High Functioning Anxiety…Is This You?
Everyone thinks that you are ok. You hold down a responsible job, a family and are known to be a success. What on earth is the issue? People with High functioning Anxiety mask their anxiety with overachieving (New: Anxiety Course). They over think and over perform at work and at home. They never stop, relax….I can’t I have a list of things to do…I shall multi task by watching TV and write my emails at the same time… (Anxiety Workbook)
High Functioning Anxiety is not a recognised diagnosis but many of my clients recognise that these traits exist within them.
“If you have high functioning anxiety, you probably notice that your anxiety propels you forward rather than leaves you frozen in fear.” (1)
Positive traits surely, to want to over achieve? Ideal for employers because they get an employee who never stops, never says no, never says that they cannot take on any more work.…. When they leave the position it may well take 3 people to fill their shoes but until them the firm could not be happier,
This level of commitment all round is exhausting. Living in a heightened state of stress means that cortisol and adrenaline are coursing through your body all day every day. Weekends are filled with jobs that need completing and holidays are not actually a holiday at all as it is extremely hard to suddenly relax!
Please tell me I am doing Well!!
Recognition and external validation is needed but never truly believed. If heard at all then the anxiety drives you on to find the next win, then next praise from the boss, the family, the community. But it is never enough. The fear of being found to be wanting, to be exposed as being that imposter who is actually incapable of achieving success, is always sitting on your shoulder.
The anxiety is in control and the demons that mutter incessantly in the background drown out any positive messages along the way. Fear is a constant bedfellow, fear of being found out, of not being good enough. To get things wrong is not possible, therefore you have to 2nd and 3rd guess all situations. just in case you are exposed. To get it wrong is not acceptable. Guilt at letting people down sits alongside the fear and feeds it. (Home Life & the Anxiety Compass)
Managing This Anxiety
- Recognise that it is Anxiety and is difficult to live with
- Fear is the driver…where does it come from? Write about it, externalise it.
- Find ways to calm your self. Breathing and mini meditations bringing you into the here and now and can really help.
- If you are overthinking that email, stop. Have a coffee and sit down again. Calm!
- If downtime seems overwhelming, then tap into your creativity. It is ok to watch a film and knit….
(1) Arlin Cuncic : The Characteristics of High Functioning Anxiety (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-high-functioning-anxiety-4140198 Retreived 10’04 31/10/20)