How To Recognize High-Functioning Depression

Like other facets of mental health disorders and conditions, understanding high-functioning depression can be tricky. Since people experience symptoms differently, it might be difficult to understand if someone is just having a bad day or going through a difficult bout of depression. And since depressive episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several months, the situation can be even more confusing. But recognizing signs of high-functioning depression, whether we recognize them in others or in our own behavior, is one way to improve the situation. I’ve put together a list, based on personal experience and the advice of others, about some of the ways high-functioning depression can show up in our lives.

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What Does It Mean to Have High-Functioning Depression?

“High-functioning depression.” The first time I heard a mental health professional say those words to me, I did a double-take. That phrase didn’t add up. At the time, I understood depression as a debilitating mental illness, one that was capable of robbing me of energy, personality and ability to be myself. And while I’d feel that way most of the time, there were periods where I was able to be productive and get things done. Those were the times I didn’t have depression then, right? Not necessarily. Learning about high-functioning depression was an necessary education – one that helped shape the way I view living with mental illness.

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Intrusive Thoughts, Part One: An Overview

One aspect of my life with anxiety and depression is constantly dealing with intrusive thoughts. It doesn’t matter the time or place, and it doesn’t depend on the activity I’m doing, but every so often, I have unwanted thoughts that become stuck in my brain. And I’m not alone – more than 6 million people are estimated to deal with intrusive thoughts in the U.S. every year, and those are just the people who feel comfortable telling their doctor about it. But what exactly are intrusive thoughts, and how can we recognize when we have them? Let’s break it down.

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Dating With Depression: To Love and Be Loved

This post is the last part in this “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here, and the third post about what your partner should know about your mental health here.

As I’ve gone through this series, I’ve been looking at different stages of a relationship in chronological order, and that was done for a specific reason. Every part of a relationship requires different advice, knowledge and tips, and having romantic interests while living with mental illness can make those parts even more complicated. But to wrap the series up, I want reflect on something for the readers, and it’s this (potential hot take coming up): for people living with mental illness, it’s possible to give and receive love in a romantic relationship. Not only is it possible, but being who you are can actually improve the relationship.

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Dating With Depression: What Your Partner Should Know

This post is the third part in my “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, and the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here.

Dating someone while dealing with mental health issues, or living with a chronic mental illness, isn’t easy. It’s not easy for the people who are living with these issues (obviously), but it can also be very difficult for the other person, the other half of the relationship. It’s great that people want to help care and support their partners who live with mental illness, and it’s beautiful to see relationships thrive even though one (or both) people are dealing with mental health issues. But if someone wants to be as helpful and supportive as possible, what am I supposed to tell them? Even though my experience is specific, there are a few things you could tell your partner that might help them understand what you’re dealing with.

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Dating With Depression: Talking About Our Mental Health

In the first post of my Dating With Depression series, I wrote about how to put yourself out there and be open to meeting someone. I don’t think I’d have been able to put myself out there if I wasn’t prepared to handle what was next, which is how I’d like to segue into the next post in this series – how to bring up that mental health conversation with someone you’re dating. Obviously every relationship and person is unique, but there are a few bits of advice I’ve learned (and heard from others) about more approachable ways to bring up mental health that everyone can shape for their own needs and relationships. Let’s dive in!

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Healthy Ways to Cope With Depression

Earlier this week, I wrote about some healthy ways to cope with anxiety, and I dove into the relationship between coping strategies and what we’re mentally dealing with. I thought that I’d continue that today by talking about healthy ways to cope with depression. Just like earlier in the week, it’s not just about the specific coping strategies we use, but our relationships with those strategies, too – and making sure that unhealthy strategies don’t turn into habits.

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More Than ‘Why’: Learning to Live With Depression and Anxiety

In some of my recent discussions about current events, antiracism and white supremacy, I’ve found that many people are doing a lot of self-reflection on their own thoughts, biases and actions. As they’d continue to speak, I would think to myself: this is nice, but have your actions changed? Do you treat people differently? Do you live your life differently now? And those thoughts led me to the realization that in the past, I’ve done that same thing about my depression and anxiety. It was a good thing to realize my own mental health issues, but did anything change?

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A Look at Mental Health During Men’s Health Week

As I’ve leaned more into the mental health space and got to know people in the community, I’ve recognized subtle differences and undertones when certain people discuss mental health. I’ve also recognized less subtle differences in part of this discussion, and that usually involves how men talk about mental health. I can’t understand some of the nuances and differences of mental health outside of my own cishet male experience, but by looking at statistics and data alone, something is clear: men need help with mental health just as much as any group of people.

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