I shared a personal story about my experiences with a loved one suffering from high-functioning depression in another post. He did what is very common for people with high-functioning depression — he tried to hide it in alcohol, drugs, food, and work.
He was fantastic on the job, an absolute Master of his Universe. But at home? He was a hot mess.
What High-Functioning Depression Looks Like
You’re handling your job and family obligations, but you may not have much energy left for anything else. And you’re so tired, either because you’re not sleeping well, or enough, or because you’re expending so much energy just trying to get through each day that you’re depleted and exhausted.
You may be feeling sad, anxious, or empty, as though there’s a fog bank in your brain you can’t seem to get through.
You don’t care as much about things that used to be fun for you, including hobbies, outdoor activities, food, and sex.
Generally, even though you can get through what you need to get through, you’re pooped, feeling slow and sluggish.
And food’s gotten a little weird. If you used to love it, now? Not so much. Your gut may be too riled up to eat the healthy things you used to. Or you’re eating things like carbs that you know aren’t good for you, but it’s all you want.
Your cup is definitely half-empty; you get angry when people tell you to perk up or get over it and get on with it. If you could, you would!
Guilty about how you’re feeling, too ashamed to admit it to anyone, you’re beginning to think nothing will ever change.
Your energy might be agitated and restless; you may be irritable and cranky. And then you don’t feel good about that, which only adds to quietly feeling like things are spiraling out of control.
It may be confusing because some parts of your life look like you’re doing just fine. But inside, you’re not.
And you might not even know it.
Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, died by suicide in January, 2022. Her death helped put attention on the hidden threat of high-functioning depression.
Signs of Depression in Women
Everyone needs to believe that we’re functioning at our best, at all times, no matter what. Which just isn’t possible. We’re not Wonder Woman, after all.
The medical system still doesn’t always understand women’s health and bodies very well. We experience sexual harassment and trauma much more often than men do. Women have all those wonderful hormones that do so much for us, but they aren’t well understood either.
PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) can be a cause of depression in some women. Postpartum depression is a life-threatening syndrome that continues to be missed by experts. Peri-menopause and full-on menopause can leave women feeling as though their hormones are wreaking havoc in their lives, and sometimes that’s the case.
It’s also true that women are held to a different standard than men, in
- what we bring to the table (any table),
- what we need to do to “prove” ourselves to the world,
- being valued, devalued, respected, dissed, listened to, or invalidated.
It’s a very long list of microaggressions, emotional stressors, even traumas that women continue to struggle with.
It’s also the case that, in the U.S., women’s rights have never been equal to men’s, and recent GOP maneuverings and U.S. Supreme Court rulings are eroding women’s rights at an alarming rate. We aren’t kept safe nearly enough. Add to it that women’s emotions aren’t understood or respected in this culture.
And for women of color, the disparities, inequities, and burdens are more significant.
As far as science can tell, at this point, signs of depression in women aren’t different from men’s. But the underlying causes of depression for women can be significantly different and misunderstood, invalidated, or dismissed even by “professionals” who aren’t clued in enough.
How to Tell if You Have Depression
You feel blah. You just don’t care anymore about much of anything. The things that used to make you smile are tiring, and too much trouble, and don’t feel all that great, anyway.
You can’t sleep. Or you’re having a hard time getting up to face the day. Maybe you wake up crying sometimes ‘cause it’s just gotten so hard.
Everywhere you look, there are problems and challenges and people who get on your last nerve and that never-ending to-do list that you can’t stand thinking about.
Yes, no matter how tired or inadequate or discouraged you feel, you manage to get up and slog through your days. But all day long, you’re thinking about when you can rest, how soon you can check out with an extra glass of wine or too much doom-scrolling or binge-watching.
You’re functioning. But gosh! you’re just getting through the days and weeks.
If you’re having a hard time knowing how you’re feeling, ask someone you trust. But be prepared not to be super-happy with the answer if it’s yes.
