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  • Writer's pictureShannon Eastman

Highly Functioning and… healthy? or Not OK?

Highly Functioning

We are uniquely the same. 


We all share the need for health, belonging, safety, connection, self-esteem, love, meaning, vitality, expansion, and creativity. 

We are all journeying along a path that is life-long and nonlinear. That path contains sign posts to reveal our inspired purpose.  That path also comes with endless comfort zones to rest in after a growth spurt.

We all get to access growth when we feel stable and safe to be vulnerable. (Growth requires both) When we have both those qualities, then growth is typically, 2 steps forward, 1 step back. 

We all have a choice as to how we view the world and ourselves.

We all have a dark side.  We all have vast amounts of untapped potential.

We also share the ability to be Highly Functioning. 


The material that shapes who we are: 

Perspective (our GPS point), perception (the glasses we wear to observe the world), challenges, source of stress, stress management, brain-body regulation, attachment style, past trauma, environment, culture, beliefs, support system, finances, time and career path. 

How we show up: 

How we journey that path, how and when we engage growth and comfort zones,  how and when we show up and how we prioritise our day-to-day.  How we treat our enemies, how we treat ourselves, how we treat our loved ones.

What we have to give: 

Our contribution, interpretation and the meaning we give to spaces, places, and faces. 

The proverbial container that our expression of Highly Functioning resides within.

Highly Functioning

Highly Functioning comes with a container

Highly Functioning, and Healthy vs. Highly Functioning, and Not OK

It’s only in the last few years that I copped on to the idea that Highly Functioning came with a container. Up until a few years ago, highly functioning, period, was all I valued. 

For decades, my life was largely Highly Functioning, and Secretly in Despair.  I had moved way past 'Not Ok' years ago. Interestingly, with hindsight, I wouldn’t have seen it, recognised it, or even agreed with it had someone brought it into my awareness. For me it (Secretly-in-Despair), and the struggle of being in it, was simply my normal.

Turns out, it is anything, but.

The Capacity, Quality and Essence of our Highly Functioning container is influenced by:

  1. The material that shapes who we are

  2. The ‘how’ we choose to show up in life

  3. Along with our contribution, interpretation and meaning we assign to spaces, places and faces

Our respective containers determine our Capacity and Quality of life, and the lingering Essence we leave behind. 

Healthy containers have ever increasing capacity and quality. By their very nature they have a center, but their circumference can be found nowhere. They are ever expanding.

By contrast, unhealthy containers are quite literally containers. They are small, rigid, and decaying.

Imagine if Essence was a perfume or cologne, consider the lingering scent left by a Healthy container, and then by a container that is 'Not OK'.

Highly Functioning

Your Capacity, Quality, and Essence is in the make up

Your unique makeup. 

You get to choose the stuff you are made of on any given day. Often, an experienced facilitator, coach, mentor, or good book can help penetrate our stuckness so we can free ourselves from all sorts of blindspots and unknowns.

Or how you show up at any given moment, often as simple as creating the space for a 'pause and reflect' when emotions begin to surface.

And even choose if you want to make a contribution. For some of us, the desire to contribute is buried under all sorts of micro steps needed to be taken first. Unaware of this, we force, push and frustrate doubting our genius, giving way for 'Imposter Syndrome' to once again, make its appearance.

Consciously and consistently choosing healthy, transforms your container.

Allow me to briefly circle back on the point I made at the outset under - SAME - where I specifically said:

We are all journeying along a path that is life-long and nonlinear. That path contains sign posts to reveal our inspired purpose.  That path also comes with endless comfort zones to rest in after a growth spurt. 

Well that right there, is what the path of consciously and consistently choosing healthy, looks like. If there is past trauma in your life, then chances are, you're not transforming much without deliberate intervention of brain and body to facilitate the exit of past unresolved trauma. Your physiology is locked into a state that you cannot overcome with the Thinking Self alone. If that feels like it might be you, I've got a few articles on Complex-PTSD worth a skim.

Highly Functioning


Thanks for making it this far. You will find me in a few places: 1-to-1 work with professionals b2b firm is where I channel my learning and insights on Human Behaviour, Wellbeing and Mental Health into fun art that make learning this subject matter a whole lot easier.

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