Home Health Am I Depressed? Understanding the Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Am I Depressed? Understanding the Signs of High-Functioning Depression

by Altaf Shaikh
Am I Depressed? Understanding the Signs of High-Functioning Depression

You’re strong on the outside, but people don’t know that you struggle with depression. Sound familiar?

In the United States, more than 17.3 million people experience at least one major depressive episode each year, a stunning 7.1% of all American adults. With so many people affected, it can be challenging to know where to start.

For those looking for more information on high functioning depression, be sure to check out this comprehensive guide to understand more. Read on to learn more.

You Feel Like You’re Always “Faking It”

What is high functioning depression? It can sometimes be challenging to see the signs because, on the exterior, a person with high-functioning depression may appear absolutely fine.

It’s important to remember there’s absolutely no difference between “normal” depression and high-functioning depression. High functioning depression symptoms include things such as:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Low energy
  • Irregular eating and sleeping
  • Lack of self-worth
  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Feeling agitated or sluggish
  • Frequent thoughts of death

One of the most common symptoms of high-functioning depression is you feel like you’re always “faking it”, which can be completely and utterly exhausting. Those with high-functioning depression often report experiencing imposter syndrome. 

With imposter syndrome, a person believes their skills, accomplishments, and talents are somehow lesser than those around them. They are filled with doubt and sometimes feel like a fraud.

Although depression has many different faces, one of the most common symptoms of people who suffer from high-functioning depression is a feeling of hopelessness and overall sadness for no external reason.

This rationale leads many people with high-functioning depression to feel unaccomplished or even lazy. Though depression is highest amongst young adults ages 18-25, it can affect people of all ages regardless of money, status, or occupation.

Some forms of depression, like seasonal depression, come with stronger waves of symptoms during the changing of the seasons. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) often happens around the same time of year for the individual affected. 

Consider using a light therapy box to help lift your mood and lessen your symptoms of depression. Choose a lightbox that emits as little UV light as possible. Stay about 24 inches away from the light surface. Remain there for twenty to thirty minutes each day.

You’re Constantly Tired

One of the most common high-functioning depression signs is constantly being tired. Getting through a typical day requires an enormous amount of energy and leaves you feeling somehow more exhausted than when you began.

You may lose concentration frequently and find yourself staring off into space a lot. This may lead to high levels of frustration both to and from those around you in your personal and professional life.

Try keeping your day as scheduled as possible. Write down the tasks you want to accomplish and physically mark them as done with a checkmark or by crossing that item off a list.

Try to prioritize the things you need to accomplish. Don’t push yourself to a breaking point, do what you can do. It may be helpful to lay out your whole week ahead of time and have it in front of you to plan ahead.

Don’t give up if things don’t always go to plan. Part of high-functioning depression is things never always go to plan, and that’s okay. 

Consider getting an emotional support animal. Taking care of an animal, like a cat or dog, can help keep your day scheduled and centered around your pet. You have specific times they need to eat and go out and it provides structure to your day.

Additional, dogs and cats can be excellent motivators for people to get out and be active. Petting your animal and being in their presence may also give your brain the much-needed chance to calm down. 

You Struggle to Focus

You may suffer from high-functioning depression if you struggle to focus and feel like you are not being your best self. With high-functioning depression, it’s not uncommon to have a lack of concentration throughout an entire day.

High-functioning depression takes a lot out of a person mentally, physically, and emotionally. It can leave a person feeling drained.

Try to keep moving. Change up your surroundings when you work. Don’t be afraid to take breaks and get outside. Consider going out for coffee or lunch to help break up your day.

It’s Hard to Ask for Help

When you suffer from high-functioning depression, it’s hard to ask for help. People often feel like reaching out to another person makes them a failure, even weak. However, the opposite is true. Asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do.  

Start by reaching out to a trusted family member or friend. If you’re comfortable, talk to them. This will help develop a strong support system close to home. If you’re not comfortable with that, try finding a group to join.

Surround yourself with like-minded people who also suffer from high-functioning depression or related conditions. Learn from those around you and build your support base.

Don’t be afraid to go to therapy. Talk to a medical health care professional and get more tools and resources to combat your high-functioning depression. Consider meditation and mindfulness to keep you centered. 

Understanding the Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Depression can be overwhelming for anyone. The first step in the right direction is understanding the signs of high-functioning depression. Be sure to contact a medical health care professional if your symptoms persist or decline.

You’ve got this!

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