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What is High-Functioning Anxiety?

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

Compass Blog #008_By Maeve J

person standing on peer, looking at water beneath.

When you hear the word 'anxiety', what do you think of? Does your mind go to

awkwardness, shyness, and avoidance? Do you think of a fear of large groups, or of

talking to others? The fact of the matter is, anxiety doesn't have to look like this at all! In

fact, many people experience a very powerful form of anxiety that is much harder for

others to recognize, called high-functioning anxiety. You may be thinking, "Well, what is

it?", "Do I have it?" or "What do I do about it?". Read on, because this article will take a

look at each of those questions!

What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety is a condition where a person may experience many of

the common features of anxiety, but it pushes them forward in life instead of paralyzing


Do I Have It?

A person with high-functioning anxiety may experience a marked contrast between their

external experience with life and their internal state.

For example, they may:

● have an outgoing, type A personality

● be a thorough 'list-maker' and very organized

● be loyal, and love to help others

● always show up on time or early to work or events

● rigorously plan ahead, and for various possible outcomes

● be high-achieving in multiple areas of life

● make sure to always present themselves neatly

● be a detail-oriented hard worker

● be a 'favorite' among teachers or bosses

● embrace and prevail over challenges

● appear confident, collected, and prepared

However, they also may:

● seek control and struggle if they don't have it

● struggle with trust, be skeptical

● judge their self-worth by what they achieve

● be seen as insensitive or intimidating

● struggle with self-doubt

● be out of touch with certain emotions

● love interacting with people but feel very worn afterwards

● care deeply about their reputation or perception

● have a hard time 'going with the flow'

● wish they could relax more

● have a limited social life

● have a lot of energy, nervous or otherwise

● overthink

● tend to compare often

What Do I Do About It?

1. If this is sounding familiar, you're not alone. Luckily, there's a lot you can do

about it! If you already receive counseling, you may want to discuss high-

functioning anxiety so that you can explore your underlying beliefs and fears, and

get more in touch with yourself. If you’re not in counseling, now would be a great

time to start! A mental health professional at Compass Community Health would

be happy to come alongside you and provide support for your specific experience

with anxiety!

2. If you are not sure about counseling, why not make a primary care appointment

at Compass Community Health for a check up and mention it there? Anxiety is a

common occurrence that doctors hear about and often has negative impacts on

one’s health, so a doctor would be happy to hear from you and provide any input

that would be beneficial to you and your general well-being going forward.

3. Lastly, take some time to get to know yourself, your motivations, your beliefs, and

your underlying fears. This will help heal the disconnect between your external

and internal experiences.


Your mental health is important. Compass Community Health is here to help.

Reach out today!


-Message us on Facebook @ Compass Community Health

-Call: 740-355-7102

-Address: 1634 11th St, Portsmouth, OH 45662


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