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5 Things I Wish People Understood About 'High-Functioning' Anxiety and Depression

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This piece was written by a Thought Catalog contributor.

It could be happening to anyone around you. Think of any of the people in your daily life. It could be a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a friend, a co-worker — even someone I look up to as a role model. The scariest part about “high-functioning” anxiety and depression is it’s not something you can clearly see. Sometimes, even the people I am around all of the time don’t know I’m struggling because I’m able to cover this up and keep it hidden.

When I’re sick I can go to the doctor, get medicine and get better — all relatively quickly. Sure, there is medication for mental illness too, but it often isn’t as simple. Especially for a “high-functioning” person like me battling demons every day.

It’s not so easy to explain to people. It’s actually really friggin’ hard to try to explain to someone that I have anxiety and depression when I’m a high-functioning member of society who gets up every day and goes to work as well as maintaining many close social relationships. This part is really difficult for people to understand.

For most people, it’s almost impossible for them to understand how I could be struggling internally when on the outside, my life seems successful and filled with happiness.

1. It’s the feeling of having tons of friends, but some days just not wanting to see them.

How does one of the most social people of the friend group explain why they haven’t come to anything in days? How am I able to explain that some days the pain, depression and anxiety just drown me out and I can’t get myself to be around anyone?

2. It’s the feeling of being completely run down, even when I got countless hours of sleep.

You know that feeling when no matter how much sleep you get you will still be exhausted? Well, this comes and hits me out of nowhere. This comes on a random day, sucks the life out of me and makes it absolutely impossible to do anything except stay in bed.

3. It’s the feeling of constantly thinking I’ve disappointed someone even when I’ve done nothing wrong.

Out of nowhere, I will feel someone is mad at me. The smallest negative gesture from one of my loved ones can send me into an overthinking spiral of chaos wondering what I could have done wrong, and why this person may be upset with me.

4. It’s the feeling of being terrified to let someone down, even on the days the pain is barricading me.

I am a people pleaser. I want to make everyone happier. Hell, I make plans and obligations so I have to show up. There is no way I can try and explain this kind of “not feeling well” and why I wasn’t able to make it. There are people relying on me.

5. It’s the constant self-criticism, overworking and feeling like nothing I do is enough.

No matter how hard I work, I feel I could do better. No matter what praise or compliments I am receiving, I just don’t see it that way. It doesn’t matter how successful I am, there is always someone doing better and I constantly need to push myself to that point — even when it exhausts me.

This story is brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

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Thinkstock photo via MistakeAnn.

Originally published: September 7, 2017
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