Akash Panda is a blogger, entrepreneur, and writer. He is also a professional content writer who writes content for social media sites.
What Is High-Functioning Depression?
High-functioning depression is commonly misunderstood and mislabeled. Although millions of individuals suffer from high functioning depression across the world, it is not a mental disease. It is, however, very similar to persistent depressive disorder (PDD), a prevalent disease.
PDD is a moderate form of persistent depression that can last up to two years. Though it does not persist as long as PDD, high-functioning depression is still one of the most frequent mental illnesses in the world. The issue is that it's one of the most difficult to identify.
The signs and symptoms of high-functioning depression are complex, diversified, and very individualized. They get ingrained in your everyday habits and distinguish you as a person. Because high-functioning depression is so difficult to diagnose, people who are experiencing depression symptoms usually overlook it. In other words, depressed symptoms are difficult to pinpoint, and it's typical for people to dismiss or overlook minor chronic depression warning signs.
You may not be sobbing every day or suffering from worry regularly. You may appear to be leading a normal life. Still, you are nevertheless dealing with this perplexing and terrible disease regularly. You are not immune to mental disease just because you are productive and self-disciplined.
This article focuses on and discusses the following 9 aspects of high-functioning depression:
- Depression that produces results
- Can't you just "get over it"?
- Imposter syndrome
- Refusing to receive treatment
- Isolation on an emotional level
- Fluctuation that persists
- Losing interest in your hobbies
- Guilty mountains
1. Depression That Produces Results
Is depression causing you to be lethargic? This is one of the most frequent misconceptions regarding people who are depressed. Even though sadness may cause anxiety and drain motivation, it is quite normal for people with depression to have busy, productive routines.
In reality, some of the world's most successful and wealthy people suffer from depressive symptoms regularly. As a result, depression is becoming more frequent among high-functioning people. They aren't deadbeats. They aren't wasting their time.
They do, however, struggle to enjoy their work and are plagued by negative emotions such as emptiness, anger, and discontent. These sensations might worsen over time if ignored, affecting your happiness and well-being.
2. Can't You Just "Get Over It"?
Almost everyone who suffers from depression has been asked, “Why can't you simply get over it?” Depression, however, isn't something one just "gets over." Depression is a slow, overpowering disease that affects the way you think, feel, and find meaning in your life. And depression is often mistaken with specific feelings like sorrow or irritation.
Because depression affects nearly everything you do, it colors the goals you achieve, the mentality you retain, and the behaviors you keep. Depression is not something you can ignore, forget about, or reject, even if you are a high-functioning individual. There is no treatment for it, and it can last for a long time and vary greatly from person to person. Stated directly, "getting over it" isn't an option.
3. Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a self-destructive condition that many people with high-functioning depression are familiar with. Imposter syndrome is not a diagnosable mental disorder like high-functioning depression, yet it affects a staggering number of individuals today.
“Feeling like a fraud” is a broad definition of imposter syndrome. You could feel like an "imposter" in your own life, making it difficult to recognize and assess your self-worth. Imposter syndrome is especially common among top achievers. You might not think you're ready for a challenging task. You might even doubt your capacity to take on new and more demanding tasks.
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Those mental obstacles, of course, cause a great deal of tension and worry in your life, which exacerbates many depressive symptoms. That's why high-functioning people struggle with self-doubt and poor self-esteem all the time.
Because of the constant pressure to succeed, they are prone to depressive episodes. They feel like imposters and frauds pursuing ambitions they don't believe they deserve. This state is not only stressful, but it also has a negative influence on your happiness and motivation in the future. It gets increasingly difficult to achieve your objectives if you do not believe you are deserving of them.
4. Refusing to Receive Treatment
Not everyone who realizes they are depressed seeks assistance, guidance, or therapy. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from depression refuse to recognize or verify their symptoms. This is especially prevalent among those who suffer from high-functioning depression. You may have no idea what you're experiencing or why it's bothering you. Perhaps you don't want to confess you're dealing with a mental condition.
Here's an example of a frequent scenario. You believe you may be suffering from high-functioning depression. You're aware that you're in danger of developing depressive symptoms or that you're already experiencing them. Some of the warning signals in this lecture catch your interest, but you refuse to identify yourself as "depressed."
