting or upsetting others, or letting others down.
It looks like smiles + positivity because I’m trying to stop my mind from dwelling on the negatives.
It looks like nervous habits that feel impossible to stop, like biting my nails or chewing my lip.
It looks like overachieving – being a Type A and consistently telling myself to do better and work harder as a way of reassuring + proving to myself that I meet the expectations I perceive to be placed on me.
I feel like at one point or another, we all feel moments of high functioning anxiety, but for some of us it’s not just about an upcoming deadline or particular event – we constantly feel on-edge and the overwhelming need to go above and beyond for everything we do. If you struggle with high functioning anxiety, I challenge you to talk to someone; it could be a friend or a counselor – just talk to someone. If you don’t struggle with it but perhaps know someone who does, be patient. Do what you can to make yourself open to them. The biggest take away about it is that we consistently feel trapped inside our own minds, sometimes unable to express exactly how we feel; but knowing that people are willing to listen makes us feel more comfortable about opening up without feeling like it makes us a burden. Happy Wednesday!