The signs of depression come in all shapes and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, there are various manifestations of depression that make it appear as if the sufferer is doing alright. On the outside, they appear as if they can work, maintain personal relationships, keep up with their social life, and have hobbies.
However, despite what it can look like to outsiders, those who are suffering from high functioning depression, still have massive turmoil inside. Their suffering is not less than that of someone who displays symptoms which are easily labelled as depressive.
In order to help you identify and help those who are suffering from depression, here are the top five signs of high functioning depression in adults:
Sign #1: Feelings of Exhaustion and Difficulties Sleeping
Despite someone’s upbeat mood and perky attitude, a consistent exhaustion and a lack of sleep can be a sign of high functioning depression. This is particularly pronounced when someone is unable to concentrate and blames it on feeling tired.
This symptom is not a onetime thing but instead, it is a pervasive insomnia which is not easily addressed. Those that are functioning well at work or at school, will often use “Band-Aid” solutions such as coffee, energy drinks, or frequent naps to combat this. However, if you or anyone you know if suffering from this symptom, speak to someone today.
Sign #2: Everything Seems to Take a lot of Energy
When you feel extremely sluggish, even the simplest tasks seem to take a lot of energy which you just cannot summon. We’ve all been there. However, for someone who is suffering from depression but they are still managing to function on a daily basis, this is an all too common struggle.
Although those who suffer from functional depression put on a brave face and address their responsibilities, the amount of effort that they put towards mundane tasks is exponentially higher than those without depression.
For instance, meeting a deliverable at work, going to a party, or meeting new people can feel like a breeze for most people. However, although they make it look easy on the surface, individuals who suffer from depression consistently struggle with these tasks.
Sign #3: Feeling of Extremely Low Self-Esteem
Individuals who put on a brave face and manage to function while suffering from depression often have extremely low self-esteem. Indeed, they blame themselves for feeling low and for struggling with their daily functionality. Indeed, even things that are entirely out of their control, end up being their fault. This is a vicious cycle, as it acts to make them feel worse and worse about themselves.
We all have days where we don’t feel our best. We have doubts about our outfit selection, that new haircut we weren’t sure about, or the five extra pounds we put on during the holidays. These kinds of feelings are normal and unavoidable.
However, those who suffer from high functioning depression live with these debilitating thoughts every single day and they prevent them from being the best that they can be.
Sign #4: Increased Risk of Substance or Drug Abuse
Those that suffer from the signs of high functioning depression are often self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol. However, just like their depression, the drug and alcohol addiction is kept under wraps. These individuals will sneak drinks in their room, take drugs on their work breaks, or blame any outward appearance of intoxication on “not feeling well.”
When an individual reaches this point, it is a clear indication that they need immediate help. No one can overcome depressive symptoms which are accompanied by substance abuse issues on their own. If you suspect that a loved one is dealing with this on their own, please seek the suitable mental health services for them right away.
Sign #5: Abrupt Weight Gain or Loss
Those who suffer from high functioning depression often struggle with overeating and undereating. This leads to frequent ups and downs when it comes to weight gain and loss. Not only is this detrimental for their physical well-being, it is also dangerous for their lack of self-esteem.
Often times, individuals who have depressive symptoms but seem to “function well” will eat too much or too little. This becomes very evident during social gatherings, where that particular individual will eat an amount of food that is far below or above their dinning companions.
Overeating or undereating can lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and can further exacerbate existing depressive symptoms.
If someone you know appears to be high functioning, but they suffer from depressive symptoms, ensure that you seek help right away. Depression, however severe, can lead to numerous other issues, ranging from eating disorders to alcohol abuse to suicide. Despite outward functionality, depressive symptoms cannot be ignored.