High Functioning Anxiety Coach Interview

Personal Growth Lifestyle
Personal Growth Lifestyle
High Functioning Anxiety Coach Interview
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SPEAKERS

Lisa Latimer, Heather Rider

Connect with Heather Rider:

Youtube:  The Energy Synergist

Website: www.theenergysynergist.com

 

 

Lisa Latimer  00:00

Welcome to personal growth, lifestyle, real talk real results. I’m your host Lisa Latimer, self-awareness facilitator, author and battle-tested empath. Today, my guest Heather Rider, known professionally as the energy synergist is an anxiety coach and imposter syndrome educator who personally overcame high functioning anxiety and imposter syndrome. While working in a demanding tech job. Heather works with clients worldwide who want a non-traditional, holistic approach to healing anxiety. Welcome, Heather.

 

Heather Rider  00:54

It’s great to have you with us. Hi, Lisa, I’m excited to chat with you today.

 

Lisa Latimer  00:59

So you come from a background being in the tech field, which I can imagine is really demanding, and probably a little bit if I had to assume a little bit lopsided in terms of gender. So can you give us a bit of your background as far as how you found yourself faced with your own personal anxiety and imposter syndrome issues?

 

Heather Rider  01:21

Yeah, this is something I love to share with people because I had anxiety for a very long time and didn’t know it. I had high functioning anxiety, which is just like it sounds, it means I was really high functioning. I have had a panic attack in the past, but that wasn’t regular part of my life. And so I’m not sure what I thought anxiety looked like. But whatever I thought it looked like is not what I thought that I had, I just thought I was stressed out all the time. And so I mean, looking back, I really have tried to think, gosh, when did I when did this all start. And all I can say is I definitely feel like I had anxiety for probably over 10 years and didn’t know it. So a very, very long time. And I definitely I’m gonna, you know, chat about the comment about tech working in tech that you just mentioned. But there was a period of time when I actually was a stay-at-home mom with my daughters when I had a ton of anxiety as well.

And so with high functioning anxiety, it is this drive to really, really have everything sort of be perfect all of the time. And so I would spend a lot of time, what’s called ruminating, I know now thinking about things that had happened in the past, like conversations that I had had, where I didn’t think it went well. And I would like replay that dialogue over and over and over in my head, like making up conversations with myself, like, Oh, this person had said that I should have said this, I should have said that you know, and they would have responded this way. And I also would even just think about things that had happened and try and think about how I could have like course corrected to change the outcome. So if I wasn’t doing that, I was thinking about the future. And I just kind of thought, Oh gosh, I’m, I’m worrying a lot about the future

. But really also another, you know, little phrase that I know now it’s future tripping, I was thinking about the future all the time, and strategizing about the way things could possibly go, and trying to control the outcome. So I would be making up all types of different scenarios in my mind for how things could play out. And if they played out a certain way, how did I want to dictate the outcome, so it could be what I wanted to happen. So this is like exhausting, I assure you. It is mentally exhausting. And so it really took me out of the present moment and really, really negatively affected my relationships, particularly with my daughters, because I had a really short fuse, I just, I was extremely impatient, which is kind of an understatement. So all of that sort of carried me into work where everything had to be amazing and stellar that I did all of the time. And so when I was working in technology, you’re right, I definitely was working in a male-dominated industry and when I had imposter syndrome, which this is like a kind of a little side note, but not really. perfectionism, high functioning anxiety, and imposter syndrome all go together.

So if somebody is suffering from imposter syndrome, which I know we’re gonna chat about, it is likely that they may have high functioning anxiety as well. And perfectionism goes with both of those. And so I was I mentioned the stay-at-home mom thing because I was in technology and then I stayed at home with my kids for a couple of years. Then I wound up having like this other job that’s kind of unrelated. And then I went back into technology. And I had been out of technology for 10 years, which is a really, really long time to be out of technology. Right? Yeah, a lot changes. And so I got back into a job. And I already, you know, had self-doubt. But then I also did happen to be working at this company in my team, I was the only woman. So quite frequently, I would be in a room in a meeting with eight 910 other guys, and I’m the only person sitting there. And so I just had massive self-doubt, a lot of, you know, questions about my ability and whether I knew what I was doing or not. And then that, you know, coupled with the high functioning anxiety, it was just, I mean, it was just a disaster. In my mind, basically, at that time, there was a lot of things that happened that were pretty unhealthy and dissatisfying, for me.

