What is it like to be a high-functioning depressive?


I was depressed but wouldn’t allow myself to admit it.” It’s a story that is becoming increasingly familiar.
This is made worse by a sense of guilt: they tell themselves that they are lucky and don’t deserve to be depressed.
As a result, they keep it all hidden inside, compounding the problem further.” So, is high functioning depression just another term for old-fashioned burnout?
“High functioning depression is usually linked to people’s expectations of happiness not being met.
They wanted me to be this larger than life, big money guy.
Firstly, I needed to better process certain traumas in my life.
Secondly, I learned that you have to just accept yourself and know that you are of value, regardless of what is going on in your life.
But the key thing is to accept that you can be depressed in spite of your seemingly successful life.


A dynamic young entrepreneur in his early forties, Nick Hussey had a growing family, a successful cycling apparel brand, and a fearful morning routine. “My plan would be to lock myself in the bathroom, play loud music on my phone, and repeatedly slap myself in the face,” he declares. “I had to push myself to be the person I needed to be that day. I would be screaming at my own reflection, ‘Shape up! Do this!'”. “.

Hussey’s outward success, like that of many other high achievers, concealed his inner suffering. He was overcommitted, emotionally distant, and using work and exercise as a form of self-medication. When his daughter was born, “the business was thriving,” he claims. However, I hardly remember anything from her first year. I felt utterly cut off. My hand used to tremble every day. I was constantly disoriented. My mind was racing with criticism of myself, making it difficult for me to sleep. Although I knew I was depressed, I wouldn’t let myself admit it. “.

This is a tale that is being told more and more often. US-based therapist Jeffrey Melzer explained the condition of “high functioning depression” that more and more of his patients are experiencing in a video he posted on Tik Tok and You Tube earlier this month. The video gained over eight million views in a short period of time, and 5,000 comments were left, with some saying, “This describes me to a tee!” and “Can someone tell me how to fix it?” Despite the fact that “high functioning depression” is not a recognized diagnosis in the medical community, it has become a common term for a set of symptoms that resonate with a generation of seemingly successful but mentally challenged individuals.

Speaking with me over the phone from his Bradenton, Florida clinic, Melzer refutes the myth that depression prevents one from getting out of bed in the morning. But since moving from a public to a private practise, I have noticed a lot of individuals who manage to get up, work hard, and appear to have a stable life. These individuals have loving families and prosperous careers. They don’t know why, but they are unhappy on the inside. A guilty feeling exacerbates this, as they convince themselves that they are fortunate and don’t deserve to be sad. They therefore keep everything inside, which makes the issue worse. “.

Thus, is high functioning depression merely a fancy way of saying traditional burnout? No, says Selzer. “You don’t have to be depressed to be successful and busy,” he says. People’s expectations of happiness not being fulfilled are typically linked to high functioning depression. Thus, in order to address it, one must adopt a new viewpoint. I chatted with three successful men who discovered that the accoutrements of their position not only failed to bring them happiness, but also purposefully contributed to their depression.

Melzer’s Tik Tok video highlights seven indicators that suggest their success may have turned darker: withdrawing from friends, losing interest in once-loved activities, self-criticism that never goes away, getting frustrated over little annoyances or disappointments, slipping into mindless routines for extended periods of time, having little energy, and accomplishing daily tasks while feeling hollow on the inside.

Gary Stevenson made millions for himself and his employers at Citibank when he was in his 20s, making him the youngest and highest-earning trader in the City of London. However, he didn’t think his accomplishments could bring him any happiness. “I couldn’t stand to be around people, so I left my own birthday party,” he claims. Everyone I knew was there because I had rented a club. They wanted me to be this supermodel-like, well-to-do man. However, I simply felt hurt, like an animal with wounds. I was required to hide. When you’re successful, you don’t feel like you can be vulnerable with people because they’ll think you’re not worthy of their judgment and say you have no right to feel that way. “.

Melzer says that when people reach their greatest accomplishments, it’s normal for them to feel the lowest. It’s unclear. Society has taught you that success and wealth are the ultimate sources of happiness, but these things never materialize. “Where does that leave you?” Stevenson concurs, saying that realizing all of your goals can sometimes be the worst thing because it forces you to face the underlying causes of your unhappiness. “.

Recognizing that your depression is real is the first step toward feeling better, according to Melzer. He claims that a lot of people believe they must experience extreme sadness in order to properly identify as depressed. However, it is not always as subtle as that. With these awful emotions inside of them, many people can endure for a very long time. The lesson is that you can seek assistance at any time—you don’t have to wait for your life to fall apart. “.

According to Melzer, maintaining a balanced lifestyle is a necessary component of asking for that assistance. He says, “I advise my clients to consider watering the plants in their garden.”. “The quantity of water you have is limited. Certain plants will wither away if you don’t distribute it carefully. “With increased self-awareness, Hussey now manages his new company, the upscale outerwear line Frahm. “I take time out to rest if I am pushing myself too hard,” he says. “I no longer feel the need to be macho and never stop working.”. I’m happier and more available to my family as a result, and I’m also more productive at work because I have more energy and focus to devote to making the right choices. “.

Rep. Adam Smith of the United States believed that both psychological and practical therapies were necessary for his recovery from depression. In his book Lost And Broken: My Journey Back From Chronic Pain And Crippling Anxiety, he poignantly chronicled it. He claims that after receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), “I eventually learned how to respond to difficulties in a better way with my mind.”. “I also learned two very significant things through therapy. First and foremost, I had to give some of my life’s traumas more time to heal. I discovered that I had been adopted as a baby when I was 26 years old. I became aware of this right after the passing of my adoptive parents. I attempted to set my emotions aside and focus solely on advancing my political career. But eventually, your emotions get the better of you. Second, I discovered that no matter what is happening in your life, you just need to accept who you are and realize your value. People frequently bring up their careers or relationships when discussing their feelings of success or failure. That being said, none of it really matters. In and of yourself, you are a valuable individual. “.

Hussey was forced to face the problems that had fueled his covert depression when his cycle-wear company failed in 2017. “I experienced a breakdown and considered ending my life,” he claims. “The only way I could get past that was to be open to new concepts. With all this extra energy, people used to say I was a force of nature. However, I had been abusing work as a drug to divert my attention from uncomfortable emotions. I learned that having a strong work ethic didn’t have to mean sacrificing your personal well-being. “.

Gary Stevenson gave up trading when he realized that money could not make him happy. His best-selling memoir about his career, The Trading Game, was recently written by him. “When I was on the trading floor, I felt very alone,” he says. The turning point for me was having the guts to open up to other people and tell them how I was feeling. “Even when I told my bosses I was struggling mentally and needed a break, they just assumed it was a play for more money and offered me a massive pay rise!”. The idea that a wealthy person could genuinely experience depression was not widely accepted. However, I discovered some who did, and by being open and honest with them, I was able to begin to resolve my emotional issues. “.

Melzer says there are numerous ways to implement that solution. “CBT is a fantastic method for addressing mental and emotional distortions and embracing a more practical and grounded mindset. Similar to this, it has been demonstrated that aerobic exercise, meditation, and medication are helpful resources. Accepting that you can experience depression despite leading what appears to be a successful life is crucial. That is not a source of shame. It is an ubiquitous sign of the modern world.

“Having ambition is perfectly acceptable, and you can achieve happiness without giving up on your work. You just need to examine your reasons for wanting to achieve this goal; if it’s only to overcome your overwhelming fear of failing or to find a solution to every emotional issue you have, you may find yourself let down. “.

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