Suppose you’ve been secretly struggling with high-functioning depression for a while. In that case, you might not even be aware of what’s happening ’cause you’ve just been so busy trying to get through your days and so exhausted that you’ve got no reserves.
You can also consider booking an assessment session with a trained professional who can help you parse out what’s going on and help you begin healing and getting the right treatment. You can get high-functioning depression help in Santa Fe NM, with the Santa Fe Therapist.
The Sneaky Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety
Why is high-functioning anxiety included in a blog post about high-functioning depression? Because they go hand-in-hand.
In fact, anxiety and depression have the highest percentage of “comorbidity” (the two things are happening at the same time) than any other mental health conditions.
Think about it — if you’re anxious in social settings, worrying for days about a networking meeting or a date or even a hangout with friends, after a few years, you might begin feeling a little depressed because you’re too isolated and lonely.
On the other hand, if you’re in an intimate relationship that really isn’t working for you, but are too cautious or anxious to either get some help for the relationship or move on, that’s depressing. And makes you even more anxious.
Because you’re watching your life race ahead, but it’s not the life, the partner, the job, the career that’s bringing out the best in you.
You’re able to function — stay in the relationship, perform well in your job or career, be social, go on vacation — but you’re low-level anxious, and perhaps depressed.
Or low-level restless, a li’l sad, low energy, not sleeping well, on top of being agitated, cranky and irritable.
You can see that it’s important to work with someone who’s got the solid, professional training to help you unpack what’s going on, get to the bottom of it, so that you can get the most helpful guidance about what needs doing. So that you can begin feeling better, make healthier choices for yourself, and get on with living your life.
The Bottom Line? You’re Depressed
Whether you’re suffering from
- high-functioning depression;
- sadness and ennui because you’ve lost someone or something you love;
- existential angst, malaise, and despair;
- situational depression as a result of a stressor such as moving to a new state, starting a new job, getting divorced;
- symptoms that developed because of trauma,
- low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and selling yourself out too many times,
- too.much.stress for too long, or
- hopelessness at the state of the world, politics, and the Covid pandemic …
… please know there’s help for you.
There is no shame in being depressed.
There is nothing wrong with feeling your feels.
But when you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of being depressed and can’t climb out of the darkness, getting good, trained, professional help can make all the difference.
The good news is that there’s high-functioning depression help in Santa Fe NM.
High-Functioning Depression Help in Santa Fe NM With the Santa Fe Therapist
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist, and I work with people struggling to manage high-functioning depression.
It can be a greedy beast hiding under the bed, allowing you to think that you’re pretty much OK when, in fact, you’re quietly suffering all day, every day.
Profoundly positive things begin happening when you learn how to manage the symptoms of high-functioning depression that are showing up for you.
It can also be life-changing to understand what the roots of depression are for you. There are many causes, and when you begin unpacking that, your life will start opening up for you in ways you can’t imagine right now.
The thing is that you’ve got to get beyond the depression and perhaps heal some of your past to start building your future.
We’ll figure out what’s going on and what you need to begin feeling more in control of your life.
In balancing the science of therapy with the art of healing, I’ll create an innovative program that sets you on a path of success from the very first session.
The Santa Fe Therapist Approach to High-Functioning Depression Treatment
My compassionate, creative approach weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, and professional experience working with hundreds of people.
My clients usually work with me weekly for 8 to 12 months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success and learning and using strategies and techniques to serve you for many years.
You’ll work hard for sure. But won’t all be horrible and terrible! I love sharing ideas about good books and films and laughing together once in a while. The point is to be living with more joy and fulfillment, right?
And to change self-destructive behaviors that are holding you hostage into new health and wellbeing habits that will benefit you every day.
My hope for you is that you’ll feel safe every step of the way.
High-Functioning Depression Help in Santa Fe NM
Depression treatment can make a world of positive difference in your life. When you reach out for help, you’re making an investment in yourself that can change in your life in the best of ways.
All you have to do is send me an email to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: email@example.com. Let’s get you feeling better as quickly as possible.