High-Functioning Depression: When Is It Time to Seek Help?Pat Fontana
Everyone can have a “down” day now and then. Usually, they can shake it off and continue with their lives. If you are experiencing high-functioning depression, however, you may continue to meet your career and personal obligations, all while struggling to cope with negative emotions. Understanding functional depression, and particularly when it is time to seek help, is critical for your health and well-being.
What is High-Functioning Depression?
You may appear “normal” to others as you go about your day. You may go to work, doing your job well, go shopping, pay your bills, and talk to other people as though nothing was wrong. When you get home, though, it may be all you can do to walk in the door and crawl into bed. You could find yourself sitting on the couch crying all evening. On the inside, you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, even though you appear on the outside to be able to function well throughout the day.
The diagnosis of high-functioning depression is thought to be rooted in persistent depressive disorder. Although you experience the symptoms of depression, you are still able to function despite them. You may even find that you are trying to hide your feelings. You are not alone. More importantly, you should understand when it is time to seek help.
When you have high-functioning depression, you may feel that no one understands what you are going through, that you are suffering invisibly. During the day, you tend to forge ahead to achieve your goals. Others around you may not realize that you are experiencing problems of any kind. In addition, you may think that you cannot admit that you are feeling depressed, either because of the stigma associated with it or because you worry that it may impact your career or your family life.
Battles with mental health conditions are often fought internally. It can be easy for you to fly under the radar because you are able to hide your suffering well. Your friends and co-workers might be surprised to learn that you are having a hard time. As a result, you may feel that you have to keep it to yourself. You may even believe that if you think positively long enough, your high-functioning depression will go away on its own, which it will not.
Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression
As someone with functional depression, you may appear on the outside to be high-functioning, but you may have persistent depressive disorder. Common symptoms include:
- Sleeping too much or too little,
- Decreased appetite or overeating,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Low self-esteem,
- Trouble making decisions, and
- Feelings of hopelessness.
When to Seek Help
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself, it may be time for you to seek help. Particularly if your symptoms are affecting your life such that you find it even more difficult to continue to be high functioning, you should reach out and find appropriate treatment options.
You may think that you are getting by in your job, at school, or with your family, and that you don’t need help. When you become aware that, in reality, you’re not truly operating up to speed, it can make your depression symptoms worse. You might begin to experience feelings of self-doubt, a loss of confidence, and anxiety. Once you develop a negative self-image, it can seriously impact the chronic unhappiness associated with high-functioning depression.
Seeking treatment at this point is important to maintain your mental health and your overall well-being. You can stop trying to hide your depression and stop suffering invisibly, as you get help for your functional depression.
There is not a clinical test for high-functioning depression, but there are screening tools that will help your mental health professional assess your depressive symptoms and your functioning ability. If you find that it is all you can do to get through your day before you collapse on the couch, if you are not able to sleep or eat, if you have difficulty concentrating or are experiencing anxiety, if functional depression is affecting your life negatively, it is time to seek help.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help
It’s time to overcome the stigma and get help for your high-functioning depression. At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we support you and your mental health needs, helping you find the path that works best for you and your specific situation. To keep you safe and healthy, we offer telehealth and in-office therapy options during COVID-19. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.