Am I making progress in life or just trying to survive?

This post is meant to bring your awareness to a type of anxiety that affects high achievers and people who push themselves beyond their limits.

High-functioning anxiety is not considered a mental health diagnosis. This is because of those who experience it self-report being able to function reasonably well in life.  Furthermore, no discernible behavior changes may be seen by others. Although on the outside it may seem that a person is functioning well, the internal struggle of a person experiencing it can be quite disrupting. Mental health professionals do recognize there can be varying degrees of impairment. They may tell their patient they have “mild anxiety”— mild in the sense that the anxiety may not be expressed externally, in contrast to possible moderate to severe internal manifestations.

How do I know I am experiencing high-functioning anxiety?

If you see yourself as an overachiever or push yourself to the point of burnout, you may be prone to this type of anxiety. You may say to yourself ” I am powering through” to get the job done, which may be seen as commendable to others. The reality is you may be internally suffering. You may, for instance, experience intense fear, increased heart rate, and poor sleep. These symptoms you may attribute to normal stress; however, they can eventually have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health.

Below is a list of some signs/symptoms of high functioning anxiety:

  1. People-pleasing in order to create an environment that makes me feel safe and less anxious
  2. I endure long periods of hard work, then experience burnout, then I procrastinate
  3. I overthink that I am not doing “enough” or I fear failure
  4. Poor sleep—I don’t sleep enough hours, I wake up and cannot seem to get back to sleep, or I have trouble falling asleep
  5. Racing thoughts that make it difficult to relax
  6. Overly busy due to fear of saying no
  7. I use alcohol and substances to cope
  8. My anxiety, not ambition, is driving me to complete tasks
  9. I seem like I have it together, but internally, I am struggling
  10. When my routine gets disrupted, I get upset

Experiencing this alone can be overwhelming, especially since others may not know you are suffering.  This is where therapy comes in. If you need help creating a more manageable life, one where you are living, progressing, and not just “surviving”, please call 201-488-6678 or our website to book an appointment today.