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What is High Functioning Anxiety and How to Navigate It With Nadia



Nadia is a psychotherapist, wife, stepmom, and anxiety expert! Mental health is one of her passions, and that’s exactly why she’s here to talk with us about high-functioning anxiety! Although it’s not a formal diagnosis, many people, especially women, struggle with high-functioning anxiety. 

Many of us with anxiety try to hide our struggles. On the outside, we might be organized, successful, and confident, but on the inside, we might feel the complete opposite. And since we often try to hide what’s really going on, it’s incredibly important to talk about what high-functioning anxiety looks like. So let’s get into my conversation with Nadia! 


What is High Functioning Anxiety and How to Navigate It With Nadia


What Is High-Functioning Anxiety? 

When I asked Nadia to explain what high-functioning anxiety was, she started by sharing that there isn’t a formal diagnosis for it, which might be confusing for some of us. In her own words, Nadia says “On the outside, you appear to be confident and sociable and have it all together and really are successful. And you excel at, you know, maybe in all areas of your life. But on the inside, it's a very different experience. And you might struggle with overthinking or excessive worry, or perfectionism… You also might have a tendency to say yes too much and to take on too much and to overcommit too much.” And I’m sure this will sound familiar if you’re struggling with anxiety! 


Nadia mentioned that some people who have high-functioning anxiety might also have an anxiety disorder, but this depends on the individual. For diagnoses, always consult a trusted doctor or physician! The most common shared experience among people with high-functioning anxiety is that it’s highly internal, and most people would never guess how much you are struggling on the inside. This is because we tend to make everything look perfect on the outside! 


Why We Try to Hide Our Struggles 

Like Nadia mentioned, many of us with anxiety try to make everything look perfect on the outside, despite how much we might be struggling. Have you ever wondered why we do this? Because I know I have! When I asked Nadia, she said there are lots of reasons why we hide our struggles. Maybe it’s because talking about feelings in early childhood wasn’t accepted, or you just struggle to talk about feelings as an adult. For others, it might be caused by the times when they shared how they felt and weren’t met with compassion. 


It can be extremely difficult to stop hiding our struggles, and it can take lots of time and practice! But Nadia and I both agree that one of the best things you can do to be vulnerable with others is to start practicing self-compassion. When you meet yourself with kindness and understanding, it can help you be compassionate about why you’re struggling. 


Tips for Relieving Anxiety 

I asked Nadia what helpful shifts she made when she was overcoming high-functioning anxiety, and she had lots of wisdom to share! One of the most helpful changes she made was exercising consistently. She also found that integrating her faith into her daily routine was very healing for her. And perhaps most importantly, she dropped the catastrophizing that kept her constantly fearing for the future. Nadia also mentioned that she learned to accept the fact that there’s not a simple or ‘magical’ cure for anxiety and that healing takes time, work, and healthy shifts. 


To hear even more insights and wisdom from my conversation with Nadia, make sure to listen to the full podcast episode on high-functioning anxiety!


Connect With Nadia! 


Nadia Fiorita High Functioning Anxiety Therapist


 

 

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