When many people think about anxiety, they picture someone curled up in bed, struggling to breath and sobbing.
Although these may be symptoms of anxiety, not all anxiety disorders are the same!
Most people with a high-functioning anxiety disorder live a normal life, but each day they experience the unwanted burden of anxiety.
From the outside, these people may look like everything is completely fine! Their exposure may be calm and collected.
But there are always subtle signs that show themselves in the moments when their anxiety is acting up.
Below are 11 signs that you might have a high-functioning anxiety disorder.
1.) Your Muscles Are Always Tense
…clenched jaw, tight shoulders, balled-up fists, etc.
When you think about it, do you find that your body is almost always completely tense?
Muscle tension can cause a lot of health problems – one of the most common being severe headaches.
Because of this muscle tension, your body will develop a tight, knotted back and neck.
To help with this problem, consider getting a deep tissue massage several times a month.
This will encourage proper posture and help relieve the knots that may be causing your headaches.
2.) You Try To Avoid Your Thoughts
Anxious thoughts are uncomfortable and difficult to go through.
They do nothing more than drain the joy out of your day!
Because of this, you may make a very strong effort to avoid your thoughts.
Perhaps you drown them out with loud music or entertainment.
Unfortunately, these distractions will only repress your negative thoughts for a short period of time. They will always come back!
Instead of fighting with your thoughts, try to face them.
Identify where they came from, observe them, identify that they are useless, and let them go.
One way to work through negative thoughts is through meditation.
A great place to start is the Calm or Headspace App.
Related Article: 12 Simple Ways To Effectively Relieve Stress
3.) You Have Some Repetitive Habits
…picking your nails, talking to yourself, loudly tapping your fingers, shaking your legs up and down, randomly spacing out, etc.
Have you ever noticed that when something makes you feel uncomfortable, you suddenly start dong some small, quirky habit.
Something has triggered your anxiety and your body’s reaction to it is to pick back up that stress-related habit.
4.) You Always Think Negative Thoughts About Yourself
When you accomplish something, you can always see a way you could have done it better.
If something goes wrong in your life, you obsess over all the things you could have done differently
If you mess something up, your first thoughts are, “I’m so stupid! I’m an idiot!”
WHY? You are letting these negative thoughts destroy happy moments and your sense of self.
You are obsessing over things that you can’t change.
Don’t forget that you’re human and you will make mistakes.
Learn to forgive yourself. And learn to celebrate yourself when you accomplish something!
Why focus on the negatives when there are so many positives?!
Related Article: 9 Surprising Signs You’re a Negative Person
5.) You Constantly Seek Reassurance From Others
A common trait of anxiety is the constant need for others to help you think rationally.
When you have a negative thought, do you always battle it through in your own head or do you ask others for reassurance?
Do you reach out for support often? Do you feel like you need a support system just to battle your anxiety?
A support system is amazing! But is can be very difficult to maintain healthy relationships when you are always seeking reassurance from your fears.
Related Article: 10 Things To Know If Your Partner Has Anxiety
6.) Often, You Just Can’t Sleep
You toss and turn, trying to get to sleep. No luck!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have anything to do with the coffee you had earlier.
It has everything to do with your mental state and the internalized anxiety!
When you lay down in bed, your mind turns on and starts working overtime.
You start thinking about everything in life that stresses you out.
Although your body is exhausted, your mind is still very-much awake!
Related Article: 12 Easy Nighttime Habits for Better Sleep
7.) You Often Feel Like You Can’t Breathe
…your chest tightens, throat closes off, and you feel like your lungs aren’t getting enough air!
This is often the first sign that your anxiety just got triggered.
Your breathing pattern completely changes.
Sometimes, you start breathing only out of your mouth.
Other times, you may start aggressively inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
The more you gasp for air, the worse you feel!
If this is happening to you, you absolutely need to seek professional help.
No amount of online articles can cure a high-functioning anxiety disorder.
8.) You Feel Absolutely Exhausted
This symptom can be a surprising sign of anxiety.
For some people, fatigue can follow a panic attack. For others, fatigue can be constant – never ending.
Since anxiety can also bring on a lack of sleep and muscle tension, it is completely normal for exhaustion to be one of the symptoms!
If you feel constantly fatigued, you need to see a doctor.
There could also be another mental or physical condition contributing to your chronic exhaustion.
Related Article: 9 Warning Signs That You Are Emotionally and Mentally Exhausted
9.) You Have Feelings Of Intense Hopelessness
“Will things ever change?” “Will I have to live with this awful anxiety for the rest of my life?”
This is the hardest place to be! When you feel like there is nothing you can do to improve your circumstances.
You feel like your anxiety is something you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life!
An anxiety disorder has a way of making people focus on themselves and all the difficulty they are experiencing.
By doing so, they become overwhelmed with all the negative things they are experiencing and forget to look around and see the positive things that do exist.
Know there is always hope, no matter where you are!
When things start feeling hopeless, seek professional help. Go to a therapist or a medical professional.
There are a lot of mental health resources out there – take advantage of them!
10.) You Develop Irrational Fears
Can you think of any random phobias that you have developed in your life?
Do you have an intense fear of storms, needles, airplanes, elevators, tight spaces, public transportation, etc.?
These intense fears can trigger your anxiety!
In turn, if you have severe anxiety, you can develop irrational fears that you have never had before.
11.) You Have Panic Attacks
…your heart starts beating fast, you start sweating and shaking, your chest tightens, you feel like you can’t breath, and you feel like you are losing control and possibly dying!
This is one of the scariest things to experience when you have an anxiety disorder.
The thing is, panic attacks can happen unexpectedly and when you least expect them.
Have you read Carson Daly’s story about living with his anxiety disorder? (Read it here)
His story is inspirational and his message is powerful!
Not enough people talk about this problem and yet it is one of the most common problems in today’s society.
- 10 Things To Know If Your Partner Has Anxiety
- 9 Warning Signs That You Are Emotionally and Mentally Exhausted
- 12 Successful Tips To Help You Manage Your Anxiety
Many people suffer their whole life with anxiety, never having it properly diagnosed and treated!
As a result, they consistently put themselves in situations that trigger their anxiety and send them into a downward spiral.
If this is you, you must realize that there is a chance that you have a high-functioning anxiety disorder.
You are not alone! 1 in every 4 people have anxiety. It is a very normal and treatable condition.
Find ways to manage it and seek professional help if you know that you need additional resources.