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The Signs of High-Functioning Depression

The Signs of High-Functioning Depression

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

The media paints a clear picture of what depression looks like. You see the man or woman sad, isolated, and unable to get out of bed. They go about their day withdrawn from family and friends, struggle with sleep and are emotional wrecks. While those are major signs of depression, there are people who have depression that goes unnoticed. Sometimes depression might be your friend who got engaged; it might be a straight A student or your recently promoted colleague. On the outside, they seem to be doing well but on the inside, they are struggling. They are the high functioning depressive, and unfortunately, their high functioning nature makes it less likely that they will ever seek treatment for their condition.

Despite all the efforts out there to increase awareness about depression, the reality is depression is still heavily stigmatized. Many keep their sadness hidden because they feel guilty for the sadness they feel inside. They struggle to crawl out of bed, yet once they wake up, they manage to accomplish a heap of tasks before ending the day in an emotional heap.

Learning about high-functioning depression is incredibly important because you can help identify the signs before it is too late. Carol Landau, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior and medicine at Brown University, says she sees this type of depression in women who struggle with perfectionism.

“People often say being ‘high-functioning’ is better than being ‘low-functioning,’ but that’s not really true because the most important thing is for a depressed person to get help—which a high-functioning person is limiting herself from,” Landau says.

Forget about the mopey women you see in the antidepressant commercials. Not everyone looks that way. Think about the person that is overly irritable, stressed out and angry. Depression can manifest itself in a multitude of ways. It is always good to reach out to someone. Even if they are not suffering from depression, compassion goes a long way.

Amanda Leventhal, a college student at the University of Missouri, discussed in an interview her struggles with depression and said she hopes more people will learn to reach out to others.

“Just little things, like asking, ‘How are you doing?’” she says. “Just be there to listen and ask them what they need. Different people will need different things. Just little things, like asking, ‘How are you doing?’

3 Signs of High-Functioning Depression

  1. Seeking Perfection

    While it is healthy to be self-critical, those with high-functioning depression tend to be overachievers. On the outside, they exceed expectations and go the extra mile. However, often they push themselves too hard. Often, seeking perfection becomes overwhelming, and it can eventually lead to burnout and depression. Stay on the lookout for someone who seems to be piling on too many responsibilities.

  2. Feeling Like You have “Wasted Time”

    The desire to do it all often leads the high functioning depressive into feeling as though they have wasted time. They lack the ability to find pleasure in doing relaxing activities because they feel as though they are not maximizing their time. While it is great to have goals, being too hard on yourself Is not healthy.

  3. Low Energy and Lack of Sleep

    The high functioning depressive suffers from low energy. They are often too anxious to sleep because of the number of tasks they attempt to cram into one day. They often are seen with the cup of coffee or energy drink prodding away. However, eventually exhaustion will get to you, and you will crash.

Whether you have high-functioning depression or know someone who might have it, you need to seek treatment. Those with high-functioning depression are often the last ones to get help. Do not wait. Get treatment today.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

Author: Shernide Delva

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