High Functioning Depression is a serious condition that affects people who seem to have it together. It differs from clinical depression in the sense that a person with HFD doesn't appear to be depressed. They are typically an overachiever, a workaholic, or a high achieving university student. Sometimes HFD is referred to as dysthymia, which is a persistent low level of depressed mood that lasts over a period of years but comes and goes over time. When you imagine someone living with depression, that person may be sluggish, socially distant, unmotivated or hermetic. A person suffering from depression isn't someone who feels like being social. They are sleeping excessively or the opposite, having bouts of insomnia. They are either overeating or not eating much at all. Someone with clinical depression doesn't want to see their friends or family, because they feel like a burden, whereas the person with HFD could be a social butterfly. They are intentionally distracting themselves from the emptiness they feel inside. Depression tends to be a more obvious mental illness to spot, where as HFD is subtler than that.
Someone with HFD is highly critical of their own actions. They are working so hard, yet they don't feel like they're doing a good enough job. This is because their self-image is distorted due to feeling depressed. You probably wouldn't spot signs of depression in someone who actually has HFD. They blend into the workplace as someone who is determined, tenacious and diligent. They appear to be doing exceptionally well, which is ironic because they are suffering on the inside. This can be dangerous and should be monitored. If you notice a co-worker or friend overworking, pay attention! They might have a great work ethic or they might be self-medicating their HFD. Distracting yourself from the inner feelings of hopelessness isn't healthy and this person needs to get help. You can learn all the symptoms of High Functioning Depression and know what to look out for. You might be experiencing HFD or perhaps you know someone who might be. Either way, there is help out there. HFD is treatable and a therapist can help you through it! You don't have to figure this out on your own. Many people with HFD feel that admitting they're depressed makes them weak or less independent. This isn't the case, and asking for help is the sign of a strong person. The symptoms of HFD are similar to clinical depression, but the presentation is different as we discussed. The person with HFD hides their depression extremely well. Here are some of the symptoms of HFD to look out for:
- Loss of interest in regular activities
- Problems with focusing
- Rage or irritability
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep problems
- Avoiding social events or activities
If you suspect that you have HFD you can seek help! You are not weak for asking for the support that you need. Read more about HFD below.