Depression is often stereotyped as long days spent in bed and persistent sadness. However, there’s another face to this condition that often goes unnoticed – High-Functioning Depression (HFD). On the outside, individuals dealing with HFD may appear completely fine or successful, while internally, they struggle with persistent depressive symptoms. This can make HFD incredibly challenging to recognize and diagnose.
This article aims to shed light on this less known form of depression. We’ll delve into the common signs of HFD, providing valuable insights that could help you know whether you or someone you love is struggling with high functioning depression.
By understanding these signs, we can foster an environment that promotes mental health awareness and encourages those affected to seek the help they need.
What is High Functioning Depression (HFD)?
High-Functioning Depression is a unique form of depression that often goes unnoticed due to its subtle symptoms and the ability of those affected to maintain their daily obligations. Unlike major depressive disorder, which can be debilitating and highly visible, HFD can be more challenging to recognize because those affected often appear successful and content on the surface.
People with HFD experience many of the typical symptoms of depression, such as persistent feelings of sadness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns. However, they manage to keep these struggles hidden behind a veneer of normalcy, making it difficult for others to detect their suffering.
This ‘invisible’ nature of HFD has led to conversations about mental health, highlighting the need for greater awareness and understanding of this condition, especially following high-profile cases like the death of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst.
As we delve deeper into the signs of HFD, it’s important to remember that help is available, and recovery is possible.
What Causes High-Functioning Depression?
The causes of high-functioning depression are not fully understood, but it’s believed to be caused by a combination of factors. Genetics may play a role, as the condition seems to run in families.
Brain chemistry and structure might also contribute, as neurotransmitter imbalances are linked to depression. Environmental factors such as chronic stress, trauma, and significant life changes can also trigger the onset of HFD. Additionally, certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being overly dependent, pessimistic, or self-critical, may make individuals more susceptible to high-functioning depression.
5 Common Signs of High Functioning Depression
High-Functioning Depression can be more challenging to identify than other forms of depression due to its subtle signs. Here are five common indicators you should pay attention to:
1. Persistent Sadness or Low Mood
While everyone experiences periods of unhappiness, individuals with high-functioning depression may experience a persistent low mood or sadness that doesn’t seem to lift. While this isn’t necessarily an overwhelming sadness, it manifests as a persistent sense of melancholy or ennui that subtly permeates their everyday life.
It may feel like you are just going through the motions with little enthusiasm or joy. This low mood tends to persist even in situations that would typically elicit happiness or excitement, making it a subtle but significant sign of high-functioning depression.
2. Lack of Interest in Activities Once Enjoyed
Another telling sign of high-functioning depression is a noticeable loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. This could range from hobbies and social events to everyday tasks.
Those affected might find it difficult to muster enthusiasm for things they once found pleasurable, often withdrawing from these activities or performing them with a sense of obligation rather than delight.
This persistent apathy and a general lack of motivation signifies a dampening of emotional responsiveness and enjoyment.
3. Difficulty in Concentration and Decision Making
High-functioning depression can often manifest as a struggle with concentration and decision-making. You may find yourself easily distracted or unable to focus on tasks, even those that used to be simple or routine.
Likewise, you may exhibit indecisiveness, agonizing over decisions, big or small, and experiencing significant anxiety about making the wrong choice.
This difficulty in maintaining focus and making decisions is disruptive to daily life. It signals an internal struggle that’s often overlooked.
4. Constant Self-Criticism and Feelings of Inadequacy
Another prevalent symptom of HFD is persistent self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy. Those suffering from this condition tend to harbor a harsh internal critic that magnifies their mistakes and downplays their accomplishments.
One may feel insufficient, perpetually falling short of their own and others’ expectations. This internal state of self-deprecation and dissatisfaction can subtly infiltrate daily life, chipping away at self-esteem and fostering a depressive state.
Constant self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy, while often concealed beneath a veneer of normalcy, is a common sign of high-functioning depression.
5. Feeling Overwhelmed
Despite maintaining an outward facade of control and functionality, people battling HFD might experience a persistent sense of being overwhelmed by everyday tasks and responsibilities.
Even small tasks might seem impossible, adding to stress and anxiety. The challenge to cope with daily routines, yet keeping up with the demands, can lead to exhaustion and despair, significantly impacting mental well-being.
More often than not, this chronic feeling of being overwhelmed tends to be disproportionate to the task.
Treating High-Functioning Depression
Despite the challenges that come with high-functioning depression, there are many effective treatment options available. One of the most promising treatments for depression is TMS Therapy.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It’s designed to target the specific areas of the brain involved in mood control, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression. TMS therapy is FDA-approved and has been shown to be effective in treating various forms of depression, including high-functioning depression.
At My TMS, we specialize in providing this innovative treatment. Our team of highly skilled professionals is dedicated to providing personalized care, tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
We’ve seen firsthand how TMS therapy can transform lives. It has helped many of our patients manage their symptoms and regain control over their mental health.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you or someone you know is struggling with high-functioning depression, reach out to us at (877) 548-8081.