Some people think that depression is all about pushing people away, being lonely, and having suicidal thoughts, and while those are some possible indicators, there’s another side to mental illnesses that isn't as noticeable. If you can do well at work, yet suddenly find it difficult to say yes to invites or feel anxious about social interaction, it's possible that you may be suffering from high-functioning depression.

“People with high-functioning depression still go to work and interact with people, but outside of work, they may stop hanging out with friends, and make excuses like ‘work’s been really stressful,’” says Jason Stamper, MD, a psychiatrist in Pikeville, Kentucky. “They will be somewhat isolative, and this often translates into distance in relationships.” Aside from that, a change in appetite, poor sleep, irritability, and emotional difficulties are also signs that someone may have high-functioning depression.

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According to Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who filed Senate Bill no. 1190, known as the Mental Health Act of 2016, 1 in 5 adult Filipinos suffer from mental or psychiatric disorders. She also shared that the Philippines has the highest number of depressed people in Southeast Asia. But because of the lack of information and resources available, some don't even think to consult a professional for their mental health. Thankfully, the bill was approved by the senate at the second reading, so we’re hoping that it will be successfully enacted into law.

If you think you have high-functioning depression (or suffering from any kind of mental illness), it’s best to see a doctor so that they can help you get through it. Remember, it’s not something you should be ashamed of, and you are most definitely not alone in this.

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If you think you may have depression or know someone with depression, you can contact the Department of Health's 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, Hopeline, 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.

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You may also call Crisis Line for free and anonymous counseling through: (02) 893-7603, 0917-8001123, or 0922-8938944. You can also join SOS Philippines on Facebook, a support group founded for survivors of suicide loss and Filipinos undergoing mental health ailments like depression and bipolar disorder.

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