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.
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?