7 Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety

The term “high functioning anxiety” is “type” of anxiety that is not an accepted mental health diagnosis. Instead, it is an evolved term that points to individuals who suffers from anxiety yet identifies themselves who are functioning reasonably well in various aspects of their life.

In short, high functioning anxiety does not leave you frozen in fear but it is an anxiety that propels you to move forward.

So what’s wrong with that?

On the outside, you might seem to be calm and successful— a typical Type A personality who excels both in work and life. However, the way you actually feel on the inside is very, very different. You become insecure and overly conscious about things and are always overthinking.

Here are 7 symptoms of an individual having a High Functioning Anxiety:

1. They are often called the “Type A perfectionist”

Individuals with high functioning society are often going above and beyond their call of duty. They always execute things to an nth degree.

Things like missing a deadline by even a few minutes or someone coming over and seeing their house in a mess makes them feel terrified. Such things should not be a big deal, however, for individuals with high functioning anxiety it matters.

In a relationship, at work or at home, they strive for perfection in everything they do. Because the idea of not doing or finishing something exactly how they envisioned it makes them sick to their stomach and gives them a feeling of uneasiness. They will have the “all or nothing” mentality combined with an idea of “If I am not the best then I am the worst”

2. They have “bad habits” or “little ticks”

Lip chewing, knuckle cracking, hair picking, nail biting, as well as picking at your skin or leaving your nails and cuticles in a bloody mess— these are little symptoms anxiety.

Individuals with high functioning anxiety try their best to keep the nervousness and panics internalized, however, it slips out in these seemingly little things.

3. They become control freaks

The “perfectionism” state of individuals with high functioning anxiety can manifest into strict routines and a controlling habit.

However, it only appears like they want to be in charge of life. During stress and anxiety, an individual with high functioning anxiety seeks to control as many things that are within their grasp and control. Using the wrong color of highlighter or missing a single workout can send them to stress or panic attacks.

4. They lose a lot of sleep

All that tossing and turning at night can be a true reflection of what is really going on inside your head. The anxiety you have internalized throughout the day can come out and manifest itself in the form of sleep disturbances.

You always keep yourself up during the night. Whether it is because you are convinced that you can finish one more task or because your mind is going at 10,000 miles per minute, you are way too unfamiliar with being exhausted. You might even joke “I will sleep when I am dead!”  after another sleepless night. However, it weighs on you— emotionally, mentally and physically. It becomes a problem.

5. They are constantly busy

Individuals with high functioning anxiety have a long list of tasks and their weekends are packed with plans. However, they love it! They even say jokes like:

“Being busy keeps me out of trouble.”

“I am happy with a full to-do list.”

“I just LOOOVE being busy.”

For normal individuals, these words are creepy. (Really, it is)

However, for people with high functioning anxiety, being busy like a drug that keeps them going. It might sound like a glorification of just being busy, but it is just a cover-up for a fear of what will happen if they stop. They have an “always have something to do” in order to keep their mind off, well, their minds. Their constant chasing to do something is a big distraction from their own anxiety that is ever present in their life.

6. They have this fear of letting other people down

“Why did you do this?”

“You could have been better.”

“I hope you were a better daughter.”

Those things are not even uttered. However, for people with high functioning anxiety, those words circle their anxiety-riddled brain. When these individuals are presented with the possibility of not doing something perfectly or at a top tier level, they tend to hear these words from their heads. The pressure becomes massive and it ultimately roots from the thinking that if they do not make on the standards, then they are letting someone down. This feeling ultimately breaks their heart.

7. They have intense outburst sometimes

An individual has a high functioning society, they do their best to hide their feelings and minimize the intensity of their emotions so may look calm all the time.

An anxious person, however, is going to explode sometimes when they become continuously frustrated or stressors are added to their already stressful situation.


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