A different kind of depression

When people hear the word “depression” they often associate it with suicidal thoughts, the inability to get out of bed or someone who is sad all the time. While this is true for a lot of people, depression also has another side to it — a side most people probably don’t realize.

High-functioning depression is a very real condition. Every day, I get up and go to work and afterwards, I run errands or help cook dinner for my family. I pull myself out of bed, get dressed, put make up on and do my best to smile.

But it’s not easy. Not even a little bit. I do my best to not be irritated at people for talking to me or requesting my help, because they don’t know how I’m feeling. They don’t know that right now all I want is to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head in the hopes that I’ll feel better.

The Huffington Post’s article 9 Things People With High-Functioning Depression Want You to Know depicts this condition perfectly:

“Just because you see a person with this type of condition powering through their to-do list doesn’t mean it comes naturally for them.

‘It’s hard enough holding it together but it’s even harder when you know people are misjudging you and not giving you credit just for getting out of bed.’ ―Christine Dolan”

Some days I need that credit for getting out of bed. I want someone to recognize how big of deal that is, and not only did I get out of bed, I went to work and the grocery, cleaned the bathroom, did laundry and dishes, made sure my family and pets were fed and taken care of — that all of their needs were met. It’s difficult to do those things when I’m struggling with the thoughts and feelings of depression.

It’s hard to do those things when I lack the energy, but what’s even more difficult is maintaining relationships. The thoughts of worthlessness and guilt are all-consuming. Most of the time I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved. How can someone love me when I’m constantly anxious, moody, sad, pessimistic and irritable?

Even though I know I am loved, I often don’t feel worthy of that love. My mind makes me believe those little lies that I’m not good enough, and even when I do my best to silence those thoughts, I can’t.

“Depression has a way of taking every negative thought you have about yourself and putting it up on a big screen inside your mind,” Lindsay Holmes writes in that Huffington Post article.

There is such a stigma surrounding depression, and all mental illness, that when the person on the outside doesn’t match the typical “picture” of someone who is depressed, they don’t understand (or believe) the struggle and pain. I encourage you to read the Huffington Post article, and remember that even if someone looks fine on the outside, you never know what they might be dealing with.

Please remember that you are not alone, and if you or someone you know is in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to talk 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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