Depression is often associated with sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of energy. However, for some people, depression can be a much more subtle and insidious condition, manifesting as persistent depressive disorder, often referred to as high-functioning depression. This type of depression is characterized by the ability to continue functioning at a high level, even while experiencing severe depression symptoms.
The Struggle Within
High-functioning depression is often overlooked or misunderstood, even by those suffering from it. Individuals with high-functioning depression often maintain their professional and personal responsibilities, despite their internal struggles. As a result, they may be seen as successful and capable, even as they struggle with feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, and a lack of motivation.
Unfortunately, this invisibility can make high-functioning depression even more dangerous, as it can go untreated for long periods of time. This is especially true for those who may be hesitant to seek help due to the stigma surrounding mental health.
High-Functioning Depression and Suicide
Those who suffer from high-functioning depression are able to maintain a façade of normalcy to hide their illness. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed and, as a result, do not receive the help they need. Tragically, they turn to suicide as a way to escape their suffering. In fact, individuals suffering from any type of depression or other behavioral health illness, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder, are often at risk for suicide.
Success and Depression
There are countless examples of famous people who have suffered from high-functioning depression and either recovered or, tragically, committed suicide.
Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, aka DJ Twitch, is best known as a professional dancer from’ So You Think You Can Dance’ and as the DJ on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Boss and his wife, Allison Holker, we’re developing an HGTV series for first-time home buyers, and he recently expressed his desire to host his own talk show while being interviewed by Hoda Kotb. Despite his high-energy demeanor and success as an entertainer, he recently revealed that he has suffered from high-functioning depression since childhood. In a series of tweets posted in November 2020, Twitch discussed how his high-functioning depression impacted his life, noting that it was never severe enough to disrupt his ability to succeed in various areas of life. However, it still had a detrimental effect on him mentally and emotionally. Sadly, on December 13, 2022, DJ tWitch took his own life.
Similarly, Cheslie Kryst opened up about her struggle with high-functioning depression while competing in the Miss USA 2019 pageant. Despite her success in the competition, Cheslie revealed that she had struggled with high-functioning depression for years, and it made participating in the pageant even more challenging. In an interview, she discussed how important it was to share her story of high-functioning depression so that people could understand there is more than one type of depression. Being crowned Miss USA wasn’t Cheslie’s only achievement. She also had a modeling career, worked as an entertainment news correspondent, and was a lawyer at a North Carolina Law firm. Although she appeared to have it all, Cheslie lost her battle with high-functioning depression. She took her own life on January 30, 2022.
On the other hand, there are also examples of those who have been able to overcome high-functioning depression and go on to live successful and fulfilling lives. Actress Lena Dunham, for example, has been open about her struggles with high-functioning depression and how she has been able to manage it through therapy, medication, and self-care. Other successful individuals who have triumphed over depression include Lady Gaga, Brooke Sheilds, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and more.
This is a testament to the fact that depression and other behavioral health illnesses can be managed and treated with the right support. By learning more about high-functioning depression, It can be easier to recognize its signs and symptoms in order to help those who are struggling.
Conquering High-Functioning Depression
It’s important to recognize that high-functioning depression is not just a problem for celebrities or the wealthy. Ordinary people struggle with this condition as well, and it can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status.
The symptoms are often similar to other types of depression, such as loss of appetite, insomnia, low energy levels, fatigue, indecisiveness, or a combination of symptoms. However, individuals with high-functioning depression are adept at masking their symptoms, and they often go untreated and unnoticed by those around them.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or a behavioral health illness, it’s important to know that there is help available. Seeking support from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can make a significant difference in managing and overcoming this condition. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to connect to the Crisis and Suicide Hotline.
Bright Harbor Healthcare – We’re Here to Help
You don’t have to fight depression alone. At Bright Harbor Healthcare, we offer multiple treatments and therapies for depression, including counseling, medication, and TMS therapy for individuals of all ages. We will develop a customized plan to address your specific type of depression. Our services address a wide range of behavioral and mental health issues, so whether you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, our caring, compassionate professionals can help. Contact us today and take the first step toward a brighter tomorrow.