What High Functioning Depression Feels L... - October Health

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What High Functioning Depression Feels Like

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High functioning depression is a mental health condition that may not always be easy to identify. Often, individuals with high functioning depression are able to maintain a facade of normality and competence in their daily lives, despite experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness. In this blog post, we will delve into the signs, symptoms, and complexities of high functioning depression, and explore how to recognize and address this condition in the workplace.

Signs and Symptoms

People experiencing high functioning depression may present with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Masking Emotions: Individuals with high functioning depression often camouflage their inner struggles behind a facade of productivity, cheerfulness, and functionality. They may appear successful and capable on the surface, while internalizing feelings of worthlessness and despair.

  • Persistent Fatigue: Despite appearing to excel in their professional roles, individuals with high functioning depression experience chronic fatigue and a lack of motivation, making it challenging to sustain their outward performance.

  • Perfectionism: Some individuals with high functioning depression may hold themselves to unrealistically high standards and feel a constant need to excel in their work, leading to excessive self-criticism and heightened stress levels.

  • Isolation: While they may excel in their professional responsibilities, individuals with high functioning depression may withdraw from social interactions and struggle to seek support or connect with others on a personal level.

Recognizing Complexities

High functioning depression can be challenging to detect due to the paradoxical nature of the condition. The ability to function effectively in the workplace while experiencing emotional distress can create a misleading impression of well-being. Moreover, the stigma surrounding mental health in professional environments may contribute to individuals concealing their struggles, further complicating the detection of high functioning depression.

Addressing the Condition in the Workplace

As an employer, it is essential to foster a supportive and empathetic work culture that prioritizes mental health. Providing accessible resources, such as digital group sessions, assessments, and educational content about mental health through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) like October, can facilitate early identification and support for employees experiencing high functioning depression. Additionally, promoting open discussions about mental health and normalizing help-seeking behaviors can encourage individuals to seek the assistance they need.


High functioning depression presents unique challenges in its recognition and management. By understanding the signs, complexities, and impact of high functioning depression, employers and employees can work together to create a workplace environment that values mental well-being and offers the necessary support. Through awareness, education, and accessible resources, we can foster a workplace culture where individuals feel empowered to seek help and receive the support they deserve.

Would you like to learn more about how October can support employees dealing with high functioning depression in the workplace?

Head over to the Live Forest now or browse more Archived Forest content in the library.

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Disclaimer: The creation of this content was assisted by an artificial intelligence (AI) technology powered by the October Companion. While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and reliability, we cannot guarantee that it’s error-free or suitable for your intended use. The information provided is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. We recommend that you consult with a qualified professional for guidance specific to your individual circumstances. We do not accept any liability for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on the information provided in this content.