 

Lisa Latimer  05:58

Wow. So you hit on something that I find so interesting. And I think that as we go on in our conversation, myself, and anyone who’s listening are going to probably come to find that they are we that we hold a lot of misconceptions. And this is why I’m so happy to have you on because I boil everything down to self-awareness. And I’m sure that like yourself, there are so many listening, who may be you know, this is just, they perceive these behaviors, okay, that’s just who I am. And they don’t even realize or have a name to put to it? Why they do these things. But you said that anxiety, you were overthinking the future. But it seems like the past was on this constant loop playing over and over again, as well. I’ve always thought of anxiety as something where it’s the future that has you rattled and overthinking and anxious. So I found that really interesting that it was also the past for you as well.

 

Heather Rider  06:56

Yeah, I’m glad that you mentioned that, because it can be either one of those, what people should definitely take note is that it is a lack of being in the present. So it doesn’t matter if you’re in the past or in the future. There’s like a chronic worry about something, right? And it’s either you’re just not in the present moment. And so your mind has gone somewhere else. And if you think about it, it makes no sense. But I mean, when you’re in the moment, that’s not how it feels at all, but you’re if you’re not present, you know, if you feel if you’re listening, right now, you’re safe. But your mind goes into a time you weren’t safe or perceived as not being safe, or goes into the future about not being potentially safe as well. And so then that’s where the anxiety spikes. And yeah, we’re going to talk about that probably the imposter syndrome and misconceptions about that, as well.

 

Lisa Latimer  07:54

Yes. Yeah, definitely. And so you talk about see when I would think about anxiety, do you feel like, do you feel like most people can pinpoint specific things because you’re giving this description of kind of like, this overall anxiety, where it’s not just specific things like a meeting where they know that they’re going to give a presentation, or, you know, there’s a deadline looming for a big project? Is it like specific triggers? Or is it really more often? This just broad overall feeling that is just sitting on your shoulders all the time, no matter what you have coming at you?

 

Heather Rider  08:30

Yeah, well, the answer is both. But I would say for a lot of people, and I love that your podcast is about self-awareness, because to dive in and to heal from anxiety and imposter syndrome, it is actually very specific. There are specific triggers, but it takes a lot of awareness to actually even realize what those are. So for a lot of people, they don’t know why they feel anxious. They’re not self-aware. And this was totally true for me. I didn’t know. And so that’s why I said the answer is both. And so for some people, they and they may even be a mix of both, right? Like sometimes they know there is a specific person or let’s say, like traffic that was like, bumper to bumper traffic was a trigger for one of my clients. She knew she was going to get stressed out if she was sitting in her car and gridlock, but she also would have her anxiety spike for what seemed to her absolutely no reason. And there were reasons she just didn’t know what they were. Right. She didn’t uncover that layer. Yeah, exactly. Wow.

 

Lisa Latimer  09:36

So I know. So here’s one misconception and this is something that I have and I’ve dealt with imposter syndrome when I first started my coaching business, but I tend to think of or I used to think I should say, of imposter syndrome. as something that you know, if you’re a newbie at something, so you deal with it when you’re entering a new career. Maybe you’re starting at a new location and you’re around new people. You’re starting your first business. And, you know, it’s generally the first experience with whatever it is that you’re trying to excel in. But you work with women who have already achieved a level of success and who have already kind of established themselves within, you know, a position that command some degree of respect. So do you feel like imposter syndrome is something that exists regardless of prior achievements? Or is it something that kind of as you reach every next level, in your, I guess, growth, whether it’s at work or personal growth, that you have another layer of imposter syndrome that you have to peel back?

