This Is What It’s Like To Have High-Functioning Depression In The Workplace

I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember, but I highly doubt the people closest to me know about it.

I’ve always been sociable, fortunate, and successful – definitely not someone society would categorize as “depressed.”

But society doesn’t know there are so many faces of depression; it’s not always outright and obvious.

High-functioning depression is when someone seems to have it together on the outside, but on the inside, they’re truly depressed and trying to just hold it all together.

When I finally recognized I could do something about it, I saw my doctor and began taking medication. This was a little over a year before I got a “real world” job.

I recall saying the feeling of the medication kicking in was like getting the right prescription contact lenses put into your eyes – everything felt clearer.

Things were definitely better than they’d been in the past, but antidepressants are not a “cure-all” and I still went through some depressive episodes.

Overall though, I was a lot better. I studied marketing in college because my parents always told me a business degree was a good idea, so I just felt like it was right.

A little less than a year after I graduated college, I started working at a media company.

I did my best to always have a smile on, put forth a real effort, and make a great impression at my first “real job” in the adult world.

I was successful, I was liked, and I was promoted within a year of being there.

Things on the outside seemed to be going according to plan, but on the inside, I was struggling.

My job didn’t make me happy – I came home every day feeling exhausted and completely drained from having my “professional office-mode” turned on all day.

That wasn’t me, and I felt as though I was completely pretending to be this person I wasn’t just to be successful at my job.

A little more than a year into the job things began to spiral downhill. My depression rapidly started bubbling to the surface and it was getting to the point where I could no longer hide it.

I began showing up late, doing the least amount of work as possible, and communicating with other co-workers only when necessary.

It was like I couldn’t put on this show for everyone anymore.

I was experiencing debilitating headaches and persistent negative thoughts. Getting myself out of bed was a daily struggle, and I began snapping at my boyfriend for no reason.

I was tired, and I was done.

After about five or six months of this behavior, I decided I had to do something. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I had been on antidepressants before and I had felt how good I could feel, so why was I sacrificing my happiness for this job?

My mind had been so clouded by trying to hide my depression I hadn’t even considered other possibilities. I didn’t think I could make such a big change.

After lots of thought, I eventually decided to quit my office job and become a full-time writer and fashion blogger. I always had a passion for writing. It often helped me express myself in a way I wasn’t able to do vocally. Now, I can make a living off of it.

The fashion blog is a fun and creative thing for me to do as well. I finally have something I can do (and be good at) where I’m not pretending.

I love what I do and it’s the first time I’ve ever felt truly happy and at peace with where my life is.

Everyone’s depression is different, but I promise you, you don’t have to feel miserable on the inside every day. There’s always something you can do about it.

There are so many options for managing depression, from changing lifestyle habits, to medication, to therapy. Treatment can and does work, and you can still have a fulfilling and happy life despite your depression.

Managing my depression with lifestyle changes and medication helped me realize my true passions, and helped me become more in tune with myself.

I took a risk and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


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