Do I Have High-Functioning Depression? What Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For
In the world of mental illness, there is rarely a uniform diagnosis, especially for depression. These types of complaints manifest themselves differently from person to person. So how should you know if you're suffering from depression or if you're really in a bad mood? The brain may be a complex puzzle, but here's what we know.
Signs that it's just a bad mood
You are grumpy today. About that. A little angry, a little sad. We were all in a bad mood. Irritability can be caused by external factors such as sleep disorders, vitamin D deficiency, allergies, poor nutrition or PMS (and PMS's bad cousin, premenstrual dysphoria, PMDD). Sometimes you're late for work because your cat threw up his pants and the bus was late, so of course you're upset!
On other days you wake up on the wrong side of the bed for no reason and life is pure lemons, not lemonade. Maybe Mercury is on the decline.
The biggest signs that you're in a bad mood are when - ta there! - it disappears and - voila! - You are still able to give work presentations, pay attention in class, feed your dog, bathe your children and accomplish everything in between. Tomorrow is better (hell, it's actually fun) and your rutting was nothing a jog after work couldn't fix.
CONNECTION: 6 habits that are guaranteed to put you in a good mood
Signs that it could be a highly functional depression
If your bad mood becomes your status quo and you are greeted with feelings of worthlessness, sadness, guilt or disinterest every morning, this may not be just a bad mood anymore. It could be a highly functional depression, also known as dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder (PDD).
Many people with PDD have successful social lives, careers and families. We see how they do everything and admire them for it. According to Bridges to Recovery, a psychiatric treatment center, a person suffering from PDD appears to be doing well externally. Internally, however, it is an enormous effort for these people to get up and maintain all of their relationships and roles. You do it, but it hurts. And it is difficult. And this feeling lasts a long time. (We're talking about years.)
A psychiatrist or licensed psychiatrist must diagnose PDD. They do this by looking for less intense versions of symptoms similar to Major Depression (MDD) over a period of at least two years. The American Psychiatric Association lists changes in sleeping and eating habits, lack of motivation, general feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem and indecisiveness as symptoms of MDD. If these occur almost every day, all day, for no apparent reason for a period of two years or more, this may indicate a PDD.
It is worth noting that many people living with PDD suffer silently, either because they have not yet recognized their symptoms or because they do not want to acknowledge them. People with high-functioning depression fulfill obligations that may be even better than their peers, and may regard constant irritability as just part of life. Even if someone sees symptoms of PDD, they often make sure that they don't feel it strong enough to ask for help. "I come to work on time every day and see my friends on the weekends! I can't possibly be depressed! "
If you feel like you've been in a bad mood since 2017, or have had prolonged bouts of sadness for several years, check with a psychiatrist to determine if PDD is the culprit. There are treatments and therapists who can help you with this and on the other hand.
You are not alone either. Check out this informative and vulnerable piece by writer Christine Yu where she discovers her own high-functioning depression.
RELATED: 5 Things You Should Never Tell A Friend With Depression
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