If we are asked about well-known mental conditions chances are most of us will think about anxiety or depression.
Actually, we could suffer from both at the same time. According to scientifical research, nearly 50% of the patients diagnosed with one mental health problem have indications of other conditions. This is also confirmed by the findings of another study which states that half of the affected from either anxiety or depression have the other problem too.
Happily, now people who suffer from these disorders could be treated by undergoing therapy or taking medication. And despite the seriousness of their condition, the odds are good that they will recover.
But there exists another issue.
Many men and women suffer from high functioning depression and high-functioning anxiety.
They try to have a normal way of life – go to work, have friends and families but actually live with deep emotional pain and in constant distress. And the worst part is they probably do not have an idea that their discomfort is triggered by a disorder.
On top of that high-functioning depression and high-functioning anxiety aren’t officially recognized as disorders. The reason is that as discussed above individuals who suffer from them (unlike those suffering from the non-high functioning depression and anxiety) are capable of performing essential tasks. But at a high price. These people’s actions are usually dictated by their anxiety/depression and are performed with the aim to ease their emotional discomfort and nervousness.
So it turns out that the major difference between the high-functioning and the non-high functioning depression and anxiety is the sufferer’s capacity to control the occurrence of disruptions in his or her everyday life.
The ones who suffer from high functioning anxiety or depression are able to hide from the rest of the world (and often from themselves) the fact they have a problem.
Here are the reasons why.
Typically, people suffering from high functioning depression and anxiety are overachievers.
They want to be excellent at their work and usually achieve it. They’re also able to build successful relationships and on the surface, it seems they keep their life under control. However, this is not the case, because they fail to take into consideration the struggle involved in achieving their goals.
As a result, sooner or later the symptoms of their condition start to occur and they secretly suffer while performing the everyday activities that are required to maintain a normal way of life.
Sometimes their problem leads to developing addictions or obsessions as a way of coping with it. For instance, they need to be perfect all the time. Paradoxically, that obsession is often regarded as a part of their character, rather than as a symptom of a mental disorder and is mistaken for perfectionism. Other problems caused by high functioning depression or anxiety are extreme nervousness, insomnia, digestive problems, self-criticism, and sadness.
As most of the characteristics that reveal high-functioning depression or anxiety are internal and therefore aren’t obvious and easy to detect, we’ve made a list of some of them below
1. Want to be friends with everyone because they fear rejection
2. Feel constant Nervousness
3. Nervous habits (biting their nails, cracking knuckles)
4. Ritualistic or repetitive actions (counting stairs, always step into the room with the right leg)
6. Tend to waste time
7. Lack self-confidence and need constant reassurance (asking for the same thing multiple times, aren’t sure if they’ve done the right thing)
9. Avoid direct contact with others (avoid eye contact)
10. Negativism and overanalyzing of past events
11. Inability to refuse anything to others
12. Busy schedule (because of fear of disappointing others)
13. Sleeping issues
14. Racing thoughts
15. Seem cold and reserved
16. A limited social interactions
17. Always think about the future and don’t live in the present moment
18. Fear of what the future might bring
19. Compare themselves to others
20. Feel emotionally drained
21. Could develop addictions as a coping method
22. Fear of abandonment
Who could develop these conditions?
Unfortunately, the scientifical information on the topic is not sufficient to give an answer to this question. It is known that people diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), have the tendency to worry about many different things, and therefore are more prone to suffer from high functioning anxiety. For instance, some symptoms of their condition involve fear of making a mistake or fear of being rejected. Another possible reason is having a high IQ. Smarter people tend to worry more and have higher levels of anxiety.
How to recover?
If you think you are having the symptoms above, it’s best to seek professional help.
This way you could get a professional opinion whether you suffer from high functioning anxiety or depression.
You could also consider doing the things suggested below:
1. Cut yourself some slack
People who suffer from high functioning depression and anxiety crave perfection. This is extremely exhausting because they’ll criticize themselves if they don’t achieve a certain goal. A good start would be to stop being that harsh on yourself and set less demanding goals.
2. Take a rest
Go on a holiday, distance yourself from the routine that is exhausting you emotionally. Some productive time off could benefit your overall wellbeing ,and make your recovery easier.
If you are suffering from high functioning depression and anxiety you might feel less appreciated, less competent and lack self-esteem. To boost your self-confidence you could try writing down examples of good work and other accomplishments, or focusing on the positive qualities you possess.
4. Eliminate the stress factors
Find out the reasons causing you stress and emotional discomfort in your daily life and try to eliminate them. If there are people who cause you distress try to communicate with them and explain to them how you feel.
5. Don’t deny you need help
Don’t deny the fact that you have a problem that stops you from living your life normally. Pay attention to the warning signs of high functioning depression or anxiety and try taking measures against these conditions before they have overwhelmed every aspect of your life. The sooner you do something about it the better.
Do you know anyone who might be suffering from these conditions? Please tell us in the comments.