 

Heather Rider  10:41

Well, I guess, again, I would say it’s, it is another both because there could be someone who just happens to have imposter syndrome at this new sort of phase within their life. Right. And I did want to mention that imposter syndrome does not just have to be career-related. A lot of times it is, but I have had clients who have imposter syndrome about a creative pursuit that they’re interested in, has nothing to do with their job, or even about being a parent. So just wanted to throw that in there as well, that when we’re thinking about the feeling of Oh, I’m faking it, or I’m a fraud, or I don’t know what I’m doing, they’re gonna find me out this could apply to any area of life. And I will say, Yeah, I do think though, that, that people have a propensity to have imposter syndrome, because if they are perfectionist, and don’t, you know, heal from the reason that they are perfectionist, then the imposter syndrome is going to come back again. And as you mentioned, I was I mean, this is the thing is I had worked in technology, and then I left and I got imposter syndrome when I came back. So that is like kind of that second scenario that you were talking about. I didn’t have imposter syndrome the first time it was because I left for 10 years, right? And then I was coming back and thinking, Oh my gosh, so much has changed. Do I know what I’m doing interest in right?

 

Lisa Latimer  12:09

Now, I appreciate that. And actually, I mean, when I had my first child, I really experienced impostor syndrome. We used to joke in my family. Because you know, in my late teens, early 20s, I used to, you know, sleep all hours go out until late and come home and sleep until 12 o’clock in the afternoon. And it was like a joke, you know, my sisters had children, they’re like, Oh, you could never do that, you’d never be able to handle that. And I will never forget the feeling that came over me when my daughter I, you know, I delivered her. And the nurse put her in my arms. And it was the most scared that I have ever been. I thought that this like motherly instinct was just going to be something that kind of showered down on me from the heavens above your new mother. Now, here’s your motherly instinct. And when I tell you that I held my daughter in the same position, even though my arms were killing me, for I don’t know how long, and I just felt like my husband, my mother who was in the room, and that the nurses and Doctor, I felt like they were all looking right through me, and could see how kind of unfit I was at that point and how uncomfortable I was with holding my own daughter. So thank you so much for you know, putting that out there that imposter syndrome can reach into any area of life. And I think that stems a lot. And what I get into with my clients a lot is, you know, certain false truths that we buy into certain self-limiting beliefs that we buy into, they could stem from, you know, jabs that your family takes at you over what they consider to be kind of like harmless jokes. Sometimes we don’t realize how, how deeply those little seeds kind of get planted within us and how we internalize them.

 

Heather Rider  13:56

Yeah, I love that. You just said that. Because this is what I talk about with my clients is I say, little t trauma and big t trauma. Because oftentimes, the things that really dictate our reality are small things that you know, you just said your family was jesting with you, right? Like, oh, you’re out all night, you’re you can’t, you know, be a parent. But that was planted in your mind. Like, I don’t know what I’m doing. Right? I don’t know what I’m doing. Right? And then that like almost becomes the loop. But it’s, it’s subconsciously you don’t know it’s playing out over and over. And so it is the things that happen in our lives, that really shaped who we are. And a lot of times they’re just so hidden from us. So again, that is where the self-awareness comes through. Is that to have the breakthroughs oftentimes, we have to surface this old stuff. That is Yeah, making us behave the way that we’re behaving.

 

14:53

 

 

Lisa Latimer  14:54

Yeah, it’s weird. And you know, that’s why again, going back to self-awareness, that’s why I feel like everything boils down to that. Because we so often will hear gurus say don’t get into your head. And even like you were talking about your experience where you would play back old conversations and things that you should have said or should have done differently. I feel like there’s a fine line that I feel like we really can benefit from kind of digging in our past, but in a way that’s constructive, you know, in a way that’s and when we ask the right questions of ourselves, instead of just kind of mulling over things that we can’t change now, you know,

 

Heather Rider  15:32

right, I think you’re absolutely right. And you just said questions. And that is true. It’s coming at the seeing a behavior pattern and with like, curiosity, instead of judgment being like, Oh, I wonder why I do that. Or I wonder why I’m feeling that way. That is where Yeah, you’ll get the insights instead of like, Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that, like telling yourself that is a very different tone with yourself. Right? Oh, totally. I think that,

 

