What is High-Functioning Depression?

When we picture people who suffer from depression, we often see a person who cannot get out of bed or leave the house. We do not see depression in people who are smiling and go to work everyday, or someone who is constantly socializing. The inner turmoil or struggle that these people face everyday is invisible to the world. We therefore often miss the signs of those who suffer from high-functioning depression. These are people who have achieved success and seem to be doing well on the outside but suffer from consistent symptoms of depression on the inside.

High-functioning depression is hard to spot since most who suffer from it don’t fit the traditional perception of depression. This can be dangerous, especially when left unnoticed and untreated. Many people who suffer from high-functioning depression often feel extra guilt when it comes to seeking help as they often discount their own experiences. They see those around them suffering so visibly and don’t feel ‘sick enough’ themselves to seek help. Understanding the symptoms can help others better understand the experiences of those who suffer from high-functioning depression. These are a few of the common symptoms that are often mentioned and experienced:

1. Difficulty sleeping

Those who experience symptoms of high-functioning depression may have difficulty in regulating their sleeping patterns. They toss-and-turn, doze off at odd times, or sleep more than or less than usual.

2. Low self-esteem and self-criticism

Feeling unable to succeed or meet expectations is often associated with those who have high-functioning depression. When they face challenges, they see them as being long-lasting rather than temporary, and small events can become overwhelming and extremely stressful.

Those with high-functioning depression may feel that they lack the resources to be deal with these challenges. They may become self-critical and feel like a failure despite evidence to the contrary. They will constantly beat themselves up about small or insignificant incidents.

3. Self-doubt and feelings of hopelessness

People with high-functioning depression often doubt their skills, talents, and capabilities. They are rarely satisfied with their efforts or results, and may perceive compliments and rewards as “misguided” praise. As such, these individuals feel like they are wasting their time and could always be doing more. When they continue to keep themselves busy, they develop feelings of hopelessness.

4. Diminished energy

Overall energy levels can decrease for those who have high-functioning depression. They may also find it hard to gather up the energy to go through the day. Doing activities require more effort than would be required by the average person.

5. Generalized sadness and difficulty in feeling joy

Hobbies or activities that normally bring joy – such as spending time with friends – may begin to feel like a burden. Enthusiasm for work, school, or family and friends may decrease and lead to a change in social activities. They may also begin to distance and isolate themselves from others. Those who experience high-functioning depression also report a general sadness and often cannot pinpoint the cause of this sadness.

What do I do if I have high-functioning depression?

Symptoms of high-functioning depression can be more severe if left untreated. Therefore, seeking help is important for people who have these symptoms. Treatment and support can help improve the lives of those who suffer from high-functioning depression. Patterns associated with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and self-criticism can be changed with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT can help people to change their negative perception of events and help them to understand and manage their emotions. TranQool is an easy way to access therapists who are experts in CBT.

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