High Functioning Depression I’m Good

I'm Good“How are you doing?”


“I’ve noticed a change recently.”

“I’m good”.

This is a rather typical response from those who seem to be functioning just fine. They go to work or school consistently, join in on social outings and appear to be successful in their accomplishments. They may use things like exercise, hobbies, substance use, or sex to cope.

At first glance, you see smiling.

Looking deeper, beyond the surface, one is internally struggling.

The struggle is silent.

The pain is well-masked.

Friends or family may not believe you are feeling depressed.

You may not be willing to admit it yourself that you are “not good.” The thought of seeing a therapist might seem like the last thing you would do, even though you have seriously considered it.

After all, you get up each day. You shower. Get dressed. Eat. Exercise. Take care of business. Pay your bills and take care of responsibilities.

You tell yourself and others that you are good, despite not really feeling happy.


While high-functioning depression is not a clinical diagnosis, the phrase is used to describe those with symptoms of depression that are more persistent but less severe (presently more than two years in adults), as in persistent-depressive-disorder (also known as dysthymic-disorder). Symptoms include depressed mood along with two or more of the following symptoms– fatigue, eating or sleeping more/ less, feeling of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and difficulty concentrating.

What comes to mind when you think of someone who is depressed?

  • Difficulty getting out of bed to where one is struggling to maintain hygiene and daily living responsibilities?
  • Frequently crying/ withdrawing from family and friends?

These descriptions are more representative of major depression, which is one of many depression-types.

High-functioning depression has some similar symptoms of major-depression that do not meet the clinical criteria but are still enough to where it would be beneficial to get support by talking with a therapist.

It is OK to not be OK, even if you are “good.”

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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