Episode 8 - High-Functioning Anxiety

Free High-Functioning Depression & Anxiety Worksheet Download

Transcend Monthly Membership Program

Show Transcript Below: 
So… last week we talked about high-functioning depression i guess this is technically part 2 of that so you can go ahead and listen to this one on it’s own, or you can listen to part one after - I’ll leave that up to you. 

So we talked about how high-functioning depression is just when a high-functioning person feels depressed. And so high-functioning anxiety is when a high-functioning person feels anxious. 

And I want to talk for a moment about how we pathologize our experiences. When we pathologize our experiences, we make them abnormal, unhealthy. And there’s almost an underlying belief system like - this “shouldn’t” be happening. I “shouldn’t” be feeling this way and therefore something is wrong with me. So I want to ask you this question and then I’ll move on. 

Is it true that you shouldn’t feel anxious or depressed? Now I’m not asking if it is true that it is uncomfortable or painful, because we know that’s true. But isn’t true that you shouldn’t feel it?

This is what a lot of high-functioning depression and high-functioning anxiety are about. It’s a difficulty with FEELING. I talked about facing your demons in the last episode. Facing your emotional world. And so high-functioning depression and high-functioning anxiety are two sides of the same coin. And most of us who experience one will experience the other one. 


They both are clouded in toxic shame, they both are a result of a wounded self. They both involve a pressure to BE something that you don’t necessarily feel that you are, or feel that you can be.  Pressure to be happy, to be perfect, to do an amazing job, to be the best. To be a certain kind of person. 


While inside you’re feeling tortured and alone, and afraid. And so how do we reconcile the two. The two sides of you. The side of you that feels anxious and terrified and horrified that you might not be enough. That you might not survive. How do we reconcile that with the you who is living your life and being the parent or the career woman or the business owner or the wife. 


How do we end the splitting of the psyche and open the gateway for integration and peace? High functioning anxiety has so many symptoms. Insomnia, panic, heart-racing, intrusive thoughts, sweat. Where high-functioning depression is characterized by a heaviness, high-functioning anxiety is characterized by an incessant pressure to be on. To hold on. And there is a lot of fear there. There is fear with high-functioning depression too but it’s more hidden. It’s not so overt because when we are depressed our systems our shut down and numbed. When we’re dealing with high-functioning anxiety the fear is much more potent and in your face and in your chest and raging out at you and screaming out at you. And it feels like an endless loop. And you feel completely on edge and yet you push it down so you can keep the smile on and work really hard and keep other people impressed by you.  All the while you feel tortured. 

As if you are fundamentally flawed and there is something completely and totally wrong with you. And there’s so much shame around it. So much pressure. So you grind it out because you’re an achiever, and you’re a performer and you can deliver and get it done. You show up again and again. And it all just seems so relentless. Like there’s no hope or no way out right?

I want you to imagine what your life would be like if everywhere you went, there was someone behind you criticizing and judging you. When you fold the laundry they’re there and they’re saying “what if you don’t do it right, what’s wrong with you, you’re doing a terrible job”.  And when you got in the car they were saying to you: “What are you doing, you’re going to crash, watch the road you idiot.” And when you were sitting on the couch with your spouse, they were there yelling or whispering in your ear “He’s going to leave you”. On and on and on and on. Everything you do. Everything you say. How wounding would that be to your spirit? How painful?

So that’s where you are when you’re dealing with high-functioning anxiety. That’s what’s happening to you.  It is the mental game we play with ourselves because we don’t know who we are without it and it is SO painful. And sometimes, what is most heartbreaking is that we cannot see the suffering and pain we are in. The suffering and pain we are causing to ourselves when we allow these thoughts to run rampant in us when we do the laundry, and sit with our spouses and get in the car. And if you were watching it on a movie screen it would make you cry to see someone suffering like that.  


THIS is what I am talking about, when I said in episode 1 - Face Your Demons in the Morning. We have to sit with this stuff. We have to really, really look at it and examine it. We have to bring deep awareness to the wars we are fighting with ourselves because then, and only then is when we have the opportunity to stop it. 


I want you to imagine the freedom, the space, the expanse, the open air, the experience and the feeling of doing the things you do in your life, without that high-functioning anxiety breathing down your neck. I want you to really see yourself just living your life without it. For some of you you haven’t even imagined that it is possible. It seems like such a luxury to be able to love and accept yourself without the fear. Something that only emotionally rich people do right? Well you have the opportunity to become emotionally rich. You have the opportunity to let go of your hatred of self. Of your belief that you do everything wrong. Of the terrifying fear that you’re a failure and you’re worthless. 


But it all begins with examination. It all begins with facing your demons. And I know how scary it feels. I know the high-functioning anxiety was born out of some deep core wounding I get it. I’ve been there. I still go there sometimes. It’s just that the trips are shorter now. 

So, I want you to listen to the first podcast in this series which is the High-Functioning Depression episode,  and do the Facing Your Demons exercise from that episode. Take time to be with yourself every morning. Take time to explore those wounding, critical, fearful, terrifying thoughts. Take time to imagine what life might be like without them. Because they are just thoughts - they are not you. They are thoughts that your mind is thinking, and you do have the power to let them go. It takes awareness, and practice. My hope for you is that you see with clear eyes that you are not your critical shaming thoughts about you. You are you. Separate and perfect and whole. And my hope for you is that you can deepen your awareness around the thoughts you think about yourself, and how they cause you pain and suffering and fear and dread. And how there is nothing wrong with you for having those thoughts, or experiencing anxiety. 

I talk a lot about Ruthless Self- Love. IT is my favourite concept, my favourite phrase of mine that I developed because it’s like an oxymoron. Because it’s about taking all the pain and rage and loathing and self-sabotage all that energy you’ve been using to be ruthless against yourself to turn it around and use it to love yourself. And part of loving yourself ruthlessly is examining where you have been hating yourself. And how have you been abandoning yourself. And what soul contracts have you made that have separated you from your core and your essence and caused you to believe these horrible things about yourself as if they were true. 

It all comes back to self-love.

So, if you want to continue this conversation then I’ll invite you to join my Transcend Monthly membership program. I’ll leave a link in the show notes for you here. I’ve also made a worksheet as a bonus that you can download also which is linked in the show notes. So you can start to do this work of Facing Your Demons and Emotional Honesty.

This is truly the way to deep healing. To see yourself as you are - whole and loveable and unstained and untainted by trauma at your core - at your essence. And to see yourself as separate from all your thoughts and all your feelings and just get to that beautiful powerful core which is completely perfect and completely whole.

Next week, I’m going to go deeper into healing High-functioning Depression and High-Functioning Anxiety. I’m going to talk about barriers to healing and emotional honesty. So I’ll see you next week for part 3 of this series.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.