I keep seeing stories about high-functioning depression all over the soc-meedz (social media) and I think it’s super weird. People always say the weirdest things about high-functioning depressive types. They were so happy. You’d never guess. They were so successful. They had their life together. By all accounts, they were living the perfect life. I had no idea. I can’t believe they’d do this. They just seemed so normal.
Maybe it’s because I live with more mental illness than the normal person, but no suicide attempt ever comes out of nowhere. No one is perfectly fine while keeping a deep dark secret of extreme depression. No one is living a perfect life right before they chase a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of vodka. (Do people still try to kill themselves with aspirin? I don’t actually know.)
No one is fine.
Some of the most depressed people I know are also the most social, the most ambitious, the most outwardly happy… The ones that invite you to brunch every weekend. Know how to spot a depressed person? Look for someone whose life you envy. Look for someone that seems happy. Look for someone. Anyone.
What’s really bothering me about this article trend isn’t that people managed to slip under the radar. What’s really eating at me is that I AM NOT HIGH-FUNCTIONING, AND PEOPLE STILL DON’T GIVE A FUCK.
I’m not outwardly happy. I’m not social. I don’t have my life together. I’m not overachieving. I don’t have stable relationships. I don’t see people on a regular basis.
I’m reclusive, moody, very forward about my general dislike of people, and in general the only high-functioning aspect to me is that I get up and go to work consistently.
It’s not an achievement.
And yet… If I went home this evening and hung myself from my stairs, people would be just as surprised as ever.
High-functioning mental illness is scary, but not because no one ever sees it coming… it’s scary because no one cares. I’ve thrown up pretty much every red flag on the list short of actually drinking bleach. I’m drowning in myself over here. I’m choking on life and the reality of every day being the same.
Last night I went home and had a hysterical breakdown. It was a shitty day. I rode home in weird tense silence with my very depressed mother. We stopped at the grocery and all I could manage to think of to buy were Michellina’s dinners, because they were a dollar. Then I went home and one of my dogs tried to eat my computer mouse, my record collection, and generally wrecked the house. I freaked out and after yelling about how I don’t deserve to be treated this way, I left. Just left.
Fortunately, I had no where to go. Went home and dug out a giant dog kennel, which is where my darling Keagan is today… Spent an hour reinforcing the seams, because it’s pop-up and last time I used it, Kyrie busted herself out of it and destroyed her face fitting through the seams. Blood everywhere. Not doing that again… Then I literally sat in a chair and stared at nothing for 30 minutes.
Then I went to bed at 8pm.
I woke up this morning at 1am… and proceeded to just watch iZombie till it was time to leave for work. In that time, I also decided that I should just box up everything I own and either store it under the house or toss it. I don’t really use anything, so it’s not like I’d miss any of it, other than for sentimental reasons. I essentially just watch TV at this point in my life. Lost all creative juices, no motivation to fix up the house, and sometimes I just want to lay in the middle of the floor and stare at the ceiling…
But if I go home and kill myself, no one is going to see that coming.
They never see anything coming.
You don’t have to be high-functioning to hide. Just avoid the subject and people will gladly pretend not to see the scars. Smile and people will look past the tears. Apologize when you’ve thrown a fit and no one thinks twice about it even happening. You’re not depressed or bipolar. You’re just eclectic, or a little sad sometimes, maybe having a hard time. You’re the novelty friend. You’re really busy, so you don’t get out much.
High-functioning, my ass.