High Functioning Anxiety and Depression

Hello, friends! After a long and difficult month, I am back and ready to put my thoughts out into the world. Today we're focusing on a topic that is not talked about enough and something that I've had to deal with for the past few months. 

You all know what depression and anxiety are. I've done posts on them and talked about them on my social media for as long as this blog has been in existence. However, there is a side to these disorders that is overlooked and not talk about nearly as much as it should be. 

Depression and anxiety do not look them same for everyone. It manifests differently in everyone, and for me, it's high functioning. This is a term I was not aware of until very recently, and it made everything that I was experiencing make so much more sense.

So, what does high functioning mean?

High functioning anxiety/depression means that someone goes about their day to day lives appearing perfectly okay and healthy, but below the surface, they are experiencing depressive and/or anxious symptoms. They may not even realize they are experiencing these symptoms, which makes high functioning disorders even more dangerous.There are nine types of depression someone can be diagnosed with and six types of anxiety, high functioning being the most difficult to spot and treat. If you are experiencing multiple of the symptoms listed below, you may have high functioning depression and anxiety. Really be honest with yourself when looking over these symptoms and don't try and trick yourself into thinking you are doing perfectly fine. High functioning disorders can lead to episodes of depression or a panic attack, so if you are experiencing these symptoms, please seek help as soon as you can.

Chronic Depression (also known as Dysthymia)

  • low appetite/more appetite than normal
  • low self esteem
  • decreased/increased sleep or irregular sleeping patterns
  • low energy/fatigue
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • lost enthusiasm for life/activities you previously enjoyed
  • episodes of a low or sad feeling for multiple days at a time

High Functioning Anxiety

  • busyness
  • perfectionism
  • constant nervous habits (hair pulling, nail biting, foot tapping)
  • being overly self-critical ("suck it up, you're fine", "you're needy, a bad friend, not good enough, etc.") 
  • constantly looking for something to channel energy into (could be productive, or self destructive)
  • letting work pile up
  • not admitting you are overwhelmed or in need of help
  • constantly over-analyzing everything you say and do, even after the conversation is over

I personally experience both of these, and let me tell you, it is difficult. Wanting to move and get things done, but never having the energy or the will to. Sleeping for hours and hours and feeling horrible about myself for wasting the day, or not sleeping at all and feeling exhausted. CONSTANTLY moving and thinking, never able to feel true peace. Getting distracted by every little thing. Refreshing social media for long periods of time just so I have something to do with my hands and something to focus on. Feeling like there are a million tabs open in my brain, each a different task or worry. Forgetting things that I use almost every day (backpack, keys, phone) because I'm focused on getting where I need to go at all times. Racing thoughts that never, ever cease. Walking at the speed of light, focusing on the next task at hand, never stopping to rest, even if what I'm doing isn't truly productive.

I live in a world of extremes. Nothing has ever been in the middle or a gray area for me. I cannot find balance. I cannot find peace. Because I'm either constantly moving, or not moving at all. Balance does not exist for me, and it's a difficult world to live in.

I know first hand how all of this feels. I've been told that I seem perfectly fine, that I don't sound or look like I'm experiencing these things, and I believed that. But as I did more research, I realized that I do, in fact, experience almost each and every one of these symptoms. I thought I was just weird or that it was part of my personality. But it's not. I've suppressed this so much that it appears part of my day to day life, and I never stopped to think that it might be unusual, or even dangerous.

If you are experiencing this in a similar way, please talk to someone. High functioning disorders are so difficult to catch and can cause detrimental damage to your brain and how you feel about yourself. Talk to your mom or dad. A family member. A friend. Me. Anyone. Know that you are absolutely not alone in experiencing this, and that you will get through it. I promise.

Love, Hannah

Twitter: hannahlaur3
Instagram: hannahlaur3
Email: happyhannahlauren@gmail.com


  1. I never knew this existed, I feel like I fit the high functioning category experiencing all of those symptoms, and always being on the go or not moving dead to the world. I go through those phases several times a week. Do you know any good literature or resources to try and help yourself? I haven't had the best luck with doctors or the medical field at all to be honest.


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