We Need to Talk – How High Functioning Depression Works
To the outside world, the life of a common college girl seems like she has it all worked out for her already. Her name is Amanda Leventhal, she is a second year student, has excellent grades, involvment in several campus groups, a good group of friends – she is nothing like the kind of person anyone would characterize as depressed.
But yet, she is. It wasn’t until this girl wrote a secret essay about anxiety and depression that everyone around her found out what was actually going on with her.
All of the pop culture portrayals of depression as well as the antidepressant ads show the ame picture to us – a lot of crying, withdrawal from friends and favorite activities as well as a lot of sleeping or no sleeping at all. Those are the signs, but not the real trouble.
The trouble is that a lot of people are suffering from it nowadays. Depression can be found in a famous person, or someone who just got engaged, or had a promotion. In these cases, a stigma is attached, and many of the people keep the depression hidden – until it is too late.
There is high and low functioning depression
The high functioning depression is when someone seems to be happy and has it all figured out on the outside, but actually, on the inside this person is severely sad. This can primarely be found in girls who are considered to be perfectionists, just like those college girls or friends who have a long list of achievements.
People usually refer to this a high functioning because it is better than the low functioning. This is not completely true because either way, a person needs to get help – something that the person is limiting themselves from.
The struggle hides in plain sight
For this student, the public essay she wrote had years put into the making. It was something she had thought about for a while, and one night, decided to put into words everything that she had been feeling for a longer period of time now.
She claims that after her post went viral, her friends were truly shocked. But thankfully, nowadays it is easier for her to pop the subject of depression in a conversation. She is not ashamed of saying that shehas to see her therapist, but still she is careful of how much she brings that subject up in order not to bring her friends down.
It is considered by scientists and therapists worldwide that the depression is the leading cause of disability. This is also stated by the WHO (World Health Organization), which also take into consideration thingss such as days lost from work, not doing many activities on a daily basis, possibly leading to other diseases (such as diabetes).
This is why the minute you open up to someone, they will response with „So do I“ or „So does my sister/mother/best friend“ etc.
Ways to spot depression
There are sublte signs that you need to look out for – for an example, for this girl, it was the irritability. For others there is the crankiness, some ironic or out of context jokes and remarks, or people who are thought of as rude – these are all signs of people who are actually struggling.
But, how do you speak to a friend who you believe is masking a depression? Simply point out in a tender way that they have not been themselves lately. Just ask how they are and tell them that you are here for them, no matter what.
Different people need different approach, but bottom line is that you need to show you care and just, well, be there. There are different tools, such as medications, apps, therapists and so on, it is truly sad how little of these people actually come forth and ask for help.