High-Functioning Depression

What It Is and Why It Is Important to Talk About It

The stereotypes about people with mental illnesses are just as harmful as social stigma. These stereotypes negatively affect our perception of who we think can be affected by depression and who can’t. There are certain symptoms that come with a diagnosis, but mental illness can look different for everyone. When we think about a person with depression, someone who is struggling to get through their daily routine is what comes to mind. They can’t get out of bed or leave the house, and they’ve pulled away from people altogether. However, this isn’t always the case. Of course, depression can look like this, but it can also look like someone who just got promoted, or someone who just got engaged, or even someone who has become a new parent. This is what is considered high-functioning depression.

High-functioning depression is characterized by the same symptoms of depression, but those with it can go about their daily life as if nothing is wrong, and some people even excel in their life. Common traits of high-functioning depression include diminished energy, difficulty experiencing joy, irritability or excessive anger, and sleep loss. A person who is high-functioning is less likely to get help because they can be convinced that nothing is wrong, or that their feelings are invalid. Furthermore, these people are discouraged from seeking treatment since they are often told that they have nothing to be depressed about.

There are a few important things about high-functioning depression to recognize here:

  1. Depression can affect people in many different ways. Some people may show it physically by disengaging in everyday activities, while others don’t show any signs of it all on the outside, but on the inside, it is eating away at them.
  2.  If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, do not let anyone invalidate those feelings.  Your feelings and thoughts are valid no matter how “good” your life is. Mental illness does not discriminate – it can affect anyone.

High-functioning depression is still depression, and those affected still deserve to seek treatment or medication. It is hard to recognize who has high-functioning depression which is why talking about mental health is so important. The symptoms of depression are the same whether a person is high-functioning or low-functioning. Knowing these symptoms can help people recognize them in themselves or others.

For more ways that high-functioning depression can manifest itself, watch this.

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