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Why So Serious? Escaping the Depths of High Functioning Depression: Stories and Tips

Updated: 5 days ago

Well, well, well, thanks for stumbling upon my little corner of the internet. So would you like to know how I managed to crawl out of my pit of despair and high-functioning depression? Buckle up, my friend, because I've got a story to tell. Once consumed by the darkest shadows of my own mind, I managed to claw my way back from depression many times into the light of hope. I've never written about this publicly, so please be cordial and keep it quiet. If you've felt despair you are not alone, so grab a cup of coffee and let's dive in.

joker from dark knight and author matt jones with title saying how I overcame depression and darkness

Some days you feel like you have it all figured out... Some days you're crying while numbing yourself with alcohol to the cruel reality of existence listening to heavy metal music and screaming into a pillow.

My first story

People will love you one day and deceive you the next. This is my story. Sure many of you can relate. Unfortunately, it's happened to me more than once. Am I an idiot I wonder? Why do I give myself so completely to others when they don't do the same? Naivety is a bitch.

But more on nice guy syndrome later....

In 2012 I gave myself to someone completely. I moved 3,000 miles to be with her. I gave up my music career touring the world because I thought I was in love. I was ready to move into the next chapter of my life. To get married, to have children. To my dismay, I couldn't have been further from the truth. I saw the red flags. I knew at some subconscious level I was making a mistake.

However, I chose to believe in love, in hope. Perhaps I watched one too many rom-coms in my life. Within one month of being in a new state, I found out from messages on her phone that she was spending her nights with a doctor while she told me she was out with work friends.

Vindictive and cruel; no modicum of decency with this person whatsoever. I gave up everything for her. I left my friends and my family to be with her in her new dream career. And she stabbed me in the back.

A woman I thought I would one day marry was nothing short of a gold-digging immoral cutthroat narcissistic demon. I was ruined.

Or at least I thought... She did me a favor. I got to figure out early who she really was - saving me time I suppose 🤷‍♂️

I did something I'm not exactly proud of, but I made copies of the messages I found on her phone and sent them to her parents. I wanted them to know the type of daughter they had raised. Also if they asked what happened they would have the truth of what actually happened. These are people I spent a lot of time with. They had

to know. In the end, she never apologized. She only complained to me about how I could send text messages to her parents about her affair. Some people have no clue. She cared more about what others thought about her instead of how badly she betrayed and hurt me. It changed me for a while.

Some people are just too selfish to care about anybody else but themselves. Just the cruellest, most clueless, unkind, utter pathetic excuse for humans in my opinion. I've never cheated on anyone and never will. Have decency and integrity people.

Though I was ruined. Though I had dark thoughts. Though I had nothing but my worldly belongings 3,000 miles from home; something inside me settled.... It was a strange feeling. A voice that said to me, move on. You're better than this. Life is cruel. But life is giving. "Stop your crying. Stop your loathing. Just shutup and get on with it pussy."

So I did....

I went back home. It was a long way to drive 3,000 miles again, but I did it in 2.5 days. When I got home I drank. I cried. I got on with it... Then I got productive. Though I wasn't better, I moved on. Within 1 month I was back on the road traveling the world as a professional musician. I embraced my high-functioning depression like a new partner in life.

What is high-functioning depression?

Well, let me tell you about high-functioning depression... It's fun. It is like trying to swim against a relentless tide while wearing a smile as your disguise. It's a silent struggle that often goes unnoticed by those around you. You wake up each day, go through the motions, and fulfill your responsibilities, all while feeling like you're carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders.

On the outside, everything may seem fine. You show up to work, socialize with friends, and keep up with your daily tasks. But on the inside, it's a different story. There's a constant feeling of emptiness, a sense of numbness that clouds your every thought and action. Despite achieving success in various aspects of your life, you can't shake off the persistent feeling of sadness and hopelessness that lingers beneath the surface.

man sitting on cliff looking at sunset, depression, sad man

At this time I had given up all hope in love. In relationships. I was done. However, I remember telling myself on the 3,000-mile journey home... Reminding myself. No matter what happens to me in the future, I will never allow this deceitful backstabbing narcissist to ruin my future. I will not allow this baggage to disrupt my present as well as my future. I won't give her the satisfaction.. Then she wins twice, right?

Though I wasn't ready to move on just yet. I was ready to get back to work. I embraced my high-functioning depression more and more.

Though I enjoyed my music career, the depression remained. It's like a tumor. You see high functioning depression is characterized by the ability to maintain a facade of normalcy while battling inner turmoil. You may excel in your career, maintain relationships, and participate in social activities, but deep down, you're struggling to keep your head above water. It's exhausting to put on a brave face day after day, pretending that everything is okay when it feels like your world is crumbling from within.

