Am I high functioning? ;mental health related

This is an odd concept to me and never thought I would publicly be writing about this online but here I am. (Heck, I never thought I would ever talk about my mental health on any platform)

I suffer with mental illness, that is not unknown on my blog, it often changes from severe to mild, but even in my severe stages I have mostly been able to carry on with day to day life. Despite often feeling suicidal, I am still studying a degree, and also working part time. As I am able to do these things, does that make my illness less severe, not even a problem? or is this what high functioning means; has a moderate mental illness but can still function in day2day life?

It is common for those who often feel intense suicidal thoughts/or self harm to have been hospitalized/ gone to the emergency department / inpatient or even sectioned. I have never experienced any of these as I refuse to ,I simply do not want anyone to know. I have survived all this time so I must be ok? Does this make my mental health invalid?

Just to clarify, I haven’t self harmed/ cut myself in 5 years, that is a long time! And I shall never do so again. This is no longer a risk for me. I do still get intense intrusive thoughts of ending my life, and so far have not acted on them/plan to. This doesn’t mean I do not struggle with suicidal ideation. I still have to work immensely hard to get through them and is often the time when I think; do I need support? My biggest comfort is knowing that these thoughts are only temporary.

I am in a well enough place to know my thoughts/illness are illogical, and it’s more of a 2 sided argument. The logical and illogical parts of my brain arguing.

Suicidal intrusive thoughts can be deliberating, and they were for me. But now I am mostly able to carry on with life at the same time as they occur. I had to leave my education when I was a teen to focus on my mental health. Now education is the opposite for me. It’s a distraction and I really enjoy it. My part time job is also a good distraction without too much stress, once I leave a day of work, I don’t have to bring it home with me, which is currently a really good area for me to be in as I’m also doing a degree.

Am I high functioning?

I’m trying to just write my blogs as they spill out of my brain, not reading through/correcting/changing. Just writing authentically. I’m not sure if this is a good idea, or to stick to structured/ to the point posts?


  1. I’m not a fan of the term high functioning. For one, it’s not a psychiatric term so there’s no formal definition of what exactly high functioning is. Also, for most people their level of overall functioning varies over time depending on the current severity of symptoms. And when it comes to suicidality, I would argue that a higher degree of functioning can actually make it easier for someone to come up with a suicide plan and means.

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  2. I am hella high functioning. The last psychologist I saw (Who decided I was not a good fit as a patient) was amazed that I was functioning at the level I was. I have some more serious diagnoses and she was “amazed that I wasnt living in a group home or something equivalent to that.” I wish high functioning people were taken as seriously as those who are really debilitated by their disorders and illnesses.

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  3. High functioning individuals mask their problems easily. They fool others and themselves sometimes into thinking they are “normal”. It’s not that hard because most people see only what they expect and nothing else. Addicts who show up to work every day and do their job can carry on for years and even to retirement without co-workers suspecting a thing. And if they do suspect, they ignore it because as long as it’s not affecting them, most people will mind their own business.

    High functioning is also a tricky term. Because one appears to manage one’s life on the outside doesn’t mean one can manage one’s life on the inside. Unfortunately, the outside seems to be what concerns public health care available for mental health.

    Something I learned recently: everyone has moments when they believe they’d be better off dead. The thoughts are completely normal. They become a concern when they increase, take over or when we start plotting. Nothing wrong with a little vigilance here.

    Kudos to you for getting things done. Just remember to leave time to take care of yourself too. You are your biggest priority, your most important person, and your greatest resource.

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  4. I like these kinds of posts because they’re great for starting conversation. High functioning is hard to describe because I don’t think there’s a solid definition for it. But from what you’ve written it sounds like you’re in a really good place and I hope things stay that way for you.

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  5. I’m “High Functioning” also, accepting the term, as I work really hard for my health insurance, and go to work every scheduled day. How I manage to do this sometimes is a mystery, but I keep on trying, thinking that they ought to fire me for not being good enough. Hoping that this mindset can change, and taking every day like it’s a new one, each day. Wishing you hope and will be having faith in our healing. Thank you for this conversation. It’s an important one! #MentalHealthMatters

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  6. Although I do not know you I am proud of you for sharing this area of your life publicly. I believe it can only help others with similar issues to know they are not alone. I hope if the time ever comes that you do need help managing things, you don’t let fear or embarrassment stop you from seeking it. Continue to share your thoughts, whatever they may be, and let your readers assure you that you also are not alone.

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  7. I have been described as high functioning by my RC but my inner world is difficult. It can fluctuate. I needing prompting to wash and eat at one point. A lot of it has to do with what meds the person is on too. If you’re sedated the ability to function can drop.

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  8. I’m no psychiatrist but it does sound like you’re a “High Functioning”. But Just because you’re able to do normal daily things, it does not make your illness any less valid. All illnesses have different levels of severity to it but just because someone has mild depression it doesn’t mean that it’s not important. I would love to hear more mental health related things from you 😊

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