Guest Post by Shannon Heers
High-strung. Type-A. Intense. Have you heard others use these words to describe you, and felt shame or embarrassment because of it? Maybe you’ve always felt that others don’t fully understand you and the stress you’re always under. And anyways, why are they even bothering you with what they think of you? You have things to do, people to see, worlds to conquer, you can’t be bothered with what others think of you. Your mind moves so fast, much faster than others, and the first one to the finish line wins. Wins at what, though? What do you win with your high achievements, your intense drive, and your need for perfection?
Is there something else out there?
Perhaps you’ve come to the time or place where you’re tired, you’re exhausted trying to live up to all of your high expectations. Or you’re looking around you realizing that people you love and value, your relationships, have started to fade away because no one else can keep up with you. What now, you ask yourself? On to the next thing? Or is there another way to live, to be in the world, to thrive, without exhausting yourself every day?
What is high-functioning anxiety?
Does this sound like you:
- Mind and thoughts race so quickly others can rarely keep up
- You expect the best from yourself, 100% of the time, and if that’s not met, you’re disappointed or even angry
- Relaxation for you is non-existent
- Your body feels tense much of the time
- You feel a sense of impending doom even after you get things checked off your list
- Panic attack symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or stomach upset, sweating when in tense situations
If so, you may have high-functioning anxiety. Most people who experience high-functioning anxiety don’t want to admit to either yourself or to anyone else that what you are experiencing is anxiety. It may seem like a cop-out, like you are weak and cannot control yourself. Or maybe you’re willing to consider that what is going on is anxiety, but you have no idea how to treat it.
Ok, now what can you do about this anxiety?
Do you even want to change, is the next question for you to ponder. Are you interested in giving up your high-achieving self to refocus on developing quality relationships with those you love or want to love? If you are exhausted with being exhausted, strung out with your high-functioning self, or ready to learn how to relax, then you’re on your way to changing how you function in the world. There are many first steps that you can take, depending on how you work best. Here are a few:
- Make a list of the top 10 things that you need to accomplish in the next month. Cut that list in half and then in half again. Add in “relaxation time”. Then proceed with your list.
- Put daily relaxation time into your schedule, for 30-60 minutes per day, and adhere to your schedule.
- Contact a therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment to get started on learning how to make lasting changes in your life.
You can do it!
You can make a lasting change in your life and reclaim your relationships. Prioritizing the people in your life instead of your to-do list can be a difficult adjustment, but the long-term benefits are well worth the challenge. Visualize in your mind what you’re working for, and who you want to connect with on a deeper level once you’re less anxious and more relaxed, and that will give you a concrete image that will enhance your motivation for your journey. Life changes takes commitment and willpower, and as a high-functioning formally-anxious person, you have those in spades!
Help for High Functioning Anxiety in Mid Missouri
If you’d like additional help coping with high functioning anxiety and live in the Mid Missouri area, Aspire Counseling has several therapists that can help. We also offer anxiety treatment through online counseling to individuals anywhere in Mid Missouri. To get started, contact us and our team will match you with a skilled anxiety therapist!
About the Guest Author:
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, guest blogger, and owner of a group counseling practice in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss.