Some of the worst times for me was when I was 17 and felt extremely confused and left out about what I was feeling. The world seemed too big and too heavy on my shoulders and I was feeling downright miserable. My anxiety skyrocketed to the point where it manifested as physical pains and I was pretty sure that there had to be a name to call out to all the helplessness and sadness I was feeling. But I was very young and unexposed to the world of mental health, so as any other person would do, I took to Google. I put in all the things I was feeling and thought that I’d arrive at some sort of an idea as to what was going on with me. None of the people around me looked like they were suffering like I did and I didn’t have the courage to talk to it to my parents. But then my confusion increased manifold as I stared at the screen; all my signs led to Depression but I fit none of the “symptoms”. I wasn’t losing appetite, my sleep pattern didn’t change drastically yet I knew I was feeling miserable. And this prompted me to start doing more research into what I was feeling and if anyone else out there was feeling the same as I yet didn’t fit into the box of “depression and anxiety symptoms”. And a revelation was made; High-Functioning Disorders.
Let me digress for a bit. You see, the students and working professionals that make a majority of people who take their lives seem to fit a certain profile. Most of them were academically well off and seemed to have a normal relationship with their friends and family. No visible symptoms of depression or anxiety could be visibly seen and they didn’t look any different, their daily activities weren’t affected in any way, and all of them seemed normal and as they would every other day. Their suicides came as a big, unpredictable blow to their friends and family since to them, literally, nothing pointed to their loved one suffering from any kind of mental health issues or, so they thought.
This observation or the lack of it reveals a darker truth. Most of us aren’t aware of a class of disorders that has now become to be known as “high-functioning” disorders. It is a recent development in the field of psychology and one that has come in a much-needed time.
For those who don’t know what they are, High-functioning disorders are the same as any other mental health disorder that one may suffer from but possess a darker trait, they do not affect your daily life. Psychologists are more worried about the people who suffer from this class of disorders since they are extremely difficult to diagnose. People with high-functioning versions of disorders such as anxiety and depression will not seem any different from a person without the disorders, superficially. They will continue with their normal lives as if nothing affects them at all, their body and brain cope very well with their conditions and as a result, their work and academic lives remain undisturbed. They’re social and active, all smiles and whatnot but on the inside, they’re still suffering and unable reach out to anyone.
[Image source: Betterhelp]
For someone who is suffering and looks to the internet first to arrive at some kind of a self-diagnosis, it really doesn’t help when none of the mental health disorders’ so-called “symptoms” fit them. Not many articles relating to these high functioning forms of disorders are present even on the internet, which is one of, if not the largest communicative space globally. And hence understandably, not much awareness is present with regard to these issues.
However, people, one by one, are now coming forward to share their experiences with high-functioning disorders. This is an article written by a woman who suffers from High-Functioning Anxiety and Depression – https://themighty.com/2017/11/high-functioning-anxiety-depression-looks-like/
If you are suffering from not being the best version of yourself and doubt that it could be anxiety or depression or any other issues but experience none of the visible giveaways, do consult a psychologist.
It is never easy to battle these on your own and you shouldn’t either. The world is here to listen and to help. And if you doubt that one of your loved ones is suffering but do not know what to do since they do seem normal to everyone else, sit them down and talk to them. Ask them if they’re doing okay and if not, tell them that you’re there to help them get through this.
Everyone needs a hand sometimes. You could end up saving a life from further suffering because of the lack of awareness. Do your bit and spread the word.