Depression with high functionality is not visible to the naked eye. He has the face of that person who meets at work, plays sports, and uploads photos to his social networks greeting everyone with a smile. However, behind this apparent normality, it masks a type of depression that can drag on for years with quite severe episodes.
There is a very common image that most have in mind when we talk about depression. It is easy to imagine someone lying in bed, with the windows down. Further, it is also trouble-free and unable to meet the challenges of the state of affairs. Few could guess that that co-worker, that supermarket cashier, or even our mother suffers from a psychological condition that plunges them into a state of endless suffering or helplessness.
High-functioning depression characterizes people who, at first glance, normally perform in any area of their lives. They work, relate, smile, and communicate. On the other hand, they have been dragging with them a profound dissatisfaction for some time. For example, that is evident as soon as you get up in the morning.
The first hours of the day have the flavor of rampant anxiety—where suffocating pressure is embedded for power with everything. We must continue being perfect, appear normal, and fulfill every obligation. Sooner or later, these situations become chronic until they lead to major depression.
How To Find Symptoms Of High-Functioning Depression
High-functioning depression defines what is medically known as dysthymia. However, it has a peculiarity that differentiates it from the more definitive diagnosis. In this case, the lack of energy does not appear. It is because these patients show a high feeling of perfectionism. Stopping or being fallible in any way is something they cannot tolerate.
Thus, someone dealing with dysthymia can get up daily and fulfill their obligations. Moreover, sometimes we even have successful professionals and highly competent people that no one would suspect in their inner being. They struggle with agony, hopelessness, and sorrow.
Beyond what we might think, high-functioning depression is a serious condition. Sometimes, we can find cases where a person has committed suicide without the people around them knowing the reason. No one can explain how someone with a perfect life has opted for such a dramatic exit.
Likewise, we cannot forget an important aspect. Studies indicate that dysthymia affects almost 6% of the population. Not detecting it or not requesting expert help will lead to major depression with its serious consequences.
Let us, therefore, know what symptoms depression with high-functioning presents.
Difficulty Experiencing Joy, Illusion, And Motivation
The person with this psychological condition can express positive emotions. However, expressing them does not mean feeling them because this type of patient is incapable of feeling that joy of yesteryear, that motivation to achieve goals, to enjoy their hobbies.
And this undoubtedly generates an exhausting ambivalence because if there is something they need, it is to appear normal and simulate efficiency, well-being, and competence.
We pointed it out earlier. Symptoms of High-functioning depression mainly characterizes people who are very demanding of themselves. They are perfectionist profiles who do not hesitate to criticize themselves for almost any aspect. They are not allowed to fail, doubt, or appear fallible.
Likewise, and as if that were not enough, there comes a time when that self-criticism also moves abroad. Finally, those persons end up processing their entire reality as an environment full of errors, irritating, annoying, and empty aspects. All this increases the suffering even more.
Little Things Get Magnified
That someone is late, that the subway is full, that our partner has forgotten something, that the children are dirty in the living room, that there is no hot water. Those little things of the day with which to always deal in the best way are all exponential magnitude obstacles for the person with high functioning depression. Let’s think he must overcome it by carrying that ballast that he drags.
People do it with high stress, where far from showing despondency or inactivity, they initiate magnified responses where they often manage to solve these problems, but the psychological cost it generates is immense. Thus, it is easy for them to overreact. Until they can’t anymore.
Use Of Own Coping Strategies (ineffective)
The curious thing about this type of patient is that they drag this dysthymia for years, managing it in their way. They are aware of their discomfort, anguish, and unhappiness. However, far from seeking professional help, they choose to apply their coping strategies.
They are now resources which act as an ‘escape route.’ They are ways of concealing the trouble of displacing it. Hence, they choose to watch their favorite television series compulsively, play sports intensely, and eat. Or even, in the most extreme cases, they lead to taking alcohol or drugs.
To conclude, high-functioning depression characterizes everyone unable to stop, to become fully aware that they need psychological help. The need to live fast, push ourselves, and show that we are effective often hides an implicit reality that is as serious as worrying.
The one in which we realize that, if we stop, the true reality will emerge: that we can not cope with our life, with ourselves, with that depression that we have been as a co-pilot for too long. Let’s, therefore, put the brakes on and ask for expert help. Dysthymia has treatment, and we deserve to feel better and live better.