"What does the term 'high functioning anxiety' mean to you?"

A new term has started to creep into the mental health scene recently; high functioning anxiety. Of course, it may not be a new term at all, but it's something that seems to be capturing peoples' attention for the first time recently.

It's entirely possible that it's simply a fashionable term that everyone can relate to, but regardless of that, I'm going to talk about what it means to me and why I think it describes me perfectly.

When I'm anxious, I don't tend to just sit around and hope that it passes soon. I throw myself into my work. If I don't have the ability to throw myself into my work for whatever reason, e.g. I'm out of the house and don't have my laptop, then I begin to panic. However, when I am able to throw myself into my work, it can look as though I'm actually doing pretty well. I can be found churning out blog posts at an impressive rate, designing accompanying graphics for each post, and looking at new ways to expand the website and make it sustainable.

What people don't see it my swollen lips resulting from subconscious chewing. I don't even notice that bit until I hit a nerve. That's one of my nervous ticks that cannot be buried by work.

I'm also dreadful at responding to texts, emails, and phonecalls, but can generally get away with it by saying "sorry, I've been up to my eyeballs in work recently".

If you want to find my anxiety, take note when I quickly avert my gaze or you get the feeling that I'm looking through you rather than at you. Take note of the one-word answers I give when I'm fiddling with my phone during a conversation. Listen for the tightness in my voice when I'm talking.

There are so many more tell-tale signs, but it's all relatively inconspicuous. That is why I would describe myself as a high-functioning anxiety sufferer.