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HFD: When you have depression but you do everything to mask it!

12 Oct 2016

Depression --- the term in itself presents us with a gloomy picture of a person who is sad, lethargic and in pain. The stereotype of the majority of the people suffering from depression has made us look for just what we can see, and not what else there is.

A classic example of HFD or high functioning depression is a woman who feels empty within. Her gut is empty, inside she thinks everything is ending but on the outside she masks it with smiles, laughter, jokes, even partying and working hard... Her partner or friends wouldnt even realise she could possible have an issue. But it these people who then are susceptible to sudden steps that shock their families. 


Not necessarily that depression would always stop you. It might also drive you achieve, and over achieve to the point of not stopping. And still it will make you think you are a LOSER! So you try harder!

"High-functioning depression is not a category that appears in the textbooks," says Carol Landau, a clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Brown University.

In a country like India, many people keep their problems hidden. They lead their lives as normal – going to work, socializing and functioning normally on the outside – while suffering in silence.

People in this category tend to perform well at work and in superficial social relationships; Landau says the symptoms of depression may appear at night.

"Many people with high functioning depression feel more of a loss of interest," Landau says. Some symptoms are such that a person isn't aware they are depressed, such as irritability, guilt or overeating. It is hard to convince others of the raging pain inside, and often, the people suffering from it do not realize themselves that something is amiss.

In some cases, a person with depression or anxiety may hide their condition with jokes and laughter - because it doesn't seem possible that a chirpier person can be depressed. 

On the surface, high-functioning depression appears to be easier to deal with, but this is not the case. There are dangers associated with keeping feelings bottled up, such as failing to seek help when it is desperately needed.



4 Signs of a High-Functioning Depressive

 a.  Being too hard on oneself: High-functioning depressives tend to be   overachievers because they expect a lot of themselves. And while this might seem like a great thing to those around the depressive, it can actually push the individual beyond that healthy point of self-criticism

 b.  Work becomes a burden: Due to the over criticism of the self, the work which was once enjoyable becomes a burden to bear. 

c.  Feelings of wasting time: Despite having achieved a great deal, many high-functioning depressives feel as though they are wasting time. 

d. Relationship Issues:  They tend to become overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions and therefore shut them down when strong emotions arise. This means that in a relationship when conflict arises they’re less equipped to deal with problems that elicit strong emotions. They may withdraw from their partner altogether, or may push the issue and explode. Both of these forms of handling conflict (or avoiding conflict) are detrimental to the relationship. 


Things That People With High Functioning Depression Will Want You To Know:

 i. People can’t comprehend the difficulty of their symptoms. Being able to manage a job and social & personal relationships do not undermine the struggle the people have to go through. Everyday activities, like going to work, still feel impossible.

 ii. Their illness doesn’t have to be seen in order to be real. Just because you can’t see it, does not mean it is not there.

iii. They appreciate your checking in on them. No matter how well they manage life, they sure feel good when they find the support around.


 iv. The condition goes deeper than just life’s circumstances. Having a loving husband or a nice home is not enough to defeat the constant battle raging inside.

 v. The appearance on the outside doesn’t always match the inside. What you see  isn’t always what you get when it comes to high-functioning depression. A person my look like they have everything figured out or may be functioning normally, but their   inner world could be vastly different.

 vi.  Feeling better isn’t a matter of just adjusting their attitude. They can’t just “get   over” depression or “stop feeling sad.” Depression at its core is a physiological disorder and affects areas of the brain. It also comes with physical symptoms as well.


Management & Prognosis

There’s a host of options for managing and recovering from depression, from lifestyle habits to specific medical care like therapy or medication, and usually an effective plan requires employing more than one. Treatment does work and people can have a full life despite of the condition. Those with high-functioning depression are very likely to become deeply involved in their therapy and may find enjoyment in the self-discovery process that is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy, and thus CBT is one of the most commonly used and effective treatment methods.



People may have a lot of opinions, but the one that truly matters is yours. If you feel that you have the above mentioned symptoms or being faced with these challenges, talk to a professional today. Believe that you deserve to be happy, and help is just a click away.

If you are struggling, please don't wait. If you or somoene you know has Depression, then treatment is required and it is available right here at 

Just Click the Green chat button and Type "Depression Assessment" to connect instantly with a psychologist 




Tags: depression, well being, sadness, coping issues, hopelessness, helpnessless, anxiety