Robin-Williams-1024x878Do you know a high functioning good performing person who you suspect hides a secret? This is surprisingly much more common than anyone ever realises and it is something I see many clients reveal in coaching sessions.

The common hidden problems I hear a lot about from clients are…

·         Depression
·         Anxiety
·         Eating disorders
·         Drink problems
·         Drug problems
·         Over exercising
·         Over shopping
·         Gambling
·         Other bad habits

Typical examples

The salesman who works alone and spends the week on the road, staying away in hotels hides the fact he is extremely lonely and spends his evenings propping up bars drinking. Absolutely no one knowing about his drink problem.

The stay at home mum who is financially comfortable and seems to have everything but is bored and depressed, and spends her days online shopping and drinking.  Absolutely no one knowing that she has a debt and drinks during the day.

The successful director who is liked by everyone but hides a problem of anxiety and a huge gambling addiction. Again no one knowing that his wife has recently left him and he has big debts.

There are many other examples

Do you suspect someone you know is living like this?

It can be difficult to spot because…

·         The person may work predominantly alone or are in a senior position
·         They may be isolated at home
·         They may be seen as being successful and competent at what they do
·         They may be really brilliant at hiding that they have a problem / addiction – for example the stay at home mum may be drinking at home but never appear drunk or the on the road salesman who takes his bottle of whiskey with him to drink in his hotel room or the director who drinks a lot of orange juice laced with vodka. Each of these people also secretly hate themselves.
·         The person may seem to be all together and in control with their life

The ability to appear normal and keep their lives together normally mean that these high functioning good performers have complex deep issues that they have learnt how to mask to even people that are close to them. Friends and family are often unaware. Just think about famous people in the media like Robin Williams who took his own life and shocked the world and his family. Tears of a clown and all that.

So how do you spot that someone who is a high functioning good performer who may have a problem like this?

It is difficult to spot as mentioned previously but there are symptoms to look out for…

1.       Do they spend a lot of time on their own either at work or at home?

2.       Do they share very little about their lives?

3.       Do they seem to have obsessive hobbies… like exercise or excessive dieting?

4.       Do they have a small family – maybe unmarried / divorced?

5.       Are they estranged from family or live a long distance from family?

6.       Has there been a recent problem for the person – maybe redundancy, a bereavement, divorce, an illness? They may seem fine but we all know that most people fine these events difficult.

7.       Do they work long hours?

8.       Are they evasive if asked about their social life?

9.       Do they avoid social events or the opposite socialise all the time?

10.   Do they seem to live beyond their means?

What can you do?

·         Tread carefully – don’t challenge directly
·         Maintain conversation with the person – this can make all the difference
·         Talk up mental health issues when you can without being direct
·         Talk up the benefits of talking to a coach/ counsellor
Power Coach 11