How do you feel?

Psychologists today tend to associate high functioning depression (HFD) with persistent depressive disorder also called dysthymia, which is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. It is manifested in a way that a person may lose interest in normal daily activities, suffer feelings of hopelessness, lack productivity, have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These long term feelings may highly interfere with a person daily activities, work, school or relationships.

Individuals who suffer from the high functioning depression on the other hand, may not feel as helpless as those with clinical depression, but their state of depression does affect, significantly their quality of life. It minimizes their interest in everything, including social events with family and friends. HFD persons will regularly go to school and even be an excellent student, go to work and socialize when necessary, however, once they’re done with their responsibilities, they’ll withdraw themselves. HFD may be harder to detect than major depressive disorder because the people living with it are often successful individuals and high achievers who make you think everything is all right all the time. But, it’s not OK.

How can you discover if you suffer from the HFD?

Check it out and see if you show one of the following symptoms that may indicate the HFD:

  • You are somehow anxious and concerned with time. Although you’re achieving your goals and completing all your tasks, you feel like you’re wasting your time. Even if you find a new hobby or job, it still feels like a fool’s errand, and you wonder if all the time you’re investing into such activities are worth it.
  • You constantly criticize yourself. Because you feel like you’re not achieving much, you criticize yourself. Your expectations are too high so you push yourself to the limit, affecting your state of mind.
  • You tend to overthink. It doesn’t matter if a situation is big or small, you’ll find yourself overthinking it and eventually breaking down.
  • You feel misunderstood. Since most high functioning depressives can maintain a job, a house, and their responsibilities,people underestimate how much anguish they’re going through,minimizing their feelings simply because they don’t act like the typical depressed person.
  • You feel saddened. It’s normal to feel sad from time to time, but if you’re sad or numb most of the time even while participating in fun activities, you may be suffering from high functioning depression.
  • You have unhealthy coping strategies. Since you overwork yourself, you may lean towards drugs or alcohol to deal with stressful situations. Many high functioning depressives turn to self-destructive habits to clear their minds.
  • You have excessive pastimes. Along with any unhealthy coping habits you have, you may also find yourself constantly gaming or binge-watching TV series, hanging on social networks, among other things. Although these activities seem normal, the problem is you’re actually using them to escape reality.

How can you deal with this state of mind?

High functioning depression is difficult to notice because those who suffer from it are still able to continue with their responsibilities. Since they don’t act like the typical depressive person, they believe that they’re truly okay,but in reality it’s not okay to live life feeling numb, sad, and constantly criticizing yourself.

I won’t be long because you will understand what do I mean.

  • De-clutter your home (of essence importance for messy persons).

  • Take care of yourself – get enough good quality sleep, good, healthy food, drink sufficient amount of water.

  • Keep moving, exercise and maintain good hygiene.

  • Get organized – make your classic or digital agenda be your good friend.

  • Do things that make you happy if you don’t have any hobby and get socialized ’cause HFD comes from isolation.

  • Keep your mind always busy but in a positive, smart and productive way, not to let your mind wander negatively.

Yes, HFD may be very challenging to deal with, but it’s not impossible. If you do have high functioning depression, try to find the root of it. Only by doing so can you truly live happily.

Have you ever experienced these symptoms or been diagnosed with high functioning depression?

If so, what methods have you tried to recover from it? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below or set up a consultation with me.

Disclaimer: Only a real professional can diagnose you. Do not use these as self diagnosis. Actually, never self diagnose.

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Mirella Rasic Paolini, Holistički terapeut