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What High Functioning Anxiety Looks Like and How to Find Healing 

High functioning anxiety is not recognized as a mental health issue. It refers to people who are able to function reasonably well in different areas of life while identifying themselves as dealing with anxiety on a regular basis. With high functioning anxiety, people can become frozen in fear. Millions of adults deal with anxiety disorders. Some are ‘high functioning,’ or suffering silently behind a smile. Find out what it looks like in a loved one and how to support someone in getting help for anxiety.

Signs of High Functioning Anxiety

Many people who are successful in business, life, and personal endeavors deal with chronically high levels of anxiety. They might show up to parties, events, and functions dressed to the nines, with neat hairstyles, and seeking out people they know to chat. They are not hiding in the corner and waiting for people to approach them. Typically, they seem outgoing, not reserved, but that does not mean they are not struggling with shyness. Different types of people are still considered high functioning with addiction as well as anxiety. What others cannot see are:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of disappointing others
  • Anxious thoughts
  • Worried mind, constantly in motion
  • Outgoing
  • Active 
  • Appear calm on the outside
  • People pleaser
  • Overthinkers
  • Checking up on people frequently
  • Procrastination
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of boundaries to say no and overload schedule
  • Insomnia
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Turn to substances to cope with anxious thoughts and feelings

Although this list seems long, this is not exhaustive. It can manifest differently in various people but also on different days it may look completely different. Meanwhile, they certainly seem successful on the outside. Meanwhile, on the inside, they are struggling to find a way to cope positively and move forward. 

Struggling with Success

Most people who have high functioning anxiety also struggle with some form of shame and stigma. They worry about what others think, what they would say if they told them, or fear being ‘found out’ as a fraud and not who they appear to be. This is in their mind, rather than being true. In reality, they are doing really well at their jobs and are successful but maybe hiding darker secrets like addictions and phobias. As long as they are hiding from family, they are not going to be fully successful with the shame of anxiety hanging over their heads. Treatment options for anxiety include getting an official diagnosis by trained therapists. This may be followed by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, mindfulness training, and work on addictions, if needed. Some helpful tips:

  • Work on mindfulness every day
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly
  • Don’t give in to negative thought patterns; seek help for long-lasting and persistent negative thoughts
  • Learn some breath work to get into the breath and breathe easier

Over time, the work becomes more consistent and reliant. It becomes more habitual and part of the person’s daily life in healing. It takes overcoming denial to seek help. They will need consistent support and help from loved ones who can offer a healing hand and listening ear to get them the help they need to function holistically rather than function well while struggling under the weight of anxiety. 

The Guest House Ocala cannot promise to cure anxiety. What we can promise is we will walk alongside you as you journey forward from detox to rehab and aftercare. You don’t have to suffer alone, even at a high functioning level, with anxiety. We are here to help you navigate healing with us. You are not alone. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800