Walking into my office at work, you’d make quick observations of me:
1. “She’s really a fat woman.”
2. “Damn, she’s happy though.” or “Look at her chair dancing away!”
3. “She knows her shit.”
If you’re privy to become apart of my tribe, you’d meld your observations into formed opinions:
1. “She’s a strong woman.”
2. “She’s got a great personality.”
3. “She’s a loyal friend.”
All of these are various masks that I wear on the outside; which is exhausting to maintain during sun up to sun down. I literally have to put cognitive thought into making, “…happy” around me. It’s not a natural part of my being. This is what High Functioning Depression, or Dysthymia, looks likes on me.
As a fly on the all in my secure and safe abode, you would observe a radically different woman. I sit and stare, a lot, at nothing really. The television is usually on in the background, running some blathering show about something. I am surrounded by blank canvas, acrylics, and books; so many avenues of creativity, but lacking one major thing. Ooomph.
I don’t know how to properly describe what it is: Drive? I mean, I have inspiration. I have imagination. I sit here and think about all these interesting things to paint and create. I think about the process of thought to fruition. But it’s that initial start that I cannot muster. This is what high functioning depression does to me.
See that pile of laundry? I know I should do it. I know that my vacation ends today, and my work starts again tomorrow. I stare, endlessly, at that pile of laundry. But, putting my foot onto the floor and taking that first step towards finishing this goal is nil in void. This is what high functioning depression does to me.
I sit at the edge of my bed. I stare mindlessly at the room in front of me. I barely acknowledge my pugs snuggled warmly behind me. I rationally take in the aspects of my life I am very thankful for: Roof over my head, food in my belly, secure employment, insurance, etc. But I cannot find “joy” in the finer things in life. The best way to describe it is numb. I KNOW on a articulate, mental level that I shouldn’t be this dissonant. This, however, is exactly what high functioning depression does to me.
There are ample things I want to do with my day, weekend, or life. I have a bucket list of things I desire to complete before death. I think about these things everyday. I pull out my computer to pick up and write in the novel I have started. I find myself an hour later having divided my time between facebook, games, and nothing… absolutely nothing. It is not laziness. It’s not lack of motivation. It’s just a weird lack of everything. THIS is what high functioning depression does to me.
So, I may be a happy gal when we meet. I may seem like I’m an embodiment of strength. I may seem to “have my shit together”. . . but I’m numb all the time. I lack a drive to write, eat, speak. It’s taken me four days to write this blog, from start to finish. I start, and give up within minutes of opening the WordPress app.
Please, if there is anyone in your life who “…seems normal” but is suffering depression, please just be there for them. Offer to do small steps with them. Encourage them, don’t chastise them. Listen to them, don’t just hear them. Because, High Functioning Depression is very debilitating. It is very real. Medications help, but don’t cure. They add to the numbing effects of life.