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Dealing with Depression at Work

Depression is one of the most common mood disorders in the world. About 1 in 10 adults reportedly suffer from depression, and while the predominant symptom is a general feeling of sadness and melancholia, there’s much more to this disorder: sleeplessness, feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, thoughts of suicide. At its worst, depression manifests itself as a physical pain that aches your bones and sits against your chest.

More young adults, primarily millenials, suffer from depression and anxiety than ever before, and the hardest part about depression is that the world doesn’t pause because you’re feeling depressed. Work responsibilities are still there. As impossible as it might seem, you still have to put on a smile, help clients, and endure that cultural diversity training, so here are some tips to help you deal with your depression in the office.


1. Seek help.

A no-brainer, if you’re not already seeking some form of treatment for your depression, start now. There are various antidepressants that your doctor can prescribe, but working with a professional therapist or joining a support group is the best way to work out your symptoms, which will help you better handle yourself when you’re in the copy room or going through respectful workplace training.

Check your insurance plan or consult your HR rep to find out if your coverage includes mental health services. If you’re uninsured, do some research on local community mental health centers, which offer therapy and support group services on a sliding scale.

2. Seek support.

Having a close support system is just as important—sometimes, even more important than—getting professional help. When you’re feeling down, good friends will be there to give you someone to talk to and lean on; great friends will carry you and make you forget the worst. It’s even more beneficial if those close friends happen to be your coworkers.

Granted, it’s your prerogative if you don’t feel the need to share your depression with anyone in the office, in which case find that support system outside of work. Cull from childhood friends, family members, or group therapy.

3. Set goals for each day.

Focusing is just about the hardest thing to do when you’re depressed. The act of thinking is replete with a sense of fogginess, throwing concentration and remembering what happened in your management training program right out the window.

To stay on task and prevent probable job loss, set clear daily goals. Create a list of what needs to get done in order of priority. Take thorough notes during meetings so that you don’t forget important information. Double check your work, and don’t be afraid to ask a coworker for help if you’re having an exceptionally bad day.

4. Don’t forget yourself.

Amidst the depression and work, it’s easy to forget the person that really matters: you. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Do something you know you will enjoy, something that will keep your mind off of your depression that doesn’t involve impressing coworkers or satisfying supervisors. A job is a job; you matter more than that.

As hopeless as things seem, know that you will get through this and be a better person—and employee—for it. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Remember that you’re not alone.

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