Friday, March 30, 2018

Guest Post - I am a High-Functioning Depressed Person - Alex Davies


I am a High-Functioning Depressed Person

High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is something that’s not talked about a lot.  Whenever I’m on social media, looking through some of the hashtags or talking to the different people on there, I find very few mentions of it.  It’s something I feel needs talking about.  So I’d like to tell you a bit about my depression and how I am a high-functioning depressed person.

When talking about depression, for those who haven’t experienced it personally, people often picture someone like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh: someone who is gloomy, pessimistic and anhedonic.  If you think of the stereotype, it’s often someone who might look a bit like this:

Does that look familiar?  Your stereotypical, socially-perceived depressed person.  Well, what people don’t always realise is that there are two types of depression.

This one is known as low-functioning depression.  It’s what society commonly perceives to be “depression” and it’s where stigma creates one of the biggest problems for people who are depressed, because it’s “the way we should be”, even though that’s not the case.

The Reality of High-Functioning Depression

As you may have guessed, high-functioning depression is the complete opposite of low-functioning depression.  We don’t get stuck in the funk where we cannot do anything, we don’t spend hours upon hours trapped in our beds, we function more than that.  If anything, we appear to be normal members of society.  That does not, however, mean that we aren’t struggling.  Check out this article by amysboarderlineworld, which sums up what I’m trying to say quite nicely.

You see, we might appear to be normal, functioning members of society but that is an illusion, a myth we have created for others to see.  We struggle, perhaps just as much as someone with low-functioning depression.  We just continue along our lives as though nothing is wrong which, in turn, makes us seem like nothing is wrong.

That is the reality.  The struggle.  People see that we are “normal, functioning members of society” and assume that we are not depressed or anxious (as that’s the thing, it isn’t limited to depression).  Unfortunately, it’s the way it works, for people seem to think we are, for want of a better word, “normal”.

But we’re not.

I’m a High-Functioning Depressed Person

In reality, you won’t see me struggling.  I’m good at hiding it.  Very good at hiding it.  Look for it and you might miss it, because we get on with what we need to do.  I certainly do.  Even on the bad days, I’m frequently plodding along with whatever I need to do.  At work, back when I worked at the bank, I was often on a bad day yet no one knew.  Out of 100 employees who worked in the same office as me, only one person ever frequently picked up on my bad days.  In some cases, I’ve been on self-destructive bad days with blood leaking from self-harm wounds.  It’s not been pretty.

So high-functioning depression and anxiety is something we need more awareness of.  We need to get those discussions going! 


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