Depression feels as if there’s a war going on inside my head. It wreaks havoc on my physical health and general outlook on life. I have suffered tremendously while battling depression during many years of my life. You would’ve never known just by looking at me.
Every morning I wake up at 4:30 am. I go to the gym, work, and do a million other things. Then I come home, write for a little while, shower, help my daughter with homework, cook and clean; my life never stops. I am a businesswoman. I am a mom. I am a busy woman that can do it all.
Some mornings, I have to drag myself out of bed. But when I do, I’m capable of getting through every task with a positive attitude. I go about my daily life like nothing is wrong. I always keep myself extremely busy to the point of mental exhaustion so that the bad thoughts wouldn’t creep in as I lie in bed each night. I am very productive and excel in public, but when I return home, I enter a different world.
There’s a stigma about suffering from depression. It unfairly claims that you show signs of sadness all the time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Depression crushes you with weight from every side, especially when you have people depending on you all the time. Some of us have important positions at our jobs that require us to just suck it up and get things done. Some of us have kids to support and take care of, so we have to get out to the real world, put a mask on our face and do what we have to do.
Every day I smile, chat about my plans, keep a busy life, always with a positive attitude. But you only see what’s on the surface. Honestly, most days I experience debilitating headaches, pain, loneliness, and persistently negative thoughts. I may be smiling on the outside, but inside I am hurting. I may seem positive and happy, but inside I am broken and lost. Not all health conditions are visible to the naked eye. Just because you don’t notice an illness, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
It is very difficult to live with a High-Functioning Depression. Just because I can work full time and do well in taking care of everything by myself, this causes people to underestimate just how deeply I struggle and how hard it is to function some days. I may not be skipping work, withdrawing from social activities, feeling hopeless, or crying all the time, but I struggle in my own way.
What you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to high-functioning depression. A person may look like they have everything figured out or may be functioning normally, but their inner world could be vastly different. Just because I seem successful and look like I have it all together doesn’t mean I can’t be one bad experience away from a complete breakdown. And that fact scares the hell out of me.
I can’t stand how little control I have over my depression. I can do every single thing correctly: eat right, take care of myself, exercise daily, center my mind with yoga, read and write. But all it takes is one trigger to undo all that work. And while I can do many things, I’m not invincible. No matter how much I’d like to believe I am.
High-functioning depression makes everything a struggle. Trying to get through every day is brutal, but I have figured out how to live my life with this illness. And I am still learning new ways to navigate each day.
Each day is a new challenge, a new battle. But I will not let this demon defeat me.