Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Cognitive Behavioural (CBT)Depression

Many of us assume that those who suffer from depression have no motivation to do things. We imagine that they spend a lot of time by themselves, curled up in bed and unable to face even the smallest tasks of their everyday life. Would you be surprised to learn that some significant names in history, such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and J.K. Rowling, actually struggled with depression? Are you wondering how these people could lead their countries or write best-selling stories? They, like many others, had high-functioning depression.

What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside; it’s about the inside - Jasmine Warga

The trouble with high-functioning depression is that it can be quite tricky to spot. This is because these people will often appear perfectly fine on the outside.They may jump out of bed at 5.30 am, hit the 6 am gym class, come home, walk the dog, shower, make breakfast and lunches and then head to work by 8 am. Then the depression hits hard and they are suffering internally for most of their day. Depression affects people differently and often a high-functioning person is struggling invisibly but no one knows.

It is still depression

It is important to understand that there is no actual difference between depression and high-functioning depression. Depression just ranges on a scale, from being mild to much more severe.

In 2014-2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that 2.1 million Australians, or 9.3 percent of our population, were suffering from some form of depression

Just because you can get through your daily tasks and maintain relationships, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Being aware of the common signs of an individual with high-functioning depression is important. This way we can offer our help and support for them, on their road to recovery.

The signs

Recognising the signs of high-functioning depression isn’t easy sometimes. This mental illness can be hidden behind an individual’s ability to actually function quite normally. It can be hard for the person who is struggling with these feelings to realise that they have a real underlying illness. 

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are. — Robin Williams

Someone with high-functioning depression will likely be experiencing the most common signs of depression such as:

  • Low mood and low self-esteem

  • Feeling sad and hopeless

  • Reduced appetite or overeating

  • Oversleeping or insomnia

  • Lack of energy and fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions

These are the distinct signs of high-functioning depression:

  1. You force yourself to engage socially with others, even though you would much rather withdraw.

  2. You keep to your daily tasks and get everything done that you’re supposed to do. This may include: going to school or work, chores, appointments, going to the gym, social events. However, doing any of these things always feels like a significant effort.

  3. Your performance may appear fine at school or work but it is a real challenge for you to focus on tasks.

  4. You may appear lazy at times, but you just can’t find the energy to do more than the minimum.

  5. When you feel happy it doesn’t last long. A low mood is nearly always present and relief from this feels impossible.

  6. You appear to others as being fine on the outside; with your behaviour and appearance, but inside you are struggling.

  7. You constantly feel like you have no energy.

  8. Your weight may change frequently because your appetite grows or diminishes based on your mood.

  9. You find it hard to feel good about yourself, even when offered compliments.

  10. You feel tempted to use substances like alcohol or drugs to help make yourself feel better.

Getting help

Recovering from high-functioning depression is possible with the right help. Getting help is really important because treatment can make your life much more enjoyable. The most common and helpful treatments today are medications and psychotherapy such as Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Increasing your exercise, improving your diet and cutting out depressants such as alcohol. Joining a support group can also be really helpful in feeling like you are no alone with your struggles

By getting the right help, your mood can significantly improve, you can function more effectively and have an overall better outlook of life. This will help you to look forward to the future and live a better quality of life.

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