Lisa Latimer  16:00

you know, cultivating curiosity within yourself. I mean, if there should be anything that you’re interested in, it should be yourself, your Why do I do this? You know? And so like you said, being, you know, taking this judgment, free tone with yourself and being able to go back, and just and go over these things. Why do I do this? Where did this come from? When did I first start thinking, you know, X, Y, and Z? It really is fascinating what you learn about yourself, when you start peeling back those layers and asking the right questions. What would you say? Are some of the patterns that you see with your clients? Is it a difference in their approach to success? Is it that they have a completely different definition of success? Are there certain things that you kind of see, like playing over and over again, and the clients that you have, for most people I work with, they have a lack of emotional willingness is what I call it. So they,

 

Heather Rider  16:59

they aren’t willing to express or show their emotions, oftentimes, they’re so out of touch with what they’re feeling that if you were to even ask them, What are you feeling right now, they couldn’t name the emotion because at some point, it was too scary, or they had, you know, gotten signals from people that they know not to express their emotion. So it’s basically like, you know, a faucet, and they just sort of turned it off, right. And so they’re just really out of touch with how they’re feeling. And if they are even able to name the emotion, they’re afraid to feel it. And this is really very common with anxiety is that people will have body symptoms as an example, like, chest pain is extremely common digestive issues. And sometimes, you know, people’s throats hurt or their jaws tight, you know, those sorts of things. And then, they get so scared of having the body symptom that accompanies the emotion that they’re trying to repress that as well. And so I think that’s because you asked, What’s the most common thing, it’s just it is just being so out of touch with the emotion and letting themselves feel it because they’re really scared of will. I’m mad right now, what’s going to happen if I let myself be angry? They don’t even know what will happen. Like they, they, they, they don’t know. Am I gonna spontaneously combust or something? I mean, I’m making a joke. They know, they don’t think that but right. It’s like, the perceived concept of, of letting themselves feel it is just so scary that they just push everything down, just like totally shove it down.

 

Lisa Latimer  18:41

That’s so interesting. So it kind of brings me back to like, you know, what came first the chicken or the egg. So for the high, the high functioning, anxiety-driven to achieve and even overachieve as a way of busying themselves are distracting themselves from their emotions, or it had these emotions and not knowing how to deal with them develop the after they already had all this achievement, and all the success that they

 

Heather Rider  19:06

would say again, it’s probably both right because I mean, what we were talking about. The first is, you know, avoidance techniques. This is something that is extremely common is that if somebody doesn’t want to feel an emotion, they will find something to busy themselves with. For a lot of people, it’s cleaning, they’ll just clean a lot of things right. Eat social media or TV where they can like numb out. Those are very common. And so if someone is a perfectionist, they can funnel all their energy into work a lot of the time or this could be school as well for someone that you know who maybe is either in grad school or undergrad because I I’ve known some I usually work with older woman but I have had a college client before so it’s just like, funnel all of your energy right in to whatever it is that you’re working on. So then you can avoid your emotions, but it’s just like, oh, I’ll just keep working. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not working, right. So they’ll just keep working, working, working my butt. But I guess underneath that, really, again, is with high functioning anxiety in particular, it really does come from perfectionism. And this is where someone would have to look into where did those signals come that they need to, quote unquote, be perfect, or need to control things. And this is something that I have seen, there tends to be two opposite ends of the spectrum, they either grew up in a house where they were expected to be perfect. Or they were growing up in a house that there was absolutely it was out of control like perhaps they were neglected, you know, where there was just not a lot of rules in their house, but and so they felt so out of control growing up that when they had the opportunity to control their lives, particularly as adults, that’s when they would start to become really rigid because they were, you know, I mean, literally out of control when they were a kid either abuse or just, you know, grew up in poverty or a variety of things. So then when they are an adult, they’re like, Well, I’m not going to be in that situation again. Now I’ll have everything like, quote, unquote, like nice and tidy, right? Like, I’ll keep it, I’ll keep it stable this way. And then they over control the situation.

