High functioning depression is one of the most complicated types of depression to recognize because it looks normal to the person and others. In today’s world mental health day, I wanted to share my experience with it, as I know many would relate to mine.
We may not Feel it
Many of us go about our days without knowing we are depressed. We feel tired, sad, empty, and yet happy! Which to many translates as the non-existence of Depression.
Plenty of people have been masking and hiding their suffering for many reasons; one of them is the stigma around mental health, Depression, and seeking help.
Another reason is being forced to function and go about their life without having space to let out real emotions and show genuine sadness, except when they’re left alone.
What are the symptoms of high functioning depression?
It shares almost all the symptoms of depression, except it’s less severe, which is why it’s much harder to diagnose. These are few symptoms out of many that can be found in trusted resources:
Feeling fatigued all the time and having no energy while doing regular day-to-day tasks. Getting through the day feels like a battle.
Difficulty experiencing joy
Your old routine and habits that used to bring you joy aren’t helping you anymore.
Society asks for perfection. Focusing on perfecting your work and self can lead you to be in distress and feel burned out.
Perfectionism leads to dissatisfaction with your own work and self, which can cause burnout.
All the symptoms above could make you have low self-esteem and doubt yourself and your ability to do well in life, relationships, and career.
What is it like to live with high functioning depression?
I’ve been going in and out of major depressive episodes since I was 14. Some episodes ended quickly, and some took a long time to end. In my 20s, triggers and suicidal thoughts became less frequent, but I kept feeling empty and sad, but it wasn’t intense enough “to me” to call it Depression.
Today is a good day to explain what it’s like to have high-functioning Depression, as it is my father’s 12th passing anniversary. Yet, I had a pretty normal and functioning day.
I got few tasks done with almost no energy in me. I cooked and wrote this post with so much sadness around me, reminding me I’m not well. I looked normal to everyone, which is something people with high-functioning depression experience.
That doesn’t mean I don’t experience happiness. I do feel it. I would do so well emotionally and physically for days and might go out to see my friends and have so much fun. But the day after, I would feel so low and out of energy and need a long period to recover.
How to cope with high-functioning Depression?
I am not a licensed therapist or a psychiatrist; please reach out to one to seek help.
But, one thing I hope we all know; mental illnesses aren’t curable. We can only manage them.
These are the ways working for me to cope with it:
- Setting Boundaries:
On days I’m feeling low, I communicate with loved ones and anyone I work with that I cannot perform at “normal” levels due to my mental state.
- Active Meditation:
I do the things I like (cooking, gardening, showering…etc.) while actively meditating, as I find it hard to meditate in one place passively.
It helps me clear my mind and understand my own emotions.
Personally, I enjoy writing about my own experiences as it allows me to get them out of my system and makes me make sense out of them.
- Accepting my efforts:
I do as much as I can and try so hard not to feel guilty or worry about deadlines. Having a solid support system is very important to keep your sanity.