5 Signs of High Functioning Anxiety

Many people have heard of high-functioning depression. The condition affects people differently, and some individuals can lead relatively normal lives without their depression negatively impacting their daily routines. However, high-functioning anxiety is less widely known. That’s interesting, considering anxiety is the number one mental health condition across the globe.

What makes high-functioning anxiety so challenging is that you might be dealing with it (or know someone who is), and you’ve never received an official diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the common signs of high-functioning anxiety. It can still negatively affect your life, and you still may need support when it comes to finding ways to cope and lessen its impact on your life. With that in mind, let’s look at five signs of high-functioning anxiety to determine whether it might have a hold on you or someone you care about.

1. Fear of Failure

It’s fairly common for people with high-functioning anxiety to be perfectionists. You might have an underlying fear of failure that drives you to push yourself beyond your personal limits. Do you have unrealistic expectations of yourself? Do you think of negative scenarios that might occur if you were to “fail” at anything? There’s a difference between wanting to do your best and striving for unrealistic perfection. If fear of failure continuously plagues you, it could be a sign of anxiety lingering beneath the surface.

2. Nervous Habits

Do you tend to twirl your hair a lot? Maybe you bite your nails? Maybe your leg constantly bounces up and down throughout the day, or your fingers tap on your desk. These habits are often unnoticeable when you do them all the time. However, when you stop to pay attention to them, ask yourself why you feel the need to “move” and fidget. It could be a way to temporarily cope with nerves and anxious thoughts. These nervous habits provide temporary distractions and relief from your thoughts, allowing your anxiety symptoms to come out in ways that appear more normal and subdued.

3. Sleep Problems

Difficulty sleeping affects almost everyone with anxiety, whether you’re high-functioning or not. While many issues can cause insomnia and other sleep issues, if you tend to have trouble sleeping at night because your mind won’t stop racing, it’s likely due to anxiety. During the day, it’s easy to distract yourself with things like work, school, family, and your social life. At night, when it’s just you and your thoughts, they can cause your anxiety to rear its ugly head, making it difficult to get the sleep you need.

4. Difficulty Concentrating

When you have high-functioning anxiety, your worried thoughts constantly fight for your attention. At times you might be able to ignore them or “fight back” and distract yourself from them.

However, as they continue to fight for your attention, it can make it difficult to focus on other things. If you have trouble concentrating at work, school, or even during a conversation with a friend, consider why.

5. Muscle Tension

People with high-functioning anxiety tend to manifest their symptoms physically more often than not. When you’re holding anxiety inside and aren’t able to “release” it in healthy ways, you can start to experience things like aches and pains, muscle tension, digestive issues, and headaches. Again, while these physical issues can be signs of other problems, when you combine them with any of the other signs listed here, there’s a good chance anxiety is the culprit.

If any of these signs sound familiar, it’s never too early or too late to get the help you deserve. Feel free to contact me to set up an appointment. You shouldn’t have to deal with anxiety keeping you from enjoying your life, and you don’t have to learn how to manage it on your own.

Hello, I’m Miriam. I’m a psychotherapist with an online practice in California and Illinois.

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.