Being told I was “High Functioning” felt almost like questioning the severity of my mental illness. Bitter taste left in my mouth. Felt like more judgement. I have some thoughts pent-up since this conversation so:
Release the thoughts!:
What is “High Functioning?”
Well according to the dictionary it’s this: http://www.dictionary.com
- performing or operating at a high level (frequently used in the context of developmental disorders).“high-functioning autistic children”
But how does one really tell if someone is “High Functioning?” And did you know being “High Functioning” can be a seriously bad thing even though it sounds nice? I’ll be so functional you might not notice the downward spiral or the cries for help. Often its those of us “Highly Functioning” that go unnoticed as we appear fine. That’s scary.
If you see me on any of my few “good days” you’ll see a productive, somewhat active woman. I cook, bake and clean (stress releases for me). I’m smiling so you won’t know I’m going through anything. I would certainly never let on there was an issue. So you catch me in this brief passing moment, OK I appear I’m “high functioning.” But appearances are deceiving especially among us who hide our truths.
But what about my “bad days?” The more often than not days. When I’m exhausted from night terrors so I wake feeling abused all over, sad and hopeless. Making every excuse to just stay inside, in bed hidden under blankets and when I do stay and I do, I’ll sleep for 12 hours. I call in sick and lose jobs. How about when I’m hysterically bawling in the bathtub playing music loudly to drown it out so nobody hears. Or when I’m fighting the urge to live anymore. Not so “High Functioning” on those days. And those ARE most days!
I would honestly describe myself more as a “Forcefully Functional” person. I have responsibilities I have a family to take care of. I’ve been a mother since 18 years old, 3 kids by 24 years old. I’ve had responsibilities, I had to mature quickly, hard to do when you’ve never been shown how?
I was chosen to nurture and love 3 amazing kids and they need a mother that gets out of bed. They should have the sports teams-parent-teacher conference-Christmas concert-fundraising fully- involved Mom. I don’t feel this is an option. I’m challenged by my own childhood to give my kids better.
And I push through all my mess and that’s hard though it’s really freaking hard , I’m a broken little girl inside. I’m learning as I go.
So yes “Forcefully Functional!”
Set Free The Label: “High Functioning” or not, Be blessed to just function at all:
And there’s a stigma with the word ‘s “High Functioning”. Somehow being “High Functioning” makes one less mentally ill. That sounds outlandish, right?
I mean let’s be real, no matter the illness you suffer from and are trying to live with and recover from nobody is fully functioning at any given moment. It’s a label. And Hell we DO NOT need more labels. More stigmas, even amount ourselves (those like I who suffer). So I say let’s take the labels off and just be who we are.
Who we really are:
Messy, broken, immature, hopeless, sick, amazingly talented,helping, selfless, loving, survivors! Our very special selves!!
We need no labels more than what we already give ourselves!!
. Jennifer Hope
About Jennifer Hope
I am a wife and mother of 3 that has battled mental illness my whole life. With a recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality disorder I am writing and talking about what it means to live with mental illness and specifically my own and to be diagnosed (finally) later life.