Living with High Functioning Depression
“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel,
It took me a long while to understand that I had a mental health illness, my own understanding of depression at one point carried the corollary of an individual’s inability to function as per societal normative standards. High functioning depression though is often masked by this very ability of the person suffering from it to meet normative behavioral standards.
My personal experience with high functioning depression was marked strongly by my inability to feel happiness, I don’t mean this in a way where I had some bad days or moments, I lost the ability to feel happy even in moments where I generally would have been happy a while ago. On many days I completely lost my ability to even just feel sad while this was coupled with moments of higher intensity feelings of being low. All my energy was directed solely towards my work and achieving unachievable inhuman goals set for myself, followed by a cycle of self-depreciation when I was unable to achieve these goals. This was coupled with an intense feeling of always being tired, of waking up tired, every day, of having to push myself to do even the smallest of tasks some days. There was a constant feeling of listlessness that no number of standard physical medical tests could diagnose.
Relationships started to make me feel even worse about myself. There was a constant feeling of never doing enough for the other person, of never being enough. My goals in personal relationships started to reflect this, I actually started setting goals to my interactions in personal relationships and drove myself to the edge trying to meet these goals. There were periods where I barely slept, barely ate or even functioned in any manner except towards targets I had identified for myself. There have been days and weeks of canceling plans or avoiding stepping out of the house just because stepping out didn’t help me towards what I was seeking and I had no desire for anything else. I had no want to meet people or interact with others socially outside of required time. All of this was very starkly felt by me internally as well because this wasn’t the person I had ever been, I have always been an extrovert so to say and have enjoyed being around people. I’ve also been work focused but have always been balanced about its importance with other things. This led to an intensified internal conflict and a constant turmoil of not understanding what was happening and also a want to not accept what was happening. This kept spiraling till the point I realized I need to seek help and support to be able to reach a state of mind that makes me feel at peace or a state of mind that even allows me to exist.
It took a mix of therapy and supportive peer groups to help me overcome this and work towards feeling better, which is why I will urge you to talk about how you feel to people around you, access therapy/medical healthcare if even for a moment you think you need it – in case you can’t afford it, try free online support resources that are available. Mental health illnesses are just as important and treatable as physical illnesses and they can equally exist on a spectrum. Your care is important and doesn’t have to be severe or completely decapacitating to require attention.
If you are depressed, please do not isolate yourself. You can reach out for help. You can find options for online therapy here
The Author of this Article chooses to remain Anonymous.
This story is part of a collaborative effort between One Future Foundation and Arguendo towards Mental Health awareness.