Most people know what ‘depression’ means. However, ‘high-functioning depression’ (HFD) is something most people have never heard of.
Someone with everything going for them – great job, family and social life – will often appear happy, but inside, their world seems to be crumbling around them. Sometimes those suffering from HFD become suicidal, some even taking their own life.
One such prominent person believed to have had HFD is Charles Dickens. Dickens was wealthy thanks to the popularity of his writing. However, his childhood was hard; after his father was sent to prison, young Dickens was on his own and had to take a job in a boot factory to survive. He thrived, but inside he still felt the hardship of childhood.
High-functioning depression was not a term in Dickens’ time. Now that it is, we know there are signs that point to someone having HFD. These signs do not in any way indicate whether one truly has HFD, but if you note them in someone you love, then by all means have them tested further.
Those with high-functioning depression often say things like: “I mess up everything I try to do”, “I fail at everything”, I am not good enough”, and “I know I will never get any better than this.” Listen closely, as those with HFD will say these things as if they are just making a joke. They may laugh, but inside they are crying out for help.
2. Overly Pressured at Work
Those who suffer from HFD are usually overachievers who appear to be doing a fantastic job, but they push themselves to the brink of death to keep up their public appearance. With so much to do, and so much on their mind, these folks drag themselves through their days, looking for the next thing to get done.
People with high-functioning depression tend to become alcoholics or drug addicts. Although they may appear normal, watch for these signs: new friends who are addicts; losing interests in former activities or hobbies; using more and more drugs or alcohol; makes excuses for weird behaviors; and/or sick in the mornings.
If a normally mellow person cannot seem to handle simple household tasks without falling or breaking something, they may be suffering from HFD. HFD sufferers have a hard time focusing on menial tasks and tend to drop things, walk into furniture and bump their body on objects in their path. Their mind is elsewhere – dangerous if the task requires concentration.
5. Life Is a Big Waste of Time
Those with high-functioning depression desperately want help but often cannot find someone who understands their problem. With little help available, they tend to think that living is a waste a time: there is no fun in life, so why care? They begin to lose interest in the life around them and withdraw further into themselves: this is a medical condition known as anhedonia. Once a HFD sufferer reaches this point, suicide seems like their only way out. Watch for withdrawal and silence – two of the biggest signals that your loved one suffering from HFD is a danger to themselves.