 

Lisa Latimer  21:27

Yeah, that’s actually what you said, just the first person that popped into my head is my mother because my mother has always been and my grandmother was the same way. But my mother has always been, she would be cleaning every two seconds and cause herself so much anxiety if something got moved. And when my sisters who were much younger, were little like and cats and everything running around, she would just be cleaning and like to a point that I  started to see something within her and I would say to her, why are you focusing this much energy on this, when you know, it’s going to last about five minutes, and thinking back and not related to what you just said. She at that time, really felt like there was so many other things in her life that she couldn’t control. And, you know, in her mind that cleaning and keeping a tidy house was I think the one thing that she felt like she had a degree of control over. And one of the few things that I think she at that time suffering from very low self-esteem felt like she could do very well. And so she just, you know, would do that all the time. And I remember just looking at her and thinking to myself, like what a waste of energy, you know, but you know, when you’re outside of, of that person’s mind, I’m sure it makes sense to her when she was doing it.

 

Heather Rider  22:48

Absolutely, yeah, like if you think about your physical environment, keeping that as clean as possible, right? It’s something you can visually see. So you’re looking around, and if you feel out of control, if you can control your external environment, some way it makes, right, it’s a false sense of security. So I just am hoping that your listeners are thinking right now. Okay, what ways do I avoid feeling my emotions? Because I’ve, I’ve worked with people before and at first, they’re like, well, I don’t do any of that. Because we may not have mentioned something they do. But again, when they really start to think they’re like, oh, wait a minute, Yes, I do. And then the list will start forming in their head of ways in which they’re, you know, using these avoidance techniques.

 

Lisa Latimer  23:33

That’s true. And you know, I also want to touch on something because our, I call it kind of like the Instagram culture, where they show Insta success, which is not the real-world picture of what success looks like. So, you know, they glamorize everything on Instagram, and social media, in general, tends to be glamorized. And so I know people and even at certain points, myself have really fallen into that hustle 24 seven cultural idea. And I know myself at certain points, and others, tend to associate the feeling of burnout as almost like a badge of honor like you’re burned out. And that’s great because you know, what, people who are out there and they are crushing it, they feel burned out sometimes, but you know, what they pick up and they keep going, and they have this beautiful house, they have the sexy cars in their driveway. And so have you seen any kind of associations between success and the idea of overachieving?

 

Heather Rider  24:38

I love that. You just said that. That is something that I definitely talk about, particularly if I’m doing a workshop like for a company because there is this culture of what you just said hustle or this phrase that I hate rise and grind. Yes, right. Like your life should not you should not wake up and just grind Anything, right? Because the real The reality is this does actually affect our bodies. It’s not just all the things you talked about is that we have stress hormones that if we’re operating that way you can burn your body out. It’s called burnout as in like, you have adrenal fatigue, right. And so I think that people, there’s this expression that I love that is like, slow down to speed up. That’s the opposite, right? It’s like, yeah, it’s like if you can take breaks and natural pauses, that’s where you have this growth that happens. It’s not from driving yourself to visual physical exhaustion. And I mean, what we were just talking about really is the comparison trap, right of like social media, we have no idea, and plus half the pictures we see could not even be real. You know, you just said is like, Oh, that’s their house, or, like, use that during the day for a photoshoot that they rented. Right?

 

Lisa Latimer  25:58

Not photos from off the internet.

 

Heather Rider  26:00

Yeah, exactly. Like, it’s not even real. But I mean, this is this is where since we’re talking about really high achieving people, it is this, again, going back to why are you working so much? Why are you cleaning so much? It’s that there’s, you know, an avoidance in there. And it could be like, let’s say the trying to get to the achievements is a fear of some sort. Right? So what are they actually afraid of that is making them work so much, or think that they have to attain certain even like materialistic things? Right? Absolutely. And Heather, the first time that we spoke, you

 

Lisa Latimer  26:41

kind of named this difference that you see with your overachievers. And you said that their level C is most people’s Level A can you get into kind of what that means? Because you said that the first time we spoke, and that really stuck with me.

