High Functioning Anxiety and how I cope with it

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started identifying with this condition. But when I did, it all made sense. 

Just like everything else these days, I saw it pop up on my feed: HIGH FUNCTIONING ANXIETY and I though, oh that sounds like me and laughed it off. But in no time at all and in good ol’ Google fashion, the internet read my mind and I kept seeing this article over and over again. Until I could not unsee it anymore. 

So of course, I looked into it.

What is High Functioning Anxiety?

“High functioning anxiety is not a recognized mental health diagnosis. Rather, it’s evolved as a catch-all term that refers to people who live with anxiety, but who identify themselves as functioning reasonably well in different aspects of their life.

…On the surface, you likely appear to be successful, together, and calm—the typical Type A personality who excels at work and in life—though the way you actually feel on the inside may be very different.

About 40 million adults deal with an anxiety disorder at any given time, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Of this approximately 18 percent of the population, some fall into this category of “high functioning”—essentially silent anxiety hidden behind a smile.”


It all started making sense for me. It all fell into place. 

But I know what some people are thinking: this is a good marketing ploy for pharmaceutical companies to make more money. This is all in your head. This can’t be real.

But it is. Just because it’s not recognized or physical, doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s happening to me and millions of others. 

How did I identify with it?

I read the list of signs and triggers from verywellmind.com and I agreed with about 80% of them. Here is a list of positive and negative characteristics that I attribute to my High Functioning Anxiety:

  • Outgoing (act happy, tell jokes, smile, laugh)
  • Punctual (arrive early for appointments)
  • Proactive (plan ahead for all possibilities)
  • Organized (make lists, keep calendars)
  • High achieving
  • Detail-oriented
  • Orderly and tidy
  • Active
  • Helpful
  • Appear calm on the outside
  • Passionate (throw yourself 100 percent into tasks)
  • Loyal in relationships
  • A people pleaser 
  • Nervous chatter
  • Nervous habits (playing with your hair, cracking knuckles, biting your lip)
  • Need to do repetitive things (counting stairs, rocking back and forth)
  • Overthinking
  • Lost time (arriving to appointments too early)
  • Need for reassurance (asking for directions multiple times, checking on others frequently)
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Rumination and a tendency to dwell on the negative (What if? thoughts, dwelling on past mistakes)
  • Inability to say no and an overloaded schedule 
  • Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep, waking early and unable to fall back asleep)
  • Racing mind
  • Others think you are difficult to read (stoic, unemotional, cold)
  • Inability to enjoy the moment (expecting the worst)
  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Overly busy/full schedule 

How do I cope with it? 

Well, for a very long time I didn’t cope with it. I thought that was just me and I lived with it. It wasn’t until I couldn’t control certain aspects and others became more dominant that I noticed changes. My anxiety was affecting me mentally and physically and I knew something had to change.

I had to change and I am still working on this. But…

-I started spending more time focusing on myself. 

-I think more about what I eat because it does affect me in the long run.

-I rely heavily on natural medicine, CBD, essential oils, elderberry, probiotics, and such.

-I use meditation and anxiety apps. Specifically and more recently:

DARE: Break free from Anxiety app. If you have never heard of this, please do yourself a favor and download it. It is very mellow and easily accessible for whenever you need it. It walks you through anxiety and stress with ease. You can listen to it in private or like me, before bed. I turn it on before bed and it helps me relax and fall asleep.

DARE also has a book you can download or purchase from Amazon


Thank you for stopping by and reading my story.

x, Dijana

Hazel Eyes Mom

Here is to honest motherhood, fun family adventures and parenting challenges. I can be sassy, moody and sarcastic but all with good intentions. Stick around and let's have fun together. x, Dijana

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