High Achievers With High Anxiety

Hiding Behind Success.

If you’re a high achiever, you are all about getting things done. You do whatever it takes to find success at work and this is probably nothing new for you. The need for success has rewarded you with the accolades that you crave. It fuels you to stay on the hamster wheel, and leaves you avoiding other important things in life that are starting to pile up. You starting to feel burnout. Cue the therapy.

Am I a High Achiever? Here are 13 signs.

  1. You prioritize success and feel like a workaholic.
  2. You have a hard time putting the phone down after work in case you miss an email.
  3. You have a hard time stopping work or distinguishing work and other areas of your life.
  4. You have little free time because of work.
  5. You consistently got good grades in school and were involved in extra-curricular activities.
  6. Your parents had high expectations of you.
  7. Your parents were emotionally abusive, saying you wouldn’t amount to anything.
  8. You mostly only felt praised by your parents when it came to school, which was probably rare.
  9. You have a strong need to avoid making mistakes.
  10. Your high levels of anxiety cause you to lose sleep because you stay up thinking of ways of improving your performance.
  11. You notice perfectionism in other areas of your life, like the way you present to people, sometimes replaying what you said.
  12. Your success may ostracize you from family members and friends, leaving you feeling lonely.
  13. You might feel like an imposter, even though you are successful. Read more about it here. 

Your Perfectionist Tendencies Didn’t Start Yesterday.

Usually this stems from childhood where you, being your clever self, leaned how to get things done. This included how to get the attention and approval you needed from your parents. I can tell you are resourceful and this has worked well for you. It has gotten you far in your career and you’ve proven yourself, but it has also left you feeling like there’s got to be more to life, there’s got to be more to you. We continue to try to seek the things we didn’t get in childhood, oftentimes through our achievements. But those wounds don’t go away and can’t be filled with work success. I can help find the person behind the achiever. The person that hasn’t felt seen in a long time, the person that has been waiting to feel heard and seen for years, but learned to hide. As an Atlanta therapist, I offer online therapy for high achievers and perfectionists that fits into your busy schedule, from the comfort of wherever you are.

How Stress Affects Your Health.

It’s easy to ignore your emotional and mental health when you’re as successful as you are. But being a high achiever is catching up to your health and is contributing to your anxiety and depression. Avoiding the anxiety doesn’t work, because you may notice it in other ways. Check out this study on how high levels of anxiety can trigger your fight-flight-freeze response because you’re in a constant state of high levels of adrenalin and cortisol, the stress hormone.  Anxiety can also show up as frustration, irritability, racing thoughts, insomnia, and feeling withdrawn. This can cause sexual dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, headaches, back aches, hormonal imbalance, cardiovascular problems, and Alzheimer’s.

You Want to Enjoy The Life You Created In Years To Come. The Work Starts Now.

Take a moment imagine what that would look like for you…how do you see yourself in your relationships, family, leisure, hobbies, friendships? Are you giving these areas the attention that they need? I know you’re not afraid to do hard work, which is what makes you a high achiever. It can be hard for you to let someone in because you’ve gotten used to figuring things out on your own. The truth is, we all have blindspots. I can help you dig deep to find out who is hiding behind the success, the part of you that has been in hiding for most of your life. Together, we can use evidenced-based therapy to shift the control from your outer world to your inner world. The part of you that you’ve been wanting to connect with but worry what that might look like. Curious to find out? Let’s connect. Give me a call or schedule a free consultation.

Zulaikha Straight, MA, LPC, NCC, NCIAC, NCLC


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