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Therapist reveals seven signs that YOU have high-functioning depression – and why it’s harder to detect

A licensed therapist has revealed the seven signs of high-functioning depression, from constant exhaustion to persistent self-criticism.

Jeffrey Meltzer, 29, from Florida, has more than 126,000 followers on TikTok, where he raises awareness for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and narcissistic personality disorder.

The content creator known as @therapietothepointrecently went viral after counting the most common symptoms of high-functioning depression.

The term is often used to describe someone who appears to act “normally” and can continue to fulfill their daily responsibilities while privately struggling with depression, although it is not a clinical diagnosis.

Therapist Jeffrey Meltzer, 29, from Florida, went viral on TikTok after counting down the seven symptoms of high-functioning depression

The term is often used to describe someone who keeps up with their daily responsibilities while privately battling depression, but it is not an official diagnosis (stock image)

The term is often used to describe someone who keeps up with their daily responsibilities while privately battling depression, but it is not an official diagnosis (stock image)

It is sometimes confused with persistent depressive disorder (PPD), which is mild to moderate chronic depression, according to the paper Cleveland Clinic.

Meltzer said a common sign of high-functioning depression is “wearing a mask” to hide your internal mental health issues.

Seven signs of high-functioning depression

  1. A ‘mask’ of normality
  2. Endless exhaustion
  3. Numbing habits
  4. Small irritations are big triggers
  5. Persistent self-criticism
  6. Lost pleasures
  7. Social abstinence

‘You take care of important things, work, school, bills. Everything seems normal on the outside, but inside you feel empty and numb,” he explained.

Another sign the therapist pointed out is “endless exhaustion,” a common symptom of depression in general.

“No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to be low on energy,” he said. ‘It feels like an endless battle and it can be completely exhausting. This can leave you feeling helpless, as if you will never find energy again.’

Meltzer noted that if you struggle with high-functioning depression, you may be drawn to “numbing habits,” including mindlessly scrolling through social media, eating junk food and playing video games for hours.

“This behavior may be your way of numbing your feelings of emptiness,” he said.

The therapist explained that this may coincide with a loss of pleasure in the activities that used to bring you joy.

“It’s like the color has faded from the things that used to illuminate you,” he said.

Meltzer advised that you should also watch out for cases where “small irritations become big triggers.”

Meltzer explained that a common sign of high-functioning depression is

Meltzer explained that a common sign of high-functioning depression is

Meltzer explained that a common sign of high-functioning depression is “wearing a mask” to hide your mental health issues, and you may have “numbing habits” or be self-critical.

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The therapist's video has been viewed 7.9 million times and received more than 5,000 comments.  Many people reported having most or all of the symptoms

The therapist’s video has been viewed 7.9 million times and received more than 5,000 comments. Many people reported having most or all of the symptoms

“Negative events reinforce the belief that you are not enough,” he said. “It’s a slippery slope because even the smallest setbacks can be extremely overwhelming.”

The expert added that another sign of high-functioning depression is “persistent self-criticism.”

“You become your own worst critic and you find it hard to give yourself a break,” he said. ‘Every mistake feels like a personal failure.’

Finally, Meltzer explained that “isolating yourself from your friends and family” can also be a sign of high-functioning depression.

The therapist’s video has been viewed 7.9 million times and has received more than 5,000 comments since it was posted a few months ago.

Many commenters said they had most or all of the symptoms.

“Does it go away at some point?” someone asked. “I’m not sure how long I can keep up the ‘high functioning’ part…”

“(Number six) is how my (doctor) diagnosed me,” another added. ‘I never found myself depressed, but endlessly exhausted. (Antidepressant) Wellbutrin changed my life.”

Others couldn’t help but joke about the fact that all seven of them showed signs of high-functioning depression.

“Wow, I haven’t passed a test 100% in a long time,” one user replied.

‘This is the first test I ever passed! Oh…’ someone else commented.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, you can reach Samaritans NYC at 212-673-3000 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.

For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988 or click here.