Depression can feel like a dark cloud hanging over you, and it can be difficult to see past it to get things done. Living with this mental illness can be hard enough on its own, and the demands of work can make it feel even more greuling. Signs of working with depression often include missing work, difficulty concentrating, incomplete deadlines and goals, and even fatigue or lack of energy in the workplace.
It may feel like your depression can prevent you from working or holding down a job, but there are ways to help overcome these challenges — we’ll explore how depression affects your ability to work and what you can do if you need help getting back into the workforce.
Recognize That Depression Is Part of You, but Not All of You
One of the most common misconceptions about depression is that it defines who you are as a person. It’s not. Depression is just one aspect of your personality—it’s not who you are, and it doesn’t define your character in any meaningful way.
Know When to Seek Professional Help
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you have thoughts that life would be better off without you, please seek professional help immediately
- Hopelessness or despair. If you feel like nothing will ever get better or that there is no hope for happiness in the future, it’s time to seek help.
- Thoughts of harming others (or yourself). If these thoughts are consuming your mind and causing distress in your day-to-day life, seek immediate help.
- Trouble sleeping or eating due to depression symptoms.
Talk Openly With Your Family and Friends
Depression can be a lonely condition, so it’s important to talk about your emotions and needs with people you trust. This will help remind you that you’re not alone in this struggle.
Talking openly with family or friends can help them understand your condition and will allow them to offer support. You can share how you feel, what challenges you’re facing, what coping strategies are working for you, and any other information that you are comfortable with sharing to seek help and support.
Seek Out Mental Health Groups for Support
Joining a mental health group can be a great way to find support, especially if you’re still feeling lonely despite encouragement from family and friends. Making connections with those that have lived through similar experiences can be comforting when dealing with depression or other mental illnesses.
Oftentimes, many of the people in your mental health support group are also struggling to find the strength to work while suffering from depression. By surrounding yourself with people you can relate to, you will find that you’re not alone and have a safe place to express your thoughts and feelings.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of mental health support groups, check out our blog post here.
Take Time for Yourself
It is important to take time for yourself. Whether you need a full day or just a few minutes, it’s essential to spend some time relaxing. Even if it’s not possible to completely relax at work, there are ways that you can recharge throughout the day and make sure that work remains enjoyable.
Take breaks during your work day. If you have an office job where people go out for lunch together, take advantage of this opportunity to get away from your desk and talk with coworkers in person. Also, try scheduling short walks during breaks—you’ll find yourself more productive afterward!
Better yet, talk to your employer about taking mental health days off of work. If your depression is consuming you and preventing you from being productive at work, taking a day or two off may be exactly what you need. While mental health days won’t cure your depression, they can certainly give you the recharge you need to return to work with a fresh perspective.
Set Small Goals and Build Up From There
Set small goals and build up from there. If your depression is severe, it may be difficult to focus on the small steps that will eventually lead to success. So start with something simple that can be completed in a day or less: making your bed, putting away clothes in their proper place, or organizing your desk. These simple tasks will help you feel like you’ve achieved something.
Ask People to Give You Space if You Need It
Let others know how much space they should give you. If a friend wants to check in with you but knows that’s not the best idea right now, maybe they can make plans for later in the week or month instead.
Everyone Deals With Depression in Their Own Way
Depression is a real illness that can be treated with therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes like exercise and good sleep habits. It’s important to remember that depression affects everyone differently, so the way that someone else might deal with it may not be right for you. You should never feel ashamed about reaching out for help if you are having trouble coping with your symptoms or would like to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
There are many resources available to those struggling with depression. These include:
- A therapist who specializes in depression.
- Support groups for those with depression (in person or online).
- Friends and family members who can provide emotional support.
Depression is a serious health condition, but it’s one that can often be successfully treated. Dealing with depression is all about taking small steps, so it’s important to feel confident that you are equipped to deal with it. Most importantly, you should never feel like you are alone in your fight against depression.
This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.