High Functioning … 

What does it mean to be High Functioning? We hear this term “High Functioning” quite a bit when it comes to anxiety, depression, addiction, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD… the list goes on. But what does High Functioning really mean? High Functioning is used to describe a person who appears (to others) to operate at a higher level than someone with the same condition. Someone who, from an outside perspective, operates as if they don’t have any condition at all. 

Who you least expect 

Often we see this term used to describe students with good grades who also have high anxiety or ADHD. Or relating to the employee with high sales but to everyone’s surprise they also abuse alcohol. This shouldn’t be taken as their condition does not affect them. Quite the opposite actually.  Their presentation of symptoms are not as noticable to those around them and thus unfortunately they can fall through the cracks since no one sees their struggles. 

What is important to remember is that just because someone is deemed “High Functioning” does not mean that they suffer with their condition any less. Most do not get to see how the condition really affects them on a day-to-day basis and how much work it takes mentally and physically. Unfortunately many get the label of high functioning based on outsider perspective and how easy they are to be around, rather than how they themselves actually feel. 

Have you ever heard someone say: “Well they don’t look autistic”. “They are the life of the party so they can’t be depressed”. “Your grades are too high to have ADHD”. “They are a joy to have in class.”  Have you heard, or said any of these examples? Do people say them to or about you? 

It catches up with you

When it comes to anxiety, appearing to be High Functioning can be linked to a fear of failure, or the fear letting those around them down. However the constant effort to keep up can often lead to burnout. To learn more about burnout you can follow this link. The constant people-pleasing and bottled up anxieties can take a lot out of a person causing strain and in turn leading to higher rates of burnout in these individuals compared to others with similar conditions. 

A lot of this can boil down to learning how to cope. If stress is bottled up eventually it will boil over. Depending on what you may be struggling with, the answer may be different. Someone with ADHD, will likely face different struggles then someone with OCD, anxiety or PTSD. 

Learning to cope

In general you can find ways to cope through various outlets in your life. You can focus on finding solutions to specific problems and creating plans with actions items. Finding hope through a religious or spiritual outlet can be a powerful thing. Seeking help through therapy is a great step to success, our team has a wide range of specialties and services they offer to help with a large range of stresses and struggles. You can find a breakdown of all our services offered here. If you feel that one of our services would be a good fit for you you can reach out for a free consultation with one of our counselors. 

As much as broad coping mechanisms can be a valuable asset. When it comes to long term solutions in many cases specific skills targeted to you are what is going to give you the long term change. 

Targeted to you

High functioning individuals as stated before are more susceptible to burning out. The struggles and stresses that you may be facing are specific to you. Being in the “high functioning” category can become very isolating very fast. When you feel that you are one shortfall away from falling apart. When everyone is counting on you while simultaneously everything seems impossible. It can soon and quickly feel as though you have nowhere to turn. 

If this is the case West Wellness is here to help. 

We will get you on the path of recovering so that you can feel prepared for the days ahead without fear of unexpected burnout. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *