most people think they know what mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression look like. sometimes it’s the bubbly person, the high achiever, the actress, or star athlete who is suffering from anxiety and depression. but because of the stigma still attached to mental health issues, and sometimes the thinking that it isn’t really that bad, many with high-functioning mental health disorders keep their sadness to themselves. if you think you or a loved one is suffering from a high-functioning mental health disorder, it is important to know the signs. when a person has high-functioning depression or anxiety, they may seem to have it all together, perhaps even more than most, on the outside, but are severely sad on the inside. while there is a perception among some that it is better to be high-functioning than low-functioning, that’s not really the point. one of the reasons high-functioning depression and anxiety can be hard to diagnose is exactly because they are not visible.
people who suffer from it generally go about their lives as more or less “normal” so are often perceived as better off than they actually are, even by loved ones and themselves. high functioning depression and anxiety keep a person from feeling sustained happiness or joy, even if, or in spite of, things going well. a person with high-functioning depression or anxiety will often find it hard to gather enough energy to get through their day. for the person struggling with a disorder, it can seem like trying to run through sand, or down an endless hallway. regardless of their accomplishments, those suffering from high-functioning mental health disorders almost always doubt their skills, talents, and capabilities. it doesn’t matter how hard they work, they are rarely happy or satisfied with their efforts and their results. if this sounds like you or someone you care about, there is help available.
as grimes coos, “girl, you know you’ve got to watch your health” a woman looks you dead in the eye and explains you might be displaying the “four hidden signs” of high-functioning anxiety. ‘high-functioning anxiety’ is not a term that i use.” for example, pubmed, which is comprised of more than 33 million citations for biomedical studies, doesn’t have any results for high-functioning anxiety or high-functioning depression (though there is one paper on the need for more research on how to support “high-functioning” people who have recovered from depression). “it is possible, but i think it is more likely that mental health professionals use different terms to describe the lived experiences people are labeling as ‘high-functioning anxiety.’” while it could be that these terms are capturing something professionals are missing, badali thinks it’s possible they are capturing the result of stigma. “i think it might be easier for people to come to terms with the fact that they are experiencing an anxiety problem if it is also associated with being intelligent or highly accomplished,” badali says.
if depression and anxiety are consistent, this can compromise a person’s “ability to be as consistent in their everyday performance, motivation, and energy levels, despite their intentions.” the way we use words related to mental health is not necessarily harmonious to their many meanings. what often signals to a mental health professional that you’re experiencing something diagnosable is if symptoms are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities and relationships. and while official terms can help people identify an experience — dysthymia, for example, is technically a mild but long-lasting form of depression — this also helps explain why some people would be drawn to non-technical phrases like “high-functioning depression.” what gives badali some pause is the language used in this situation. but labels can be harmful, too.” you may be a high-achieving people-pleaser, but you may also be experiencing anxiety — not high-functioning anxiety, but anxiety.
high functioning depression and anxiety keep a person from feeling sustained happiness or joy, even if, or in spite of, things going well. what is high-functioning mental illness? experts explain the difficult answer. “there is a gap between scientific knowledge and public high functioning mental health is being able to go about most days as if there isn’t a war going on in your head, or panic ricocheting through, .
high-functioning mental illness is a term to describe those living with a mental illness that most people don’t detect. it covers a broad spectrum; they might have a job, be studying, dress well, or even have the ‘perfect’ family lifestyle. “high-functioning depression” is not a clinical diagnosis found in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (dsm), high-functioning – high-functioning depression, previously referred to as dysthymia, is a less severe form of major depressive disorder. while in some cases, a mental illness may be less severe, and although a person experiences symptoms, they are still able to function normally, or almost normally,, .
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