Over the past few days I have binged watched the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix Original Series (based on the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher) that tells the tragic story of a teenager’s decision to end her own life. Not to reveal too much, but over the course of the season we watch everything that led up to Hannah Baker’s death, get to see all of the events from her perspective, and learn that her classmates basically had no idea the harm they were causing her. The show controversially addresses mental illness, specifically discussing the taboo topic of suicide. After finishing the season, I spent a few days reflecting on my own mental health and decided it was time to share my own experience with depression with the hopes (as always) to encourage anyone who needs and happens to stumble upon Royalty in Reality.

Millions of people suffer from depression & high-functioning depression is very hard to detect. Remember you're not alone and help is available.

High-Functioning Depression: What it is and How it Looks

A little over a year ago, I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning. The alarm would go off and tears would fall from my eyes. I would miserably force myself out of bed, get ready for work, and try to will my way through the rest of my day. I became even more anal about little things around the house, like how the towels were folded and I was basically always angry/sad/annoyed. I lost all motivation to do anything other than exist and write blog posts, which is the reason why my MPH still is not complete. I always felt overwhelmed, like I had so much to do that it was easiest just to do nothing. The Boy and my family made me happy, but it always seemed short-lived and when they weren’t around I was a negative Nancy. However, despite all of the negative emotions going on on the inside, I was still functioning. I still performed well at work, maintained my part-time childcare position, hung out with friends/family, had fun on girls trips, you name it.

It was during my annual visit to my primary care physician that I decided to share with a medical professional exactly what I was feeling. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I knew that it was time to seek some kind of professional help. She quickly diagnosed me with anxiety and major depressive disorder and prescribed medication that would help elevate my mood. I was a little hesitant to take a daily pill, but I knew I couldn’t keep crying every morning before work. Upon doing a little research online, I found a term that seemed to capture what I was going through, high-functioning depression.

According to Medical Daily, likens high-functioning depression to chronic depression. Symptoms of chronic depression can include increased/decreased appetite, increased/decreased sleep, fatigue, and low energy, lack of productivity, feelings of hopelessness, and low self-esteem. However, sufferers can typically pull of a normal life, as far as the public can tell, making it very difficult to recognize or diagnose the problem. It’s important to note that no two people are impacted by depression or anxiety exactly the same. We must move away from the stereotypical notion of how depression looks and open lines of communication with our friends and family.I realize that mental illness is scarcely  discussed, particularly in the African American community, but I am here to testify that it is real and if left untreated the consequences can be dire.

I will admit, the medicine has helped tremendously. Unfortunately, it has made me gain weight and I don’t like feeling dependent on the medication. Under the guidance of my doctor, I’m going try a treatment plan that does not involve medication for a while to see how/if my mood fluctuates and if I can lose the weight I’ve gained. I want each person reading this that may be struggling with depression or can relate to how I used to feel to know that they are not alone. There are people that care and resources to make you feel better. For everyone else, always remember you never know what someone is going through. Always be kind and treat others the way you would want to be treated.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for free and confidential support.

Are you or someone you know depressed? Have you ever battled with anxiety or depression?

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12 comments on “High-Functioning Depression: What it is & How it Looks”

  1. I have never heard of the term high functioning depression before but I can totally relate to what you are saying.I’m very happy to hear that the medication has helped you! Stay strong!

  2. Great post on understanding what high-functioning depression is like. I dealt with it last month and it was so hard to admit it and get help.

  3. Wow! So happy to read this (not the fact that you are battling this but that you are brave enough to share your story). We need to do more for ourselves and get the help we need. I too have had my fair share of mental battles but seek therapy, yoga, meditation and nature for support along the way. Thank you for sharing this, Roxy!

  4. I’ve struggled with anxiety in the past so I know how hard it can be. It’s so important to have open and honest discussions about mental health, particularly around things like high-functioning depression which can be hard to recognize.

  5. Depression runs in my family and even with those closest to you, sometimes it’s extremely difficult to talk about. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  6. thank you for sharing your story and i’m glad you were able to reach out for help. i’ve recently stepped up to share my own story and i think those of us that are high-functioning through depression are a scary type and certainly the most confusing to those that love because they didn’t even see it. cheers to your
    continued health!

  7. I know it’s not the same but I have silently struggled with anxiety in the past. Thankfully it’s gotten easier to manage as I’ve gotten older. Thank you for sharing your story because I think it can encourage others to speak up so they aren’t suffering in silence. I’m glad the medicine has helped you and I hope you continue to see improvement. Stay strong!

  8. Without getting into too much detail, I can relate completely to how you feel. It is tough and I am glad you are brave enough to share your story. Wish you strength, motivation and positivity.

  9. this is such a great post on depression, there needs to be more open discussion about Mental Health and anxiety & depression in Society. A greater understanding is needed. I don’t use the term “i’m feeling depressed” to describe if I’m feeling low or miserable now after having genuine depression during a certain event in my life and knowing how that felt. Beautifully written post!

    Ellie | http://www.scotchandstilettos.com

  10. I didn’t even know high-functioning depression existed. I went through phases after our second child when I just didn’t feel right. I’m glad you’re going with a treatment that doesn’t require medication. I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you.

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