Lately, I’ve been reading about high-functioning depression, as this is the condition or experience I most relate to living with. For me, I was ‘highly functioning” until I wasn’t. It didn’t happen over night. It took losing a job for me to recognize that many of my “signs” had taken root and were controlling me.
As I’ve read these blogs and articles about high-functioning depression (HFD for short), I see many similarities as I read along – depression manifests differently in each of us who lives with it and that many of us live in silence, too embarrassed to show a perceived weakness, too ashamed due to mental illness stigmas or even too afraid to share or confide with co-workers. I’ve seen these words before, in just about every non-scientific article that I’ve read, and I can totally relate. Even when I would share with a co-worker, I would only go so far and I was always putting a positive spin on it (Hey, I’ve got it under control, thankfully) – even when I didn’t.
My depression almost always shows itself first with being tired or exhausted – the familiar I just cannot get out of bed, or get into bed soon enough and sleep is usually not restful. This leads to being late or missing work completely. And as you can imagine, this only goes unnoticed for so long before repercussions are seen. When you combine this with my inability to complete tasks (focus is lost, I’m easily distracted, or I focus on the minutia instead of seeing the big picture) it’s sort of the perfect negative storm – I’m frankly surprised I wasn’t let go sooner. Everyday, I wish I would have taken the first steps towards getting help sooner – the company I worked for had amazing resources for their employees. But I didn’t.
The medications I’m sure are doing the lion share of the work in trying to keep me balanced, but I find that having a few close friends and family that I’ve let into my inner circle helps me more than I ever would have thought it would. Having people who ask how I’m doing and aren’t satisfied with a superficial response has been and is really special. I know how lucky I am.
But I also know that I’m not unique – I know that for those who are like in living with HFD, there are just as many people on your side, in your corner, on your team who will be there. It’s so frigging hard to take that first step in reaching out – I was so nervous about being judged and seen as weak. But it is so worth it.