14 Things I Wish You Understood About My High-Functioning Depression

14 Things I Wish You Understood About My High-Functioning Depression

Depression doesn’t have to look a certain way, and just because I am functional for the most part doesn’t mean that I am not hurting inside. I make it through every day but being able to get through the day doesn’t mean it’s easy. I may look perfect on the outside, but on the inside, I am suffering just as much as someone who externalizes their depression.

Here are 14 things I wish people understood about my high-functioning depression.

1. I hide my feelings.

I am really good at hiding my emotions. I am surprised that I haven’t gotten an Oscar for the best actress award. Every day I play the role of the “successful, happy woman.” I have become quite adept at acting the role of the self that people around me expect me to be. I spend the day smiling and forcing laughter when in reality I am plagued by the feelings of extreme sadness and misery.

2. I am always exhausted.

Waking up, brushing my teeth, driving and even breathing is exhausting. Everything takes an incredible amount of energy. Getting through the day is exhausting – everything is difficult. Some days are physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

3. I don’t want to be around people.

I find myself getting easily frustrated with my friends and co-workers, even though I know there’s no way they know I’m having a hard day. I’m extremely irritable and judgmental. I just want to be far away from people and hide in my own bubble.

4. I can’t concentrate.

I spend a lot of time staring off into space, trying to regain control of my own mind. Sometimes things don’t get done at all, I easily lose focus on the things that I have to do. My physical body is present, but my mind is gone.

5. I feel like no one understands me.

On rare occasions when I tell someone I am feeling depressed, the first thing they always tell me is that I don’t look depressed. Or sometimes they say I have nothing to be depressed about. Well, excuse me but I don’t have to have a frown on my face all the time or have tears running down my cheeks to show the sadness that I feel inside. It’s hard for others to understand what I feel, so instead, I just bottle things up. I feel like an outcast, and I rather not to talk about my depression to avoid skepticism or criticism.

6. I can’t do anything at 100%.

I can go through work and life and get most things done, but I am not doing my best. I know that I can do more, and do so much better but my depression makes it impossible to reach my full potential.

7. I am my own worst critic.

I think that I am a loser, an idiot and that I am not smart enough. My ruthless inner critic condemns myself. I stress over my performance, doubting myself and everything I do.

8. I am too nice sometimes.

I am not always moody or angry. There are days when I portray a positive attitude. I high-five and give compliments to everyone. I act like I am an employee of the month, and smile at everyone that I see. I am not being fake, it’s just that I think that if I can brighten other people’s day then maybe I’ll feel less miserable. I think that if I can make others feel better, then maybe some of my pain will go away.

9. Nothing makes me happy.

When I am depressed is difficult to experience joy to its fullest extent. The hobbies, activities or goals that have brought me happiness, eventually, they become more of a burden than something I find pleasure in. I become less and less excited about anything and feel as though I’m living my life half-numb.

10. I keep myself busy.

I try to keep myself busy all the time because if I stop, even for a moment, the sadness takes over and I become completely useless. I’m always busy doing something just to keep my mind occupied.

11. I constantly have negative thoughts.

I think that my life is worthless, and there is no point of living another day. I think that the world would be better off without me taking up space on the planet. And on the days when the pain is unbearable, I think of ways to make it all end. These are the negative thoughts spinning in my head every single day that I just can’t turn them off.

12. I overdo everything.

With high-functioning depression, I don’t know what a “middle ground” is. I overdo most things in my life when it comes to sleeping, eating, drinking, working, studying. I’ll spend a lot of time working, or at the gym. I binge watch T.V, drink a lot or overeat.

13. It’s very hard to get help.

I’ve been suicidal, and told this to my regular doctor, still yet, he never referred me to see a psychiatrist partly because I looked “normal.” I’ve had multiple appointments and tried to explain what was going on in my head, still yet, I felt as though they could not understand the chaos that it is going inside my mind. Perhaps, they thought I was okay because I managed to drag myself to the doctor’s office and everything I said made sense. Not to mention, that even when you have health insurance, psychiatrist visits or treatment is not cheap at all.

14. I don’t have to have a “reason” to be depressed.

Even when everything is going well in my life, I still get depressed. I experience episodes of extreme sadness and pain. I feel the same kind of pain you feel when you lose a loved one. I feel the same kind of sadness that lingers after a breakup. I feel emptiness, unhappiness, and hopelessness. I feel all these emotions, and don’t really have a reason why nor an explanation of why I feel the way I do.

The truth is high-functioning depression is debilitating.

If you know someone living with high-functioning depression who mentions they’re struggling, please just listen to them, and don’t try to ignore the fact that they are suffering even though they are not showing it.

About the author

Mitzi J Hernandez

A writer writing love, life and her cancer journey.💚