What are the signs of high functioning depression?
Think of it this way: we all have times when we feel that we are just going through the motions in life. You wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, etc. Rinse and repeat.
But what if “rinse and repeat” are all you’ve really felt for a long time?
Depression steals the extra spark that reminds you of how good it feels to be alive. That ongoing sense of joylessness, combined with some significant lows, may be worrisome. Moreover, it could be a sign of high functioning depression.
It’s important then, to understand high functioning depression symptoms and how they affect your life.
Understanding “High Functioning Depression”
Before diving into the symptoms of this problem, it’s important to clarify the term “high functioning depression.” This is not a clinical term. Rather, it’s a phrase commonly used to describe a persistent depressive disorder (PDD). This is not a short-term, intense depressive state. Instead, high functioning depression presents generally over time, at minimum, for two years or more.
Hopelessness and Signs of High Functioning Depression
When someone is struggling with depression, of any type there is a sense of hopelessness and worthlessness. High functioning depression, is no exception. This feeling may ebb and flow from time to time, but it’s always lurking there. For example, you might be able to get through your daily routine without any issues. In fact, there could be moments in your day that you experience a clear sense of purpose and accomplishment. For example, you might feel your mood lift when :
- receiving praise at work for a job well done
- spending time with your spouse or children
- doing some other activity that you enjoy
Unfortunately, and inevitably though, the depression seeps back in. Think of this phenomenon as a series of waves on an emotional ocean. You’ll experience higher mood peaks as the wave crests, but the lows return as you slide back down to the bottom of the wave. This is a constant every day.
Getting Through the Day, but Not Feeling Fulfilled
Another one of the signs of high functioning depression is when you are just going through the motions of each day. You get your work done and can meet all of your obligations. Yet, there’s something lacking. It’s that sense of fulfillment that we are all striving towards. Of course, it’s not reasonable to feel fulfillment every day. We’ve all been there. But in general, there ought to be a sense that what you do matters.
You should experience belonging, acceptance, and love. When you don’t, what’s left is a sense of alienation and detachment. So, you go through the motions, checking off the boxes, without a deeper connection.
Other Typical Signs of High Functioning Depression
Some other high functioning depression symptoms are similar to those of depression in general. For example:
- not eating enough or overeating
- sleep issues
- an inability to focus on a task or concentrate
- a lack of motivation and energy
As mentioned above, these signs of high functioning depression are not suddenly new. They may have persisted in your life for at least two years. That usually means you may have adapted, in some way, to these symptoms.
Finding Hope Through Therapy
Just because you have been living with high functioning depression or PDD, doesn’t mean you have to go on this way. It is possible to live a more fulfilling and enriched life. Depression therapy can help. A therapist will understand these problems and how high functioning depression symptoms are impacting your life. Therapy can be a space to clear the mental clouds, understand why this has been happening, and take steps toward resolving your depression.
The problem with high functioning depression symptoms is that you get used to them. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. The first step is recognizing the signs of high functioning depression. The next is to get help. Find out how Depression counseling can support a happier life.