High-Functioning: True Or False

By O'Connor Professional Group

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The myth of the ‘high-functioning’ individual who is living with a behavioral health disorder is practically legendary. People mask their mental health struggles with all the appearances of a ‘normal’ and ‘successful’ life. Though their accomplishments may be great, their quality of life is what truly struggles as they live in a mode of operation tainted by their behavioral health struggles.

True or false: you can have a high-functioning mood disorder

You might hear the term “high functioning depression” or “high functioning anxiety”. People live with debilitating and difficult symptoms of mood disorders like depression and anxiety on a daily basis. There are some individuals who are able to maintain all semblance of a ‘normal life’ on the outside, to outsiders. In their work life, in their social life, in their gym life, in all of their life where other people are ‘watching’ there might not be the slightest hint of any kind of depression or anxiety. In the car, in the privacy of a bathroom stall, behind the closed door of an office, or once finally at home, all of that may look incredibly different. Inside, they are suffering. At home, their lives are directed by an unending well of pain and frustration. Their lives are in order, but also in disarray.

True or false: high-functioning disorders are actually high-functioning

The ‘high-functioning’ label meets its greatest controversy when it is applied to substance addictions. Can someone, who is repeatedly relying on the consumption and abuse of mind altering substances, truly be living their lives in a ‘high-functioning’ way? The answer most often is unequivocally: no. People can continue to function in their disorders, until they cannot anymore. The delusion of being a high functioning individual can be a dangerous one. Having “life together” can be a deterrent to seeking the treatment needed, or staying in treatment as long as needed once there. “It isn’t that bad”, they might say, or, “I do just fine”. What treatment professionals and therapists often offer is the insight that being “high functioning” while living with the difficult symptoms of behavioral health issues is not really living but surviving. Surviving is possible. People stay in a state of survival their entire lives. Thriving, however, and truly living, is also possible. That doesn’t require “high-functioning” skill sets. Living well, and living healthily requires healing.

Healing should be your primary focus. Let the team at O’Connor Professional Group help you by taking care of the details from treatment planning to aftercare, monitoring programs to executive coaching and beyond. Call us today for information: (617) 910-3940.

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