Do you always imagine the worst-case scenario? Student Doctor Reveals The Five Common Warning Signs That You Are Suffering From ‘High Functioning’ Anxiety
- Student physician Zachery Derenioski shared five signs of high-functioning anxiety
- People with the condition can perform tasks and appear socially comfortable
- But internally they experience all the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
- These include a constant fear of saying or doing something ‘stupid’ or ‘wrong’
- Others envision worst-case scenarios and blame yourself for everything
The five telltale signs of ‘high-functioning’ anxiety have been revealed by a student doctor – and one of them is as subtle as declining a dinner invitation.
Zachery Dereniowski is a Canadian medical student at the University of Sydney, where he specializes in mental health and spends his spare time filming educational TikTok videos on the subject.
In one of his latest clips, the 27-year-old discusses the little-known symptoms of high-functioning anxiety, a condition characterized by overthinking and self-criticism.
While people with high-functioning anxiety often appear remarkably accomplished and socially at ease on the surface, they privately experience all of the side effects of generalized anxiety disorder.
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Zachery Dereniowski (pictured) is a Canadian medical student at the University of Sydney specializing in mental health
What is ‘high functioning’ anxiety?
Men and women with high-functioning anxiety are often able to accomplish tasks and appear to function well in social situations, but internally they experience typical symptoms of an anxiety disorder, including intense feelings of impending doom, fear, fear, rapid heart rate and gastrointestinal complaints.
Mr. Dereniowski says these include a constant fear of saying or doing something ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’, always imagining the worst scenario, and blaming yourself for everything – even when someone else is clearly to blame.
Exaggerating the ‘smallest things’ and feeling so overwhelmed by social interaction that you often skip events are other signs, said Mr Dereniowski.
Patients with ‘high-functioning’ anxiety report that their fears propel them rather than paralyze them, often leading to long delays in diagnosis, as the condition can go unnoticed for years.
Mr. Dereniowski’s revelations, which have been viewed 76,400 times since they were uploaded online on March 26, have generated grateful responses, with many saying the clip made them feel less alone.
‘I needed this. Fear is real, ”one viewer replied.
“All day, every day,” added a second, while a third wrote, “Literally my life.”
Signs of high functioning anxiety
1. Consider the smallest, most mundane things
2. Blaming yourself for someone else’s mistakes – like someone who doesn’t text you back
3. Constantly fearful of saying or doing something ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’
4. Decline invitations to social events because you feel overwhelmed
5. Always imagine the worst-case scenario
Source: MD Motivator Zachary Dereniowski
One woman said she never knew why she was experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath and feelings of impending doom until she watched the video.
“I always thought I was anxious, but I didn’t know these were signs,” she said.
Others said they had never summarized their personalities so accurately.
“Oh my god, you are the first person to fully describe me,” wrote one woman.
The video comes weeks after Mr. Dereniowski told his followers about little-known signs of depression and how to reach someone who is struggling.
Mr. Dereniowski says that signs of high-functioning anxiety are a constant fear of saying or doing something ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ (left) and blaming yourself for everything – even when someone else is clearly to blame (right)
He said an early alarm bell goes off about “minor,” seemingly insignificant problems that arise because you feel like your life is falling apart.
The doctor added that feelings of “ faking ” – pulling a brave face in public and pretending everything is okay – and an inability to sleep without turning on the TV are subtle signs of depression.
He said this is because total silence leaves you alone with “intrusive, negative thoughts” that you cannot deal with.
Other “secret” symptoms of depression include unusual irritability, social “withdrawal” and feeling exhausted despite a good night’s sleep.
If you or someone you know has mental health problems, please contact Lifeline at 13 11 14.