La differenza tra essere “a mille” ed essere felici

essere-felici

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Vi siete mai chiesti cosa significa “essere felici” ? Io credo di averlo compreso appieno solo dopo aver appreso la storia di Jen: una ragazza di successo, super impegnata ed efficiente nel suo lavoro. Jen ultimamente è felice non tanto per l’andamento positivo della sua carriera quanto per i progressi sul suo benessere psicologico. Li ha ottenuti grazie a un percorso di consulenza on line, compiuto passo a passo nei ritagli di tempo della sua fitta routine.

Gli amici di Jen sono sorpresi dal motivo di questa sua felicità: una come lei non ha certo bisogno di supporto psicologico! Quante persone, come lei, sono viste dall’esterno come il ritratto dell’ “essere felici” perché appaiono sempre energiche, attive, impegnate ed efficienti… dobbiamo capire, però, che questo non significa essere felici veramente.

L’ansia ad alto funzionamento

Sei produttivo, organizzato, pianifichi ogni cosa al meglio e nella vita hai successo. Sei il ritratto della calma e dell’autocontrollo. Dentro di te però nascondi un forte perfezionismo, sei spesso in apprensione, temi di deludere gli altri. Perciò ti sovraccarichi di compiti, pur di non dire un “no”.

Sei il primo critico verso te stesso e non appena qualcosa scombina i tuoi piani, provi un forte disagio.

Se ti riconosci in questa descrizione potresti soffrire di ansia ad alto funzionamento, un disturbo psichico che si frappone tra l’essere “a mille” e l’essere felici sul serio.

Un’ansia nascosta

Una persona che vive sempre “a mille” e sull’onda del successo non è detto che sia felice. Potrebbe vivere un disagio interiore che la porta a non godere appieno dei suoi successi, a cercare sempre il miglioramento in maniera compulsiva, ritrovandosi per questo ad essere vittima di ansia e stress.

Si può quindi vivere “a mille” ed essere felici?

Se è vero che una persona che soffre di ansia ad alto funzionamento vive costantemente i disagi della sua condizione, è altrettanto vero che può migliorare la sua salute mentale: con pratiche, esercizi e consulenze mirate con esperti. Questi possono aiutarla non solo a lavorare per rimuovere i meccanismi mentali sbagliati; ma anche ad eliminare i frequenti sensi di colpa, legati al fatto di essere tanto produttivi, quanto eternamente insoddisfatti. A compiere un percorso che li porterà realmente sulla strada per essere felici.

essere-felici

Articolo in collaborazione con il portale MyTherapist.com


English version

The Mental Health Difference Between High-Functioning and “Happy”

Imagine the following scenario: Jen is out with her friends when the discussion turns to how mental health availability has increased over the past few years, which must be great for those that can’t always make in-office appointments. Jen remarks that she was happy to learn that her therapist has online video chat and phone call options that fit better with her schedule since she lives on the other side of town. Hearing this, her friends are surprised, commenting on the fact that they had no idea she went to therapy since she was “an energetic and happy person”. 

“That’s because while I may often be high-functioning,” Jen explains gently, “I’m not always happy and energetic on the inside.” It’s common for friends, family members, and colleagues to see a productive and pleasant person and assume they’re living a pleasant life. However, what many of these individuals don’t consider is the presence of high-functioning mental health disorders. 

What is a High Functioning Mental Health Disorder? 

Having high-functioning depression or anxiety can mean that to a general onlooker, you have your schedule together, a set routine, and a bright personality. However, these traits can actually be fueled by perfectionism, project avoidance, or other compulsive pressures that are symptoms of your mental health condition. While the outward results may look positive to someone who isn’t experiencing your inner thoughts and feelings, the motivator behind those results could be trauma or depression-induced bursts of “productivity”. 

What’s the Difference Between a Happy Person and a High Functioning Person? 

Just like a person with general anxiety disorder or depression can have happy moments and good days, a high-functioning person isn’t necessarily always hiding behind a mask either. The difference for a high-functioning person is that it may be difficult to tell the difference between their good days and bad days. There may be small signals of a “bad” day, like working a little faster or avoiding conversations. 

While a person in a good mood may feel accomplished when they see the results of their hard work, someone with a high-functioning condition could spend their time hovering over minimal tasks and edits, looking for what they think is a better outcome. Instead of finding solace in a completed project, it may increase their stress or anxiety about the completion or review process.

Does High Functioning Mean You’re Never Truly Happy? 

While it’s true that a high-functioning individual may feel a constant presence of their mental health condition, it’s not the case that they can never be “truly happy”. Much like there are ways to function with ADHD or OCD, there are resources and experts available to help you cope with a high-functioning disorder. It’s common to feel like you should be grateful that you can get things done – however, just because you’re productive doesn’t mean you’re not going through a difficult time or chemical imbalance. Using online therapy services, you can speak with a counselor that can help you not only work through your high-functioning condition but work past any guilt about being productive but unhappy. 

Living with a High Functioning Mental Health Disorder

Whether you’ve already found your own healthy system or you’re still looking for professional advice, it’s possible to have a successful and fulfilling life with a high-functioning mental health disorder. Similar to how Jen explained her situation with her friends, talking with a trusted support system about your high-functioning condition can help you build a manageable foundation for both positive and challenging days. Having regular meetings with a mental health professional can also provide you with insights on improving your lifestyle to lessen the effects of a negative situation. Building yourself up isn’t a simple or quick process – with proper guidance and encouragement, though, it can feel more like a manageable shift in your routine.

About the author

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


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