Living with an anxiety disorder is no child’s play. In fact, its debilitating effects can extend to so many areas of your life that others may start perceiving you as irresponsible, lazy, and passive.
However, you know well what’s going on inside you, and in truth – the battle you’re fighting is one that not many would be capable of enduring. There are so many things that people with high-functioning anxiety face every day that others could never even imagine.
If you don’t have anxiety, being aware of what’s happening in the anxious mind will help you understand that person better. Here are 11 of the things people with high-functioning anxiety do.
1. Going to bed late, getting up early in the morning
The ruminating mind of an anxious person will not gladly let them fall asleep at night, and this same hyper-active mind will wake up early in the morning without an alarm clock.
Anxiety is at its strongest at night, and the same anxious thoughts related to what you need to face tomorrow wake you up before anything else can. And once you wake up, the anxiety gets back into play and you can’t go back to bed – so you end up feeling exhausted.
2. Obsessing over trivialities others don’t even notice
All it takes is a glance or a simple word from someone for your anxiety switch to turn on and start processing and rewinding the event for days to come. Your obsession with things that happened, things that are happening, and the way they create a weird feeling inside can drive you crazy.
Your mind can ruminate over the plainest conversations you’ve had with someone, to complete strangers and the way they looked at you. And while there are so many things your mind can fit, most people get confused by the fact that you even notice them in the first place.
3. Always focusing on the worst-case scenario
Your mind feels like it’s wired to focus on the worst outcome in every situation, and your dread of that possible outcome often discourages you from taking any action in the matter.
And when it comes to worst-case scenarios, your ‘certainty’ that everything about your first date went wrong, that the common cold you’re experiencing must be a new strain of flu or your fears that nobody finds you interesting, are all in your head and won’t go away.
4. Beating yourself up over every little mistake you make
It’s only human to err, although the anxious mind won’t accept this. Perhaps the most terrifying scenario for you is making a mistake at work. Regardless of how big this mistake is, your thoughts begin to consume your mind and they become tremendously difficult to handle.
It’s natural for mistakes to occur, especially when you put effort into things, but anxiety doesn’t allow you to see is that way and it becomes your worst enemy.
5. Experiencing breakdowns when thinking of the future
The future is something most people look forward to, making plans and setting goals while working in the present to reach closer to them. However, your view on the future is one riddled with uncertainty and frustration.
Being aware of what’s happening to you in the present stops you from thinking positively about any kind of future. Instead, you retreat and hide from the thought of it.
6. Comparing your achievements to those of your peers
You don’t feel like you should be comparing yourself to anyone, but your anxiety compels you to scour through people’s Facebook profiles and look at how they live their lives. You instantly worry that your life is not going that smoothly and you can’t help but feel incompetent in some cases.
The worst thought that runs through your mind at that moment is that you may never get to succeed in your life like they have, and this completely ruins your self-esteem.
7. Declining invites even when you want to go
Most people don’t understand that your staying at home has nothing to do with them or, in some cases, even your personal choice. Even when you finally see a good reason to leave your anxiety castle, it’s your anxiety that doesn’t allow you to leave and have fun for a change.
When your anxiety takes over, it feels to you like you’re going to be a terrible burden for your friends, so you just decide to cancel everything and find a way to cope with yourself.
8. Rewinding conversations in your head
When socializing comes into play, there are those pleasant moments filled with conversations and laughter. Well, those moments aren’t that pleasant for you. Despite having thought everything over in your head before saying it, you can’t help rewinding each of those sentences over and over afterward.
You are obsessed with the thought that you may have said something wrong or may have hurt someone unintentionally with a wrong choice of words or something. This constant process of rewinding is a feeling that chips away your sanity piece by piece – even when there’s surely nothing wrong with what you have said in the first place.
9. Blaming yourself if someone delays the communication
Chatting is your most secure option when talking to people, but the moment someone delays their response you start obsessing yourself over what could have gone wrong and if you had anything to do with it.
In fact, your anxiety makes you come to that ‘conclusion’ that it must be you because otherwise, they would reply right away like you do, right? Well, that’s your anxiety speaking. The reality could be that they’re in the middle of something or that they are not the best at communicating.
10. People showing concern for you makes everything even worse
In those moments when anxiety is at its strongest, if someone notices and asks you if you’re OK, your whole picture of reality collapses. Knowing that your anxiety is so strong that it’s showing only worsens your self-perception and you just want to vanish into thin air.
Which is more, you feel like your condition shouldn’t be something that will bother other people, and you don’t think that you deserve a helping hand. In truth, people who care will notice and ask, and you should allow these people inside as much as you feel comfortable.
11. Feeling mentally and physically exhausted to even get out of bed
Anxiety can be so overwhelming that it can paralyze you both physically and mentally. So, you often find yourself feeling so burnt out that you simply want to lie in bed and do nothing, while your mind is slowly trying to regenerate.
You can’t sleep, you can’t function, and all you can do is wrap yourself in the blanket and stare at the ceiling.