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H - High-Functioning

*Trigger warning: mentions of self-harm and suicidality

High-functioning. I hate that term. I am diagnosed with a laundry list of mental issues, and in each and every one I am considered high-functioning.

High-functioning is a label that describes how well you can perform to societal expectations; it does nothing to measure the level of suffering you endure.

I get it. I am able to raise my child. I am able to work. I am able to (sort of) maintain relationships. What the label doesn't capture is how hard it is to keep up with my son's school work. How often I have to call out sick for mental health. My tendency to self-isolate until someone reaches out to me. The nights I spend in a downward spiral because I've convinced myself I am worthless and unlovable.

It doesn't take into account the scars on my arms. They're thin and faint, so they don't matter. It doesn't cover my terrible memory. It doesn't consider the amount of time I spend not knowing who I am or whether I'm real. Whether the world is real. It doesn't account for the days I spend unable to slow down, anxiety so high I want to scratch my skin off.

There's no consideration for the mornings I wake up with puffy eyes because I spent the night crying. For the utter exhaustion I experience everyday. The flashbacks that plague my mind. The amount of times it feels like there's an actual hole in my chest. How everyday I pray for my mind to just function normally. The vertigo and nausea I get because I've spent hours rapid-switching.

I never know what kind of day I'm going to wake up to. Is it going to be filled with unchecked energy buzzing under my skin? Is every sound going to feel like nails on a chalkboard? Are my thoughts going to be so fast I can't keep up? Or am I going to be battling depression so strong that it takes everything in me not to just end it all? Will I be agonizing over every message I send and word I say, wondering if this is the moment the other person gets sick of me? Will I question if any of my efforts are worth it? If I'm worth it? Will I be able to actually accomplish something, or will I lay on the couch screaming at my brain to do something, anything?

But at the end of the day I almost always shower. I do my job. I eventually do chores. My child is always fed. I get out of bed. I can put on a rather pretty facade. So I'm high-functioning. It doesn't matter how much I'm breaking inside. As long as I can abide by societal standards, my internal suffering is ignored.


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