Depression with high functionality is not visible to the naked eye. He has the face of that person who meets at work, who plays sports, who uploads photos to their social networks greeting everyone with a smile. However, after that apparent normality masks a type of depression that can drag along for years with quite serious episodes.
There is a very common image that most have in mind when we talk about depression. It is easy to visualize someone lying on the bed, with the windows down, and unable to face the challenges posed by the circumstances. There are few who could guess that this co-worker, that supermarket cashier or even our own mother suffers from a type of psychological condition that sums them into a state of permanent suffering. Of masked defenselessness.
Depression with high functionality characterizes people who at first glance, show a normal performance in any area of their life. They work, they relate, they smile, they communicate … However, they have dragged deep discomfort with them for some time. That which is evident, for example, just get up in the morning.
The first hours of the day have the taste of galloping anxiety. That where a stifling pressure is embedded by “power with everything”, with “I have to remain perfect, look normal, fulfill every obligation”. Sooner or later, these situations end up being chronicled until they lead to a major depression.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we fall.”
Depression with high functionality: what is it and what symptoms does it present?
Depression with high functionality describes what is clinically known as dysthymia. However, it presents a particularity that differentiates it from the more classic diagnosis: in this case there is no lack of energy. The reason for this is that these patients show a high feeling of perfectionism. Stopping or being fallible in some way is something they can not tolerate.
Thus, someone who deals with a dysthymia is able to get up every day and fulfill their obligations. Moreover, sometimes we have even successful professionals and highly competent people that no one would suspect that in their inner being, they struggle with anguish, despair and unhappiness.
Beyond what we can think, depression with high functionality is a serious condition. Sometimes, we can find cases where a person has reached suicide without knowing their reason. Nobody explains how someone with a seemingly perfect life has opted for such a dramatic exit.
Also, we can not forget an important aspect. Studies such as the one carried out at the University of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh (United States) show us that dysthymia affects almost 6% of the population. Not detecting it or not requesting expert help will lead to a major depression with its serious consequences.
Let us therefore know what symptoms depression presents with high functionality.
Difficulty to experience joy, excitement and motivation
The person with this psychological condition is able to express positive emotions. However, expressing them does not mean feeling them. Because this type of patients is unable to feel that joy of yesteryear, that motivation to achieve goals, to enjoy their hobbies.
And this undoubtedly generates an exhausting ambivalence, because if there is something they need, it is to appear normal, to simulate efficiency, well-being and competence.
We indicated it beforehand. Depression with high functionality characterizes above all people who are very demanding with themselves. They are perfectionist profiles that do not hesitate to criticize almost any aspect. They are not allowed to fail, doubt, or pretend fallibility.
Also, and if that were not enough, there comes a time when that self-criticism also moves abroad. Finally, they end up processing all their reality as an environment full of errors, irritating, annoying and empty. All this increases the suffering even more.
Small things are magnified
Those little things of the day with which to deal always in the best way, are all an obstacle of exponential magnitude for the person with depression with high functionality. Let’s think that he has to overcome it by carrying the burden he carries.
Thus, it is easy for them to react in an oversized manner. They do it with high stress, where far from showing depression or inactivity, they initiate magnified responses where in many cases they get to solve those problems, but the psychological cost that generates them is immense. Until they can not anymore.
Use of own coping strategies (ineffective)
The curious thing about these patients is that they drag that dysthymia for years, managing it in their “way”. They are aware of their discomfort, their anguish and unhappiness. However, far from seeking professional help, they choose to apply their own coping strategies.
Now, they are resources that act as an escape route. They are ways of camouflaging the problem, of displacing it. Hence they choose to compulsively watch their favorite television series, to do intense sports, to eat or even, in the most extreme cases, to derive in the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
To conclude, depression with high functioning characterizes anyone who is unable to stop, to become fully aware that he needs psychological help. The need to live fast, self-demand and show that we are effective often hides an implicit reality as serious as it is worrisome.