Depression doesn’t have a face. My name is Margo, and I have high-functioning depression and anxiety.
What does high-functioning depression and anxiety mean? It means that every day I function.
It means I still get out of bed in the morning, even when I am unbelievably down. Instead of staying in bed and not showering/shutting the world out, I do the exact opposite. Anything to keep my mind busy to not have to deal with issues. I enjoy being busy and sometimes don’t even realize that I’m doing it to avoid problems because I don’t always keep busy to avoid reality. I do it because I enjoy what I do. Oftentimes, I am a happy person, but my happiness doesn’t sustain. I am always wanting to do better to the point that nothing is ever good enough.
Some of you who are reading this know old Margo. They know the kid who went through so much BS that my new friends wouldn’t even understand. My new friends know the Margo who does everything with grace. In any case, Old Margo and New Margo are two totally opposite people. Complete strangers. I would not hang out with my old self if I met her somewhere, and that’s a hard truth.
Sometimes this confuses both myself and others. I can typically suppress the less-than-perfect version of me, but she tends to resurface from time to time now that I moved back to Albuquerque. I cannot drive down Coors Blvd without having a plethora of emotions come over me. Because I am taken back to different times in my life in the flash of a second, times that I am not that proud of. It’s kind of like on the popular tv series, “This is Us.” If you haven’t seen the show, the characters often jump from childhood to current times and in between at any given moment. All these old memories of the old me sent me spiraling into high-functioning depression and anxiety after my move.
I felt like I was trapped in this weird prison or purgatory.
Instead of dealing with my feelings, I typically shut out emotions. I did this for 10 years while living in different states. However, after returning, so many emotions and past upsets came flooding back. I was unsure of how to deal with it. There was a month of depression/anxiety that occurred. Usually, I can pull myself out of a funk within a week or so. This time I could not. I halfway blame it on winter and wind. I can do cold, but not windy cold. My bones and teeth hurt which makes me miserable. Insert seasonal depression.
So many people think I have my life all the way together and never have any trials.
Girlfriends, this could not be any more damaging to one’s mental health. Do not scroll through social media and think anyone has it better than you. We all share our highlights. I try to keep it real as often as possible, but people see the smiles, they see the successes. They don’t see the work in between. And they don’t see the past hurts. They don’t see the many friends who have passed away. The long nights, terrible choices, things we witnessed that kids shouldn’t see, etc.
I have good news. The good news is that I am doing better.
I started this blog post in the middle of a hard season with my high-functioning depression and anxiety. It was pretty hard to finish the post because I’m doing well right now. But here are the ways I help myself each time I am derailed.
- Church. I love my church family so much, however, with back-to-back sicknesses and some Sunday work, I missed three weeks. I knew I had to return, ASAP.
- Sunshine. There were a few “warm” days. So we went outside. My husband saw that I wasn’t getting better like I normally do, so he said, “Get up, we are going for a family walk.”
- Lots of worship music. Lauren Daigle is my girl. Her hit song You Say was on repeat almost all day every day when at home.
- Exercise. Exercise always works.
- Talk about it. Therapy isn’t a bad thing. Venting isn’t a bad thing.
- Surround yourself with people who help pull you up when you are drowning.
There is hope for high-functioning anxiety and depression. I was depressed for a lot of reasons. But many of those reasons were because I stopped doing what I always do. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. Do not let this be you. If you see yourself slipping, remind yourself that you are a beautiful gift and you can do anything.
If you have coping skills, don’t throw them out the window. And if you don’t have coping skills, find a therapist who can help you. Perhaps even medication may be the right thing for you. You are strong, you are fierce, and you are incredible. I am proud of you.
Originally published February 2020.
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