(High functioning depression) + (Brain injury) = X

What is X ?

I was made redundant from my full time role a few weeks ago, which was the best thing to have happened to me. I currently have the luxury to pick and choose my next role, concentrate on my passion projects and have a break.

Yet, the "break" hasn't started. Even weeks on.

I have always been high functioning. High energy, always busy, looking to become more busy, taking on additional tasks, filling all gaps in my life - basically operating at a high energy level most of the time, if not all. Even my outlet and relaxation methods are high energy!

Can you imagine how it feels without a full time role + being a high functioning individual? Besides looking for new opportunities, continuing with my fitness regime, house work and the usual day to day - I am still looking to fill 8 hours. While to most that seems like a dream - relax, go on a holiday, soak up some sun... this is my nightmare.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs between 8:30am - 5:30pm. If anything I'm busier than ever and I laugh at how I managed to do all of this WITH a full time role!

Prior to my brain injury I was always high functioning, but post trauma the ability to monitor,  control my emotions, and rational behaviour has diminished significantly. Which made me look into High Functioning Depression - I urge you to read the article linked.

The uniquely tricky thing about high-functioning depression is that it’s hard to spot precisely because the people dealing with it look, from the outside, like they’re holding it all together.

In my opinion, the above statement relates to a lot of high pressure corporate profiles, as well as high achieving brain injury survivors. This condition is not exclusive to brain injury, but I wanted to highlight it as I can relate and I want people to realise that depression is not always what it seems.

To most, depression looks like an individual who is:

  • Sad
  • Lonely / isolated
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Low energy

But the reality is that depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health issues can sometimes look unlike what you expect. Which is exactly the case with High Functioning Depression, which is also known as dysthymia.

Although some mental issues aren't obvious, it's important to have conversations with friends, family or professionals if you feel like this could be you. The more aware you are, the more effective you'll be to encourage positive change.

So what does X equal? In my case it can be a state of complete mania that is primarily invisible to those around me. It's definitely challenging, to both myself and those close to me.

Sometimes we're simply doing the best we can.