14 Signs You Have High-Functioning Anxiety

People see you and think you’re doing so well for yourself, but the truth is inside you’re a massive ball of anxiety. Sound familiar? Here are 14 signs you have high-functioning anxiety.

  1. You can’t sit down. Even when you’re around your best friends, you’re always on the go. You’ll be the one ordering drinks for everyone or heading into the kitchen to bake dessert. It seems like you’re a busy body, but you might actually be so anxious that you just can’t wind down.
  2. You don’t spend time with your thoughts. You worry a lot but you don’t actually stop to listen to your thoughts. Instead, you try to busy yourself by focusing on other tasks so you don’t have to deal with them.
  3. You suffer from insomnia. If you bat away intrusive thoughts all day when you’re busy, at night when you try to relax, they’re likely to come at you in waves that you just can’t ignore. This could make you struggle to sleep.
  4. You don’t ask for help. If your partner notices that you seem worried, you’ll flash them a smile and pretend that everything’s OK. One of the hallmarks of high-functioning anxiety is that it causes you to try to do everything yourself instead of reaching out when you’re battling.
  5. You’re a frenemy to yourself. You’re supposed to be your own best friend but you’re always putting yourself down. Nothing you do is ever good enough. You never meet your own extremely high standards. This could also cause you to avoid reaching out because you don’t want to be seen as weak.
  6. You seem cool and calm. Your friends say that you’re super-calm and they wish they could be more like you. You want to laugh at this because you know that deep down you’re actually a ball of stress and worry all the time. You just put on a front to try to seem like you’ve got it together.
  7. Your dating life is a mess. If you’ve got things together and running smoothly in your career, you might wonder why your dating life is so messy and causes you so much stress. This can be because it’s harder to manage your personal life—you can’t use the rules that work at the office when it comes to your relationship.
  8. You’re called ambitious, but… Although you might be ambitious and self-driven, the real thing that spurs you on to be an achiever is your extreme fear of not being successful. Your anxiety might not be visible to the outside world but it is calling the shots in your life.
  9. You think… a lot. Overthinking is common in high-functioning anxiety. Because you’re constantly thinking and rethinking things, it can make it difficult to focus when you’re spending time with loved ones because your mind is always working so hard. This, in turn, can make you feel anxious because you’re being distant with those you love. It’s a vicious cycle!
  10. You feel mentally exhausted. Since you’re always on the go mentally, thinking and analyzing things, it’s no wonder that you sometimes feel mentally exhausted by the end of the day.
  11. You’re bothered by small things. You might feel anxious or angry when something small happens, such as someone cuts in front of you in line or you run 10 minutes late, while other people don’t even notice those little things. This is a sign that you have a strong need to control things as much as possible and it can lead to you feeling irritable, angry, and anxious.
  12. You can’t say no. Despite your mental exhaustion, you struggle to say no. This is because you fear not being enough or doing enough to be a good friend/sister/daughter. Yup, you place a lot of pressure on yourself.
  13. You have stomach issues. You regularly feel that your stomach is sore or upset, or you might have other gastrointestinal issues. These are common in people who suffer from anxiety and it can become worse if your anxiety isn’t treated.
  14. Your friends see you as their rock. Maybe you’re the person everyone turns to when they’re going through a tough time because you seem like such a strong person. Although you are strong, you’re also dealing with anxiety. The problem is that you don’t show this to your loved ones, so they think you’re mysterious, difficult to read, or just strong as a diamond.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.