One of the challenges of high-functioning depression is that it often goes unrecognized and untreated. Since you're able to carry on with your daily responsibilities, others may not realize the extent of your internal struggles. You may even convince yourself that what you're experiencing isn't significant enough to seek help.

The darkness continues... Story number 2.

When I was 15, my best friend killed himself. That is a heartache I still feel today. You never get over losing people in life. Sure time passes, but you carry them in your heart always. You move on and you fill your life with new people and new pleasures... We think that we can replace the baggage of the past with more and more bags. But, all we end up with is an emotional cellar of bags. I learned early from James to always look after people and give everything, because you never know what they're going through or what can happen. Be loyal. Be nice. Be forgiving.

This is to give you some backstory. But I digress.....

So here I was coping from a recent heartbreak. I was back in the driver's seat of my life carrying on not looking for love. As most will tell you, that unfortunately is when love seems to find you the most. Perhaps it's the non-attachment appeal to the opposite sex. Perhaps it is the energy of not caring that makes you so desirable. Whatever it is, it happened to me again.

From the times of my best friend dying to my parents divorcing and losing our childhood home, to one ex stealing all of my stuff after I broke up with her, now being cheated on; and managing to get through it all you'd think I would have more self-awareness. However, at this time I was still a bit broken, recovering, and my radar was off. I had no confidence. I was still in people-pleaser mode. I wasn't ready yet. Again, I ignored red flags because someone was accepting me into their life.

Before I continue with my new story however, I must say that it wasn't until much later I realized depression and sadness is something I've struggled with for many years. I never even chatted about it with friends or family. I was raised to work hard and get on with it. I like to think I'm a rock, unmovable and strong. But the truth is there are many cracks. Cracks that are unavoidable and seeping with a vulnerability that I've never been quite comfortable revealing. High-functioning depression affects more people than we're aware of. Many aren't even aware or question themselves, yet live this same existence everyday.


So anyway I met a new girl. I settled down and had a child. I even moved to a new country. I thought I finally did it. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought the darkness of the past was gone. Little did I know my darkest times were not behind me, but ahead of me.

author matt jones side profile, life 2.0 self help brand

After many nice but challenging years together, it finally happened. The big D word, divorce.

I felt like a complete failure and alone. More than that, I was worried about my child. What type of life will he have?

Anyway, I accepted what had happened. I folded up shop and I moved on. To be honest, I think it was best for everyone, so it was easier to accept... And again I blamed myself for much of it because I allowed my nice guy syndrome people pleaser personality to take over for years.... So I got a new place and moved out.

Within two weeks I lost my job.... REALLY UNIVERSE???!

...bring it on..

It was painful. But like a phoenix I rose from the ashes.... But I was completely running on empty. I was in a bad place with no support system around me, no friendly faces to turn to. Luckily in the end with painstaking wherewithal, I came out on top. However, it was by far the most challenging time of my life.

Life is often mysterious. You never know where you'll end up - however not many people find themselves in a position such as myself. It's rather unique. Sometimes it's easy for people to get over breakups. They often lean on the family and friends they grew up with. They go down to the local pub and talk it over. However, I was and still remain 5,000 miles from home. Never have I been more challenged then ever before. Where do I go from here you know?

I too am part of a group of individuals who on their wedding day never imagine they'll be part of the 50% of the people who get divorced. However, shit happens and sometimes you just have to get on with it. Now, I'm not saying I'm cured. However, I'm better. I've gotten help and am working through it. In the meantime, I'm staying single and working on myself.

Finally from my mishaps of the past, I've learned alot about myself. About others. About how I want to move forward. I am finally ready to accept myself. My faults, my idiosyncrasies, myself wholly and completely.

So if I can bring you any help from my story it is this. My tips on coping with high functioning depression.

Tip 1: Embrace the Madness You see, when life throws you a curveball, don't just stand there and take it.

So firstly, embrace the chaos and revel in the madness. Let go of the need for control and let the unpredictable dance of life sweep you off your feet. After all, what's life without a little bit of mayhem? Life is beautiful. Life is also messy. Trying to avoid this truth is like trying to avoid the inevitable truth of the sun rising and setting at night. It's natural.

Take it in. Feel the darkness. Do you feel it? That's emotion. Work through it. That's the beauty of life. A diamond is only formed under rapid pressure, right? So, learn to take the struggle and turn it into something empowering. Do something with it. Don't play the victim. Appreciate it, do something about it, and move on. Life only moves forwards, not backwards, so quit your bitching. It doesn't help you.

Tip 2: Find Your Inner Clown, we all wear masks.

