With an estimated 18.1% of the American population currently living with an anxiety disorder, they are all around us. While some may show the stereotypical signs of anxiety, making it easy to identify those that are struggling, others are masters of covering up this side of their lives, concealing their challenges from the rest of the world.
While it isn’t an official medical diagnosis, high functioning anxiety is a very real experience that many Americans identify with first hand. These are the individuals who life with many of the same symptoms and experiences of those that do meet the medical diagnosis for anxiety, however, due to their ability to hide their feelings, they are able to maintain a normal life. For this reason, they often fly under the radar, battling their demons each and every day unnoticed.
Do you feel as though something is ‘not quite right’ in your life, despite the fact that you are still able to live a ‘normal life’ in the eyes of the outside world?
Here are 9 signs that you are living with high-functioning anxiety:
#1 – Negative Self-Talk
Have you ever taken a step back and paid true attention to the way that you speak with yourself? How would you react if someone else spoke to you in that way? We need to hold ourselves to the same standards that we do others around us. If you notice that you are tearing yourself down with the way dialogue that goes on within your own mind, this is a big sign of anxiety within your life, one that needs to be addressed and turned around to free yourself of the negativity.
#2 – Physical Aches and Pains
Most of the signs of anxiety are related to the mind, given that it is a mental illness, but we can’t overlook the physical signs that something is up. When you are constantly living your life under such extreme health it takes a toll on your health. This may include nausea, headaches, or tension across your neck, upper back, and shoulders.
#3 – Need for Control
You firmly believe in the idea of right and wrong, while also believing that the only person that you can count on to do everything ‘right’ is yourself. For this reason, you feel the need to always be in control, and if others refuse to submit to your leadership, you would rather do it yourself. You simply can’t let go of control regardless of the situation.
#4 – Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep
You may be able to push all of your worries and anxiety from your mind throughout the day enough to continue with your daily schedule, however when night falls you are left alone with your thoughts. It’s much harder to avoid this inner self-talk when you have no distractions. If you are struggling to fall asleep, your mind racing and refusing to shut off, try practicing some deep breathing techniques or meditation to calm your mind.
#5 – Need for Constant Approval and Reassurance
One of your greatest sources of anxiety is the fact that you may let those around you down with your actions. While you hold yourself to an incredibly high standard, you also spend a lot of your time worrying about the expectations of others. In fact, you will go to great lengths to attain approval, acceptance, and reassurance from those that you value in life.
#6 – Inability to Relax
Much like your difficulty falling asleep, the idea of sitting back and putting your feet up for a bit causes more stress than it does relaxation. You know that the second you eliminate the distractions in your life, you will be left with the worry and anxiety of the day that you had suppressed all this time. Try to remind yourself that you don’t have to always stay busy to be in control, the use of calming exercises may allow you a short reprieve.
#7 – Perfectionistic Tendencies
While others may accept the idea that no one is perfect, you refuse to believe that exists in your life. Instead, you place a high value on it, seeing even the smallest of errors or missteps as proof that you are somehow not good enough or worthy of love. Regardless of how much you make take on at any given time, you still refuse to accept anything less than the best.
#8 – Repetitive Habits
While you may mistake this for OCD, you begin to notice that you engage in repetitive habits like tapping your foot, picking at your face or biting your lip. These habits are so deeply ingrained in your life that you just can’t help yourself, in fact, you can’t stop even when you try.
#9 – Constantly Busy
As I previously discussed on a couple of the other points, you fear the idea of settling down or allowing yourself to slip into quiet or relaxation because with it comes with your thoughts, concerns, and worries. Instead, you choose to keep yourself constantly busy, always on the move with various activities, hobbies, and commitments. This works as a distraction, suppressing your worries and anxiety for a short-term fix.