High-Functioning Mental Illness Makes me feel exhausted

Having what is considered “high-functioning” mental illness is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can usually make it through your day without anyone even realizing you’re struggling. On the other hand, you may not be getting the treatment or support you need. (By the way, we use the term “high-functioning” lightly – it is not an official diagnosis but one that many identify with to describe their experience.) Similar to myself.

Most of the time, the people I love are not aware of how much I am struggling. They see me achieving, they see me living, and they figure I am OK. I have an active sense of humor and tend to minimize my fight. People assume I’m managing just fine.

Being high-functioning is sometimes a gift, and it allows me to be a productive adult. However, it comes at a cost too because fighting to remain functioning drains me. Living with mental illness is often tiring, no matter what the situation is. It can also be particularly exhausting when you have to pretend you’re doing just fine.

I’ve honestly learned over time that being ‘high-functioning’ does not make my disorders or battles any less overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like I’m swimming in the ocean, caught in a riptide and getting pulled in over my head all the while fighting with every ounce of strength to reach the surface for a breath of air. It is a constant struggle to keep my battles from drowning me or pulling me under.”

If you are fighting to keep your head above the water, just know we’re in It together.

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