What Is High Functioning Depression?

by | Trauma Recovery

Depression impacts millions of people across the globe. But, that doesn’t mean everyone shares the same experience when it comes to the severity of the condition. Depression can manifest itself in many different ways and create a variety of symptoms for the people it affects. 

Some people have a very hard time dealing with the severity of their depression. Severe depression can make it seem nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning. It creates a feeling of hopelessness and extreme sadness. 

Others deal with high-functioning depression. It’s not a “lesser” form of depression. The feelings of sadness are still there. But, people with high-functioning depression are often able to live relatively normal lives — at least, on the surface. 

So, what is high-functioning depression, and what does it look like? 

Understanding the Seriousness of High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is a person’s ability to live normally — or mostly normally — while dealing with depression. That means you’re likely able to go to work and do a good job, socialize with friends, and be present for your family each day. 

However, when people hear that, it tends to make them feel like they don’t have to worry about this type of depression. After all, if you’re able to go through life normally, what’s the problem? 

Depression is still depression. High-functioning and fully functioning aren’t the same, and those with high-functioning depression can still struggle with certain impairments. More importantly, if you don’t address your depression, no matter how well you function, you’ll run the risk of your symptoms becoming worse and potentially taking more control. 

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Depression? 

To understand what high-functioning depression looks like, it’s first important to understand some of the common symptoms associated with depression itself, including: 

  • Changes in sleeping/eating habits
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fatigue

Just because someone has high-functioning depression, those symptoms don’t go away. But, they typically don’t have such a heavy impact on that person’s life that they aren’t able to function. 

With that in mind, some additional symptoms often associated with high-functioning depression include that the symptoms must occur most days for at least two years, and they can’t be explained by any other mental illness. 

What does high-functioning depression really feel like? You might feel “low” more often than not. You might even feel like you can never find relief from that sad state. Even if you’ve gotten enough sleep, you might constantly feel tired, like you can’t keep your eyes open. While you go to work, school, and social activities, you might feel like you have to force yourself to do those things. 

What Can You Do?

High-functioning depression shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re struggling with it, you might be “getting by,” but you shouldn’t just have to go through the motions of life while feeling hopeless and helpless. 

If any of these signs or feelings sound familiar, don’t hesitate to get the help you deserve. High-functioning depression can feel like it controls your entire life. Even if you might be able to convince others you’re doing okay, you don’t have to lie to yourself, in the process. 

Consider reaching out to a mental health professional to talk about what you’re going through. A therapist can help you discover the root cause of your depression. Getting to the source is the best way to start overcoming it, rather than just masking symptoms. True healing is possible.

Feel free to contact Valued Living Therapy for more information or to set up an appointment, and know that you don’t have to go through the motions when you’re struggling inside.

Valued Living Therapy

We are a dynamic, trauma-informed, multi-specialty group practice of mental health professionals offering therapy in the heart of Edina, MN and online throughout Minnesota.

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