Despite High Functioning, I’m Depressed
Throughout childhood, we are often prompted and prepared for adulthood, only to finally arrive and realize that it is not all that it is cracked up to be in more ways than one. I am writing this blog to discuss how the transition into adulthood can be discouraging and downright depressing. Throughout childhood, we have these milestone markers on the road to adulthood; we may dream, fanaticize and plan for what we think adulthood will be. However, after we graduate from college or turn 21 years old, there may be a plateau period where we find ourselves going through the motions. During this time, we may question our worth, find fault in some of our foundational principles, and question our identity.
Some of the milestone markers we look forward to could be:
1. Going off to college: We go to college and fail our first class; this is when the reality sets in that our old best is simply not good enough anymore– this new reality can be incredibly overwhelming.
2. Moving into our first place: We move into our first apartment, knowing that we can afford rent. However, we don't comprehend the other aspects of life (i.e., leisure activities, household essentials, and maintaining healthy finances).
3. Our first intimate relationship after high school: The shift in relationships after high school will require a different level of effort. The reality of day-to-day life may make life a bit more complicated, and priorities shift.
4. Even landing our first job post-graduating college: Even landing the first job after college, up until this point, we were told that earning the degree was what we needed. However, the first salary doesn't afford our anticipated lifestyle for many of us.
Being in the place where the dreams did not pan out the way we hoped for can hurt and leave us blaming ourselves or being depressed.
Depression-like many other mental illnesses and disorders, is on a spectrum from high to low functioning. On the surface, it is easier to identify those that are low functioning, with little attention given to those that are high functioning. High functioning depression, on the surface, looks like a person going to work, engaging with their social circles to a degree, and in some ways managing themselves in undetected ways. These people may be operating publicly from a place of survival, literally going through the actual motions of everyday life but feeling nothing. These people will endure and silently suffer. Although these feelings of depression can be confusing and even difficult, hope and support are available. In some ways, when these harsh realities of life come, we experience a form of grief. We grieve what we thought we knew, what we expected, and the time that we held so tightly to the once-coveted dreams of our best life.
The transition into adulthood is truly a whirlwind of emotions, experiences, and realizations, none of which we may be genuinely able to prepare ourselves for adequately. First and foremost, I would like to offer folks the notion that this adjustment period is expected. Although this adjustment period will have highs and lows, with surprises, the thing to remember is that you will make it through it just as you have all others. The second offering I give to folks in this adjustment period is to be compassionate with yourselves. During this period of tremendous change, it's very easy to become firmly attached to the ideas and beliefs that we can miss opportunities because we are operating from a fear-based approach. My third offering for folks is that nobody has it all figured out; even the most successful-looking people don't have it all figured out. It takes creating a goal, developing a plan/action steps, and then being flexible enough to adjust as many times as necessary to reach the goal. Then, with the required adjustments, support, and ability to dream again, you can live the life you deserve and imagined.
At this point of this blog, you may find yourself relating to some of the feelings or experiences discussed either directly or indirectly; I would invite you to reach out to me. Reaching out for help can be discouraging, but the act within itself is a courageous act that can help equip you with tools to better help manage the trials, tribulations and transitions of life. Healing is not a destination but a journey and the process truly begins with taking one step forward at a time. If you have any further questions or find interest in setting up a consultation appointment, please feel free to email me: Jordan@reconnectmfc.com