 

Heather Rider  26:56

Yeah, I mean, I just love to tell this personal story. And I’ll make it short. Because I think to illustrate this is where this concept really comes through. I already had a graduate degree. And there was something that I was working on to get certification, for a job. So I had to take some more graduate-level classes, I did not have to have a specific grade, I just needed to pass them. Okay. And so I was taking this class and I had a project to do, and I decided I was going to give myself one day to work on it. And so the entire day, I’m working on this thing. And I kept telling myself, Heather, you don’t need to get an A, you don’t need to get an A It was like a running track that I had in my head while I’m doing the work. And so at the end of the day, you know, I’m turning it in electronically submitting it to the system. And I just remember thinking, This is the worst thing I have ever turned in. This is awful. I if I hadn’t set that time block for myself, I would have worked. I’m not kidding, two more days on it. So like three days total. So I’m turning this thing in, and I was like, Oh, god, that’s awful. I’m sure that’s like a see. I mean, I knew I was gonna pass but I was like, probably barely, right. So I get I get my grade back the next week, and I got an A Wow. And it was that moment that I was like, wait a minute, you have been working so far past what you needed to do. So it’s like if you think about an ice cream sundae where you like put the whipped cream on top, and then you put the cherry on top, I was like putting something on top of the cherry normally. And this is what a lot of people that I work with they their their work that they think is awful, is not C level work, it is actually a level work. They just have this really distorted view of the amount of time that they need to put into something. Wow.

 

Lisa Latimer  28:56

Yeah, that stuck with me. And I’m sure that that story. And that’s going to stick with quite a few of the people that are listening now. So you have such amazing insight into these two issues. really tell us a little bit about how your non-traditional approach to helping your high functioning anxiety clients and imposter syndrome clients differs from the more traditional methods that you see.

 

Heather Rider  29:19

Yes, I’m not a therapist. And so I do a number of different approaches. That would probably be an entire podcast on itself. But I really help people access into their subconscious on their unconscious minds in different ways. So that we can pull forward these limiting beliefs that you and I have already mentioned that are like, you know, you can think of them as like glitchy computer programs that are sort of running the show. So we like pull those up so that they have more self-awareness about why they’re doing the things that they do. And then we sort of reprogram in a variety of ways around those experiences. Just sort of like neutralize them or are shifted. So the past experience doesn’t really have the charge anymore. And for people who are listening, they still might be like, well, I still don’t know, what do you do? And I mean, some of the approaches that I use are aromatherapy, I do energy work, I do some visualization processes. So just a wide variety of things to help people like kind of tackle and tap in different ways that they have never used before.

 

Lisa Latimer  30:30

No, that’s awesome. And I think also that that really helps in terms of like, you touched on it before your you wreak havoc, I mean, the nervous system of someone who’s like always on that type of level, like you were saying, you, your adrenals are fatigued, everything is fatigued. So I think it’s really important to take that type of holistic approach because you also have to heal your body at the same time.

 

Heather Rider  30:56

Yeah, it’s absolutely true. If you’ve been running, running, pushing yourself for a long time. And yeah, you’ve wound up doing a lot of things that, you know, unfortunately, you didn’t realize you were doing to both your mental state and your physical body.

 

Lisa Latimer  31:09

Yeah, and And, interestingly enough, your body does or can become addicted to stress and stressful situations. So you definitely have to take that holistic approach to really get everything fully in order. So Heather, it has been amazing to speak with you today. I’m sure that we have a lot of people that would love to know where they can go to connect with you and learn a little bit more about you. I’ll have that information in the links as well, but you could let them know now as well.

 

Heather Rider  31:37

So yeah, I would just love for you to visit my website, which is theenergysynergist.com and I also have a lot of great content on YouTube and my channel is Heather Rider. So either one of those places is great.

 

Lisa Latimer  31:50

That sounds great. Thank you so much for being with us today. really, truly valuable conversation. We appreciate it.

 

Heather Rider  31:56

Thank you.

 

Lisa Latimer  31:59

Are you ready to become your most valuable asset book a free chat with me at Lisa latimer.com  From there you can grab my Amazon bestseller Who the fuck are you increased self-awareness to gain clarity, silence, fear and create fulfillment in life in business? You can also check out my courses, Self-Aware Goal Setting and Speak it Into Existence with more courses to come. I’m Lisa Latimer and I’m helping you make personal growth part of your lifestyle.

 

 

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