No one wants to be associated with the stigmas and misconceptions that surround depression. Because people's perceptions of sadness are significantly distorted and fabricated, they are hesitant to accept their mental illness. As a result, they say things like "it's not so awful" and dismiss their depression symptoms. However, whether you're high- or low-functioning, depression is something you should discuss. Even if you don't like or understand your feelings, they're worth examining if you suspect you have signs of this mental condition.
5. Isolation on an Emotional Level
Many people who suffer from high-functioning depression avoid talking about their thoughts and symptoms, which may be isolating. Because it's hard to put into words or define how you're feeling, depressive episodes are usually accompanied by feelings of loneliness or isolation. Even if you're speaking to a close friend or a qualified expert, you can find it difficult to find the proper words. This makes you feel even more alone.
You aren't going through this alone, however, no matter how isolated you may feel. Because depression is a difficult and contradictory illness that no one understands, many people struggle to explain their thoughts and symptoms. But, like millions of others before you, you can recover. Your depression may have ups and downs, highs and lows, but it is not indestructible. It won't persist indefinitely.
So, take advantage of opportunities to speak with individuals you can trust. Make your feelings known and connect with others who have had similar situations. Even though you believe you are alone, keep in mind that you are not.
What Does High-Functioning Depression Feel Like?
6. Fluctuation That Persists
High-functioning depression shifts form from time to time; it is not a static condition that always presents itself in the same manner. Not only can sadness take on diverse forms in different people, but the symptoms of depression can also change over time.
You may suffer tiredness, loss of attention, or indecision from time to time. However, those symptoms may disappear and be replaced by others. After a month, you may have imposter syndrome or severe anxiety. Your disease remains the same, even though your symptoms appear and sound different.
Because depression symptoms vary, many patients mistakenly believe they have healed when minor symptoms go. They are unconcerned about their mental health and ignore signs that their mood may be fluctuating.
Someone suffering from high-functioning depression, for example, may blame their inability to concentrate on their food or routine. Or perhaps they equate aimlessness with a job shift. Depression, on the other hand, might endure a long period. It comes in several forms and derives from a vast range of experiences. People who suffer from high-functioning depression may battle for years without knowing when or where their symptoms first appeared.
7. Losing Interest in Your Hobbies
A lack of enjoyment, rather than a decline in productivity, is a common symptom of high-functioning depression. Even if they suffer from persistent depression, high-functioning people may be able to keep up with their hectic routines. Their emotions and personal interests, on the other hand, are neglected.
You could, for example, drop out of social groups or lose touch with activities you used to like outside of work. Consider the following basic question: “How do I pass the time?” If you don't know the answer, it's possible that having a good time is the last thing on your mind.
When you're depressed, you may feel like you're treading water. Some individuals can easily splash around or swim laps in the pool, but you're simply trying to keep afloat. You're not thinking about pleasure or enjoyment if you're always trying to keep your head above water. You're only trying to stay alive.
Do you hold yourself accountable for symptoms you can't control? Many persons with high-functioning depression establish an unhealthy relationship with their depression. They claim they're "simply caught in a rut," so they try to create and achieve as much as they did previously. They lash out at their mistakes, and they set unrealistic goals for themselves.
Criticisms and unrealistic expectations, unfortunately, have a detrimental impact on your attitude, perspective, and motivation. You attempt to grit your teeth and push through the discomfort, but your perseverance just makes things worse. Depression is not an issue that can be solved by force, whether you like it or not. The more you push, the worst your symptoms will get.
9. Guilty Mountains
You may have severe emotions of guilt if you have high-functioning depression. You're being pulled in opposing directions by your ambition and despair. You desire to achieve your objectives but lack the energy, drive, or confidence to do so. And you're left with lasting emotions of shame as a result of your failure.
Your shame can develop into a powerful, suppressive force over time, affecting your confidence and self-esteem. A never-ending stream of guilt can accompany depression. It builds up, pushing you deeper and deeper until you're buried under a mountain of self-doubt and pessimism. But you won't be buried behind that mountain indefinitely. To claw your way out, you'll need time, patience, and determination. It's true! You, like many others, can work to overcome your depression!
Coping With High-Functioning Depression
- Williams, Mark, et al. The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. The Guilford Press, 2007.
- Burns, David D. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. William Morrow, 1999.
- Shannon-Karasik, Caroline. "Please Stop Thinking My High-Functioning Depression Makes Me Lazy." Healthline.
- SAMSHA | National Helpline
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Akash Panda