High Functioning Depression

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You can get past this

Many high achievers fall under the radar when it comes to a depression diagnosis because they know how to “fake it till they make it.”  High achievers are excellent at putting on a front. In fact, they hide their struggles so well that they often don’t even realize their own suffering because, to them, it does not fit the mold of the stereotypical depressed person. The typical high achiever struggling with depression will not easily self-identify as a depressed person.

Instead, the high achiever will say “I just need to push through, work harder, be stronger.” All the while, s/he/they is suffering when they could be thriving. Moreover, the high achiever, often surrounded by other high achievers, will look around and not see or hear anyone admitting that they also have struggles.  This lack of normalization of human struggles among professionals usually results in us keeping our struggles secret or not even being aware that we do not need to suffer like we do – resulting in many professionals never getting help or feeling better, until it’s too late.

You get up and go to work everyday, you deliver as expected, you continue to strive and to perform, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t suffering on the inside.  Professional success and depression are not mutually exclusive.

The depression symptoms are still there, they just look different in a high achiever. 

High Functioning Depression Symptoms
  • Are you finding it difficult to enjoy your work, what you used to do for fun, or almost anything at all?
  • Have you been spending more time by yourself?  Less networking events? Avoiding lunches with coworkers or clients?
  • Have you more frequently doubted your professional competency and or whether or not you deserve to have your job?
  • Have you been closing the door to your office more often or when it isn’t really necessary for work or a phone call?
  • Do you dread opening your email or listening to your voicemail?
  • Have you been self-medicating more often with work, food, shopping, gambling, pills, drugs, sex, porn, etc.?
  • Do you find yourself daydreaming about how it would be so much easier/less painful if you just weren’t here anymore? Have you made a mental or written list of what you need to do to accomplish that?
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