high functioning? please explain…
Lady…what is this “high functioning” BS you’re talking about!?
Alright folks, I’m here to break down what I mean by “high functioning” so we are all on the same page.
The dictionary description for ‘high functioning’ is: to perform or operate at a high level.
The term ‘high functioning’ also gets used when speaking about individuals who may live successful, full lives WITH a mental health challenge. Some individuals in this group can be SO extremely talented at being highly functional that you would never ever know they were struggling, suffering, or even just stressed the f out.
The surface looks calm, but there is a tornado of emotions very alive inside of them.
Being high functioning is a double-edged sword. You may judge your feelings as not “bad” enough to say anything, but not “good” enough to ignore completely.
…Like a screeching, high-pitched smoke detector beep keeping you up in the middle of the night, but you’re too damn worried that if you get up to shut it off you’ll never go back to sleep. The irony!
So, we go about our business ignoring the chatter and feelings of blur or panic…and suck it up!
We sit and laugh at the lunch table, present an epic presentation in that meeting, or attend the evening mixer…all while holding a buzzing ball of emotion in the bottom of our stomach, tightness in our chest and tension in our sweaty sweaty palms. Feeling like we could explode at any moment and feeling completely scared and alone in our invisibility.
Sometimes we overcompensate to prove to everyone (mostly ourselves) that we are “just fine”.
“Look at what you’re achieving!”.
“You should feel grateful for all that you have, you horrible person”.
You’re so good at hiding and rejecting any overwhelm, or pain or stress, that sometimes you don’t even believe it truly exists yourself.
High functioning can be an isolating and alienating existence. And shame breeds in isolation. The secrecy of our private inner world plunges us down further into a darkening spiral.
This is exactly why talking about mental health is SO therapeutic and healing. Expressing your feelings releases that shit out of your body and mind. Feelings are like food people…they are supposed to pass through us!
When we share our experience we will quickly learn that one in four people around us have actually experienced something similar. Relating builds connection. Connection builds confidence. Confidence increases action. Action builds our sense of identity.
And suddenly you’re a bad-ass authentic dude, doing your thang, rocking your vibe…BECAUSE you’ve faced your experience head on. NOT despite of it.
Hope that answers that! Now, lets start connecting…