Why so serious? You know sometimes you've got to strip away the layers and find the laughter buried deep within. Connect with your inner clown, the part of you that knows how to turn tragedy into comedy. How to turn tragedy into triumph. In the depths of despair, when you feel there is no hope left, an unexpected light may often appear in a bizarre way.

joker a dark knight pointing at batman, depression, self help blog

Laughter truly is the best medicine, even if it's tinged with a touch of madness. I've grown quite fond of stand up comedy in recent years in a way I've never known before. From Jim Jefferies to Tom Segura to Ricky Gervais. Laughter helps you embrace the silly, hilarious, facts and truth. Comedy is often all about turning pain into pleasure, a source of triumph and self awareness; minimizing your suffering to feel more alive and be more grateful.

Some people in my past would look at my life and be happy about it, even celebrate. Those people ae most definitely toxic, but that's alright. Unfortunately, I've known a lot of pretty bad people who revel in people's misery. I'm one of those optimists who believe in being positive and looking at the sunny side of life. Let's get to tip number three for high-functioning depression.

Tip 3: Build Your Own Arkham Asylum Surround yourself with fellow misfits, the ones who understand the darkness that lurks within.

Build your own Arkham Asylum, a sanctuary where you can let your freak flag fly without fear of judgment. Together, you'll weather the storm and emerge stronger for it.

Make friends with people who have been in similar situations. Talk to them about what you're going through. You will see they may also be dealing with high-functioning depression. Perhaps people with similar interests. I found this to be key. I found somebody who knows exactly what I'm going through, also has kids, and is a single dad. Plus our world views and habits really align. He's Romanian, great dude. We've become very close and he is really in tune personally. Emotionally offloading and relating and being empathetic to others in a similar situation is very therapeutic. Sure, a therapist can be helpful, but I prefer people who curse and really know me personally, don't make me feel like a headcase. You find out that struggles are not typically uniquely your own, but rather universal.

Tip 4: Embrace the Unpredictable; Life is like a deck of cards.

Sometimes you're dealt a winning hand, and sometimes you end up with a joker. Embrace the unpredictable nature of existence and roll with the punches. After all, it's the surprises that keep things interesting.

Do you know the odds of actually becoming a human? 1 in 400 trillion. That is nuts. We're all so lucky to be here. To be able to breathe the air, to smell the flowers, to fall in love as well as fall out of love.

To have your dreams crushed is a privledge. To experience a beautiful sunset or watch a child be born. It all comes down to gratitude really. When you hit rock bottom, look up and seeing all the good is like being reborn. We should all appreciate everyday just being able to experience life here.

As I said, when I was fourteen, my best friend James killed himself. He put a gun to his head because he had had enough. I knew him better than anyone and I still had no idea what he was going through, really. People are walking around us everyday like this. With pain and suffering. They walk by us like it's no big deal. Even after many years, I still blamed myself; like I should've known. I put an unbearable weight on my shoulders that I could've prevented it. No one should go through something like that. It shaped my outlook on life for a long time, even still now. So, check in on your friends and family regularily.

Trauma teaches us a valuable life lesson that you never know what someone else is going through. So be gentle. Be kind. Be a good person.

Now, tip five for high-functioning depression.



Tip 5: Paint the Town Red. When all else fails, grab a bucket of red paint and paint the town red, metaphorically speaking, of course.

Unfortunately sadness breeds an inferiority complex. So do something bold, something daring, something that makes you feel alive. Life's too short to play it safe, so go ahead and make your mark on the world. There is no reason not to wear your heart on your sleeve in life, go for the things you want, and live perfectly authentically.

Embrace being imperfect. Embrace the sucky moments. Embrace that life will always have it's struggles. But, if you learn to assert yourself more and surround yourself with positive individuals, set boundaries, stop people pleasing, the suck will be much less.

So there you have it, folks. Five tips to keep the darkness at bay, straight from the twisted mind of yours truly. If you need help with your high-functioning depression, I highly recommend seeking help. Don't be like me and wait 20 years. You won't regret it.

Lastly, embrace the joker side of things. Laugh at your pain. Embrace it and learn to make light of it. Don't let it consume and control you. Only then can you transform it into something more positive.

Lots of love.

Warm regards,

matt jones signature cursive


Matt Jones is a writer and entrepreneur with multiple businesses who enjoys inspiring others. He is also a professional musician who has been to over 40 different countries on all seven continents. His personal mission is to create and inspire. He is from Los Angeles but is now based in Greater London. His latest book "Life 2.0" is available on Amazon. He's a recovering people pleaser and nice guy navigating his way through life trying to maintain his sense of happiness and personal enlightenment. Send a question or feel free to say hi.

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