A few weeks ago, a close friend tweeted this.
As I scrolled through my timeline, I stumbled on the tweet and thought “Yeah, this one’s for me”. If you know me and know me well, you’ll know I believe in signs. For months, I’d been battling with my own mental and physical health but couldn’t pinpoint what the issue was. And it didn’t matter (and has never mattered) how low I felt in my life, how many things were bothering me or if I’d had 1 hours sleep; I got up, I showed up and I got things done. But at what cost?
Reading my friend’s tweet, it really hit me. I’d been struggling to express my feelings and the kind of space I was in for a long time. But because I look fine and function well enough to get by day to day (going to work, washing myself, etc). people assume there’s nothing wrong, I’m just in a “bad mood” or that someone out there has it worse than me so I should not be complaining.
Functional Depression sums up the space I have been in, in recent months.
High Functioning Depression, whilst not a clinical diagnosis, can be characterised as having as having anxiety, low mood and low energy. Those who “suffer” with this tend to be people who are determined to get on with things, not ask or seek help, and still tend to be high achieving or successful – i.e. they appear to be doing well for themselves and so, do not appear to be stereotypically “depressed”.
Now, I’m no doctor or medical expert or practitioner. This is simply my understanding of the term and I am thus not seeking to diagnose anyone. But for me, this understanding of Functional Depression rings true. I can get on with things and continue on without quitting even if internally I’m having an actual meltdown. And of recently, I have actually been throwing in the towel because the pressure, stress and anxiety had actually gotten too much. But now that I’ve acknowledged it, I know it is not sustainable or healthy. Saying no, quitting a job, cancelling an event and/or taking a break is not weak or a sign of giving up. Telling people to back off, to leave you to it and to allow you to come to your decisions is not rude or dismissive. It is about setting boundaries and knowing your limits.
Know your limits, know your boundaries, know what you are willing and able to do.
Now that I’ve acknowledged the patterns in my behaviour and how I feel in particular spaces, I’ve tried to make some changes:
• I moved out of my family home and actively giving myself space.
• I quit my job without having found a new one, encouraging myself to find somewhere better.
• I say “No” a lot more. I don’t force myself into things for other people.
• I also say “Yes” to things too, trying not to shy away from things due to anxiety and overthinking social situations.
• I constantly remind myself of my plans and goals. In doing so, I keep myself on track even when I’m feeling down.
• I allow myself to have down days, but not allowing the negativity to prolong.
• I maintain doing things I enjoy – gym, reading, blogging etc.
• I accept I can do anything but not everything at once. And that’s okay.
These are just some of the things I’ve done and acknowledged to improve my feelings of depression. Whilst I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental health concerns, I think that it is possible to go through periods of depression and anxiety at certain points in our lives. Now, I haven’t offered any quick fixes or medical advice, just simply things that have worked for me and will hopefully be helpful for others.
Your mental health and state of wellbeing is important.
Self love before all other love.