Hello guys, hope your mid-week is full of light and all things positive. As promised today I bring the continuation of the Diary Of An Anxious Introverted Girl Series, which began with The Introvert blogger. As an introvert with high-functioning anxiety, I tend to seek out solitude because I feel awkward and painfully self-conscious around other people. Being amongst the 40% of the worlds introvert population, behind closed doors is were I deal with stress and the thing is, not everyone knows these habits are a side effect of anxiety.
Howbeit, before I further explain about dealing with disquietude as an introvert with high-functioning anxiety. I will explain the complexities of being an Introvert and what comes with high-functioning anxiety.
The oxford dictionary explains an introvert as
However, through my experience as an introvert for the past three decades on this earth, i believe being an introvert is more complex than perceived. I know there is a lot of misconceptions about introverts — like that we are antisocial, unfriendly, shy or lonely. Nevertheless in many cases, being an introvert can actually be an asset. Look at Arya Stark ( Game of Thrones), the character has several talents, She was not interested in activities that were typically associated with engaging with a large group of people. Instead, she showed more interest in exploring alone. We are individuals who attain energy from spending time alone (recharging ), so that we are functional when we go back into the world. We can then connect beautifully with other people.
Sometimes, a little bit of stress or anxiety can push us through a busy day and lead to success. Although we need to be honest with ourselves, when it comes to whether or not this anxiety is serving us.
This type of anxiety is very subtle, I struggle with letting my guard down because I am always on high alert and it makes relaxing difficult.My brain goes at 100 km/hr and I have this need of writing everything down, possibly to the point where my apartment is positively covered in reminders and sticky notes. I try to stay motivated by making notes in my phone. Putting our thoughts on to paper helps increase bandwidth for higher performance but we have to remember that this habit is also stemming from anxiety and we just need to gain back control when needed.
What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?
High functioning anxiety is not a recognised mental health diagnosis. Rather, it’s evolved as a catch-all term that refers to people who live with anxiety but identify as functioning reasonably well in different aspects of their life.
This type of anxiety is subtle in the sense that introverts overtly appear to be keeping it together, even if that is not the case. No one on the outside will be aware that we are driven by fear, and sometimes we ourselves fail to realise the root of our own actions. Beneath the surface of a seemingly perfect exterior, we are fighting a constant churn of anxiety.
Below I will mention some of the characteristics that I have seen in myself as an introvert with high-functioning anxiety, both positive and negative.
These are my day to day struggles
- Nervous chatter
My nerves sometimes make me talk too much. I chatter on and on — out of nervousness — and get mistaken for an extrovert.
Introverts we are already prone to overthinking on account of the way our brains are wired. Throw in high-functioning anxiety, and you’ve got a recipe for mental overload. We do things like trying to solve problems in our head, thinking too far into the future, and go through several different scenarios in our mind ( plan C-Z)
The bane of my existence. Sometimes I might not feel motivated to get ready for the day, or begin a project among other things. Because of the high-functioning anxiety this results in me in trying to be a perfectionist, I will often procrastinate if I am not up for the challenge and thinking I may not be successful, so I put things off.
- Appears outwardly calm and collected
Not sure if this one falls under the positive but it does serve its purpose when I am around people.
The queen of compartmentalising my emotions.This one I have mastered. I will appear completely calm even when a storm of fear is raging on the inside.
I tend to get a bit obsessed with a task that i will be engaged in. I give it 100%
Lists and calenders give me joy
- Loyal in Relationships
Because I am an Introvert, I tend to be pretty picky about who comes into my life, It requires some energy, and if you do come into my inner circle, that means a lot.
This quality causes me to be loyal, attentive and be a committed friend.
PS: We make great romantic partners too!
- Shoot for perfection
High-functioning anxious people we tend to be little perfectionists.Why you ask?, because by achieving a sense of perfection reduces our anxious feelings. But, it is also a double edged sword because having unattainable standards can cause even more anxiousness, creating a never-ending cycle.
There’s definitely a way to balance between the two, but we can’t do it alone. This is where talking to someone comes in. Let’s talk to our tribe and implement some strategies for living with high anxiety and making it work for us.
Until next time…
How do you manage living with high functioning anxiety?
Give us your best tip in the comments below.