When imagining the symptoms of depression, a few well-known symptoms come to mind. For example, a loss of interest in daily activities, withdrawing from friends and family, and having trouble performing at work. In other words, obvious signs something is wrong. In some cases, however, a depressed person may appear perfectly fine by most social standards. So what is high functioning depression? It's as serious as it sounds, and it can mask some intense feelings of hopelessness and disconnection.
Also known as persistent depressive disorder, high functioning depression is a form of the condition with more subtle symptoms, according to the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. In other words, people with high functioning depression might not have trouble getting out of bed and accomplishing certain tasks, but they are worn down by feelings of fatigue, doubt, and emptiness. It is still a serious, and destructive, condition to face.
What's more, the symptoms of high functioning depression can be difficult to recognize, even for the person suffering from them. It's insidious. In general, persons with high functioning depression may show signs of perfectionism, low energy, and a general need to do it all, as explained by the Orchid Recovery Center. Unfortunately, there is nothing all that unusual about being a tired, overworked person who wants to make the most of every minute. If anything, that perceived drive is considered praiseworthy in some circles — chances are you know at least one person who brags about getting so much accomplished on too little sleep.
On the inside, however, the person with high functioning depression is left in the lurch. Coping with their invisible illness, individuals suffering from this particular ailment may feel like they're only going through the motions, like they're playing at a charade instead of really living their lives. Due in part to the camouflaged nature of their condition, it is crucial for people with high functioning depression to seek treatment and help where possible, as noted by Bridges to Recovery. After all, it's unlikely anyone else would pick up on the disorder and extend a helping hand when it's so well hidden.
If you have any signs of high functioning depression, as previously explained, then don't hesitate to reach out for help at once. Feeling low all the time, even if you can still technically function and don't present your depression in a way others view as "obvious," is not the only way to live.
If you struggle with depression or feelings of self-harm, please seek professional help or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.