Imagine a person who seems very successful, deals with challenges in a tactful and smart way, and socializes with people regularly but is secretly feeling like a complete failure and fears that they’re not dealing with life in the way they should be.
While this is hard to imagine, it’s actually something that many people tend to experience, and it only gets darker if left unchecked. It’s high-functioning depression – or in other words, depression which doesn’t show on the outside.
This kind of depression doesn’t meet the stereotypical definition of depression. It’s because the mental state doesn’t reflect on one’s day-to-day functioning and people who are dealing with it look (at least on the outside) like they’re holding it all together.
Here are 11 things people with high-functioning depression are dealing with.
1. Diminished energy
Feeling like each day is walking up a mountain with a backpack of rocks and lacking the mental, emotional, and physical energy to handle the weight that life seems to have for you. A high-functioning depression usually characterizes with greatly diminished energy levels.
2. Constant self-doubt
There’s this constant feeling that you may not be on the right career path, or in the right relationship, or, really, this strong self-doubt about many things. This state may be pervasive or situational – but, whatever the case, it feels like you just can’t get over it.
3. Difficulty experiencing joy
With each new day, it seems like the pleasure you used to feel in so many activities is being sucked out of them. Whether it’s getting together with your closest friends, a morning ritual you enjoyed, or you name it – it’s simply lost its charm and has turned grey. In fact, it may even feel burdensome.
4. Generalized sadness
One which doesn’t really have a root cause, and which seems to be subtly spreading throughout your body. It’s a feeling of hopelessness that pervades beneath the smiling competency and confident attitude.
5. Feelings of guilt and worry over the past and future
While worries and feeling a bit guilty about some events in the past or the future are a normal part of life for every person, if they feel pervasive and dominant, they may indicate something more than ‘normal.’
6. Seeking perfection
While perfectionism is a highly prized thing in today’s society, it does come with a dark side where striving turns into unrealistic demands of yourself. It can grow into a constant struggle where you beat yourself up whenever you fall short of the bar you have set for yourself. This leads to a constant feeling of failure and a loss of wish to aim for perfection.
7. Relentless criticism – of self and others
It’s a mentally invasive form of criticism which seems to permeate in every aspect of your perception. It’s the feeling that you’re a complete failure, your boss is a total jerk, your partner is the most irritating person to have ever lived, and that your life is an absolute flop. This criticism turns into a chronically negative thought pattern that feels like you can’t switch it off.
8. Irritability or excessive anger
All the mental strain that you put on yourself makes you lose temper easily over little things. Whether it’s your partner who said something wrong, or your colleague who messed up a project, or even if your child accidentally broke your favorite coffee mug – it’s something that makes you explode and react disproportionately to the event.
9. Small things feel like huge things
What used to be simple annoyances that don’t mean much can quickly turn into things that spell the end of the world if you’re fighting with high-functioning depression. Your accumulated stress makes you perceive things much more tragically and on a much larger scale than they are, making your reactions disproportionate and irrational.
10. Relying on your coping strategies more and more
It may characterize as an increased need in alone time or turning to coping mechanisms that would take your focus away from your mind such as constant Netflix, excessive gaming, or using alcohol or drugs. These are all ways to get away from your life and you seem to be latching on to them a bit too much.
11. Inability to rest and slow down
Another way to escape your thoughts and feelings that want to engulf you is by staying busy all the time. Regardless of the exhausting day at work, you find yourself rushing to clean up, tidy, and organize the house afterwards instead of taking a break for a while.
If you find yourself doing these things, it’s best that you consult a professional and see how you can get out of it. While it may seem to you that that’s how life it is, in truth, it can be a much better experience if you allow it. Stay strong and don’t be afraid to be on the receiving side of ‘help’ for a change.