Having a Psychological Condition: What It Means When You’re ‘High-Functioning’

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Having a Psychological Condition: What It Means When You're 'High-Functioning'

Living with a mental health disorder is hard. Aside from all the rough parts, you need to deal with the real world. Not everyone is understanding. Life keeps going despite your troubles. You’re expected to either be isolated from society or ignore your symptoms if you’re still ‘capable’. These are some of the common stages you go through when you’re high-functioning:

Keeping Up

“You seem fine. Maybe you should go out more.” You’ve probably heard something similar to this before. You open up, then, they tell you that you look okay and you can fix whatever feels wrong. You might have even believed them. After all, it’s not easy making a stand in front of unaware people, especially if they are your loved ones. Instead of arguing, you’d rather show them how normal you are. You hide away your struggles so you lead them to think they are right. You also don’t want to be seen as an entitled person who complains while others suffer from more serious medical conditions (although yours is as significant). 


You become so good at playing your role that you’re almost convinced sometimes. Daily activities like studying, hanging out with friends, working, and household chores, steal your attention. You’re so focused on running until your mind drags you down. Suddenly, triggers remind you. You lose control. You watch yourself fall, wondering why you let it happen to you.


You try to stay strong behind a smile. You wear your mask as you wait for them to understand. If nothing happens, you’ll just keep on performing. Until when? You start thinking there might be no end. You force yourself to believe it’s not a big deal because you’ve already gotten used to it. You’re the sole witness of your distress. You don’t want anyone else to worry or patronize you, so you go through it all on your own.


After some time and reflection, you finally embrace your condition. Yes, you will always experience pain, but you realize you don’t have to let that dominate your life. You neither have to be a victim, nor be a hero. Being yourself is what truly matters. You no longer need to keep quiet about your battles. Regardless if you’re understood or not, you choose to be transparent. You decide that carrying on with love and forgiveness is better than pretense.

‘High-functioning’ is a mere adjective used by those who want to make sense of something so complex–living with a mental health condition as a seemingly regular person. Everyone has different symptoms and experiences. Each case is unique. Only positive, honest words should define you. Even medical terms can’t dictate your heart if you don’t allow them. You can be happy and hopeful in spite of your disadvantages. You are capable and enough, meaning you can do a lot but you don’t really have to. There’s nothing for you to prove. You’re important and deserving of much love just as you are.

Can you relate? Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear them!

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Written by Hannah


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