The Art Of Being Happy: How High Functioning Depression Works
What Is Happy?
What is Happiness? I find myself asking that question quite often. What moments, in life should warrant a feeling or expression of being happy or overjoyed?
I haven’t found much joy in ‘the little things’. For a long time now, I’ve assumed that people who appeared to be happy all the time and gleefully content with the little things in life were simply, faking it. I absolutely believed, there was no possible way that people could truly feel such joy. Buying new stuff or spending time with family or just going to the movies; even big events like passing the drivers test or graduating, never warranted a lively response from me. When I did feel slight joy, it arrived quickly and just like that it vanished. It still vanishes.
In school, I received acceptable grades and my behavior was impeccable. Now, when I’m asked to do something for someone, I’m quick to say yes without hesitation; I do it with a smile. If you ask people around me whether or not I’m happy, they will most-likely smile and say, “Of course she is!”. I’m sure on the outside, it seems that way but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, I have a reoccurring nightmare where my close-to-perfect exterior becomes cracked and all my true feelings come spilling out.
On the surface, I seem, for the most part, okay. Under the surface, I struggle with OCD and anxiety; some close family members and acquaintances aren’t even aware and most strangers wouldn’t even pick up on it. On the inside, it feels like my mind is a bad rendition of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’. It feels like Sadness took the lead, locked Joy away somewhere, and held her appearances up for ransom. When I do get to experience “Joy”, she doesn’t seem authentic to the brand and she certainly doesn’t stay long.
The Signs and Symptoms
I knew some of the symptoms of depression, like feeling sad, anxious, worthless, not being able to sleep or get out of bed, but I didn’t become aware of all the signs, symptoms, and types of depression until did some research. I found an article about High-Functioning Depression written by Annie Wright on TheMighty.com that was particularly helpful in my quest to find more information. Some of the Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression are:
- Difficulty Experiencing Joy
- Constant Self-Doubt
- Diminished Energy
- Small Things That Feel Like Huge Things
- Irritability or excessive anger
- Guilt or worry over the past or future
The more articles that I read, the more I realized that I’ve felt this way for a very long time, maybe even most of my life. Normal Activities like, going to the movies or spending time with family take most of my energy. I somehow possess the ability to push through and do these things despite the overwhelming feeling of impending exhaustion. Often Times, I try to avoid social situations because I know that I’ll arrive home exhausted, unable to stop thinking about what others are thinking about me, choking on the words I said, ready, to climb into bed and watch Netflix. For me, an authentic feeling of joy is a rare occasion. It sometimes feels like happiness comes around a few times year and then, like a distant relative, it leaves. All of the articles were a very helpful reminder that I’m not alone with these feelings, there are other people out there who feel the same way.
The Art of Being Happy
Wearing a smile doesn’t make someone happy, it only allows them to give the impression to others that they are. This is how High-Functioning depression works. Showing happiness is one thing but authentically feeling it and holding on to it is completely different. Authentic happiness is an experience that I believe most people are entitled to and High-Functioning Depression can, unfortunately, go unnoticed for a very long time. If you aren’t aware of the signs, symptoms, and types of depression you most-likely wouldn’t actually know what to look for.
Getting Help for Depression
If you think that you or someone you know may be struggling with Depression or High-Functioning Depression, I want you to know that you are not alone. I put some links down below for you to learn more about it and get the help that you need and deserve.
CHECK OUT: Seasonal Depression
Resources for Depression and High-Functioning Depression