Imagine a situation where the painting of the world around you is in full technicolor, only a little duller. Imagine a situation where you are a star performer at work, with many friends and close family ties. Yet, you end up wolfing down sugar in cakes, mithai, and chocolates – the sweeter the better, trying to fill a hole inside you. Even as you race up the career and life ladder, you may wonder why you don’t feel the excitement you should.
This is the story of high functioning individuals with depression. Many times, it’s ugly step sister named anxiety also tags along.
Besides, this is my story as well.
My experience with High-Functioning Depression
It was the summer of 2011. My parents had just gifted me an iPad. That would make the nerd in me ecstatic, right? But I just felt numb and disinterested.
I shot with a mock cricket match with a team from Oracle India for a corporate film. Under the hot sun, as I used a megaphone to yell instructions at the crew, I felt shivery. “Migraine!”, I thought. But to my surprise, I also noticed I have forgotten how to smile!
Well, I guess on top of a broken engagement and a chronic illness, it was only to be expected. Over the next two years, I isolated myself further, using my illness as a reason not to go out. I would reject projects-just doing enough to earn some money. I did nothing that pleased me. But even in that state, I consulted with Wikipedia on media relations, managing to work without going out much. I did media rounds with my domestic help in tow to help in case of an emergency. I struggled on.
All of this continued till 2013 when a massive health relapse sent me to bed for 3 months. This forced my family to override my protests and take me to the doctors at Medanta.
That’s the back story.
Today, I am the editor of a magazine on public relations and a successful tarot reader. I am also undertaking intensive study and internships to become a psychologist and a counselor. I daresay I am still high functioning, but no longer as depressed as I used to be. And the prognosis is good; the more I fill my life with what I really want to do, the more depression and anxiety recede!
The exact steps I took to deal with High-Functioning Depression are:-
1) Intensive talk therapy with a clinical psychologist.
This is the foundation of my well being now. For over 3 years, I have been in therapy. This has helped me identify my feelings, manage them and discover what I really want to do.
2) Seeing a Psychiatrist
An excellent set of medicines is available if you are suffering from anxiety and depression. I still take a moderate dose of a SSRI that moderates the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin has been proved to be one of the neurotransmitters in the brain that monitors emotions and depression.
3) Find your purpose
Finally, the most important thing has been finding a long term sense of purpose. High functioning adults with depression can often lack a life purpose. It’s like being shrouded in a tunnel, where you can see the path ahead but lack the vision to imagine a better life purpose. Finding your life’s purpose is one of the best ways to guard against depression. Think of it as a vaccine against depression. Mine has been writing, learning about counseling and Starbucks coffee. (Not always in that order!)
If you feel you may be depressed, talk to a clinical psychologist today by clicking here.