Silent Signs that Point to High-Functioning Depression

Depression, like any other illness, can have many forms. While the image of an individual tucked in the corner of a dark room, crying as sad music charges the air with a vibe of hopelessness is the most common reference, it is not the only depiction of the illness.

High-functioning depression, or dysthymia, looks nothing like other versions of the disorder. Think happy and put together on the outside while slowly crumbling away on the inside.

High-functioning depression can be found in the workspace and even in students with bright futures. It lurks around with little knowledge to anyone around, and oftentimes, to the person themselves, making it almost impossible to conquer. The signs of high-functioning depression are not hard to decode but usually shrugged off as personality traits, forcing individuals to live life with this burden.

The following is a list of signs that might indicate high-functioning depression.

Anhedonia (The Inability to Experience Joy)

Most of the early signs of depression include a disinterest in activities that once brought you joy. If you were once passionate about reading but can’t make it through a few pages of a book you know you love, it might be your mind’s way of getting your attention.

Likewise, feelings of constant sadness—especially when there is no reason or cause for it—can also be a signal of something bigger.


Everyone gets annoyed every once in a while, but high-functioning depression might lead individuals to blow up over the silliest things. Short tempers and excessive anger—especially when constant and reoccurring—should be watched out for.

Chronic Guilt and Worry

It’s important to weigh out the pros and cons before making decisions, but when it becomes excessive, it can get in the way of life. Always worrying about whether you chose the right career path, or guilt over the excessive amount of student loans you’ve taken out adds a whole dimension of anxiety to one’s day-to-day, and can truly become debilitating.  

Feeling of Wasting Time

Just like guilt and worry, the fear of wasting time can also take a toll on both physical and mental health. It’s one thing to make the most of every day, but high-functioning depression causes individuals to feel hopeless and unproductive, even when they’ve accomplished a lot. This can lead to an internal feeling of worthlessness while others in the workroom or class might simultaneously praise them for their good work.


Feelings of guilt and worthlessness lead individuals to fall into a pit of self-destruction. High-function depression goes beyond being one’s worst critic. Despite putting in the needed effort to complete a project successfully, they always perceive themselves as falling short. A 98% on a test is not good enough. Good feedback is not good feedback because it is not great feedback.

This is why individuals with high-functioning depression tend to be overachievers and perfectionists.


Depressive disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders occurring in adulthood. Symptoms include but are not limited to changes in weight and appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and reoccurring thoughts of suicide and death.

If you or anyone you know suffers from any of the symptoms in the article, please know that help is available. Reach out to a friend, a family member or a medical professional. You don’t have to struggle and you are not alone.

There’s always a solution and there’s always hope. 

[Feature image by Pexels]