Published on July 14th, 2017 | by Jonas A.
How To Cope With Depression At Work
Office parties– avoid or attend?
Withdrawal is a symptom of depression, not a solution. That said, when you’re depressed, work-social gatherings meant to be fun can feel more like torture.
Not just a case of the blues, not deadline burnout, but chronic, clinical depression that requires ongoing treatment. According to Mental Health America, one in 20 workers is experiencing depression at any given time. Here’s how people manage at work while dealing head-on with depression.
Recognize the signs.
Cooperating with colleagues– even talking to them– takes an enormous effort. It takes you longer to get things done, and co-workers notice that you seem out of it. It’s time to seek treatment.
Gionfriddo cautions that even people who are in treatment and have learned how to cope can still return to an acute phase of depression that leaves them totally withdrawn. Whether they’re mostly relying on medications or counseling, they may need a “therapeutic reset,” he says.
If you’re not dealing with depression but want to be more attuned to your colleagues, he suggests stepping away from the computer every so often. “Just walk the hall, poke your head in a few offices and say hello,” he says.
Decide If– and how– to tell your boss.
The type of industry in which you work and the relationship you have with supervisors can affect how open you want to be about depression, Aimee says. Before you disclose your diagnosis, it helps to assess your relationship with your boss and to determine how much information you feel comfortable sharing. “In my case, I talked to my boss once I had medical attention and I had a diagnosis,” she says.
Take a mental health break.
In her 20s, depression entered her life. “I was really in a little bit of denial about what was happening to me,” she says. “When you’re at a crossroads in terms of your mental health, you need to really say, ‘OK, I’m going to ask for five days off,'” Aimee says.
Anticipate job triggers.
As you get a handle on depression, you develop your personal tool kit to manage it. Sometimes you can anticipate depression triggers– major projects that turn your workplace upside down– and prepare in advance, Gionfriddo says. “We all tend to put these things aside until we need them again,” he says.
Whatever gets you through the day.
Most people don’t have the luxury of taking time off until their depression is under perfect control. In a 2012 blog posting about workplace depression, Aimee describes how she managed rough weeks by taking it day by day.
When to seek help ASAP, happy wheels demo Know.
Aimee recalls a time when she was still coming to terms with depression at work, and a co-worker basically told her, “We are going to call your health provider right now and get you help, because this isn’t just feeling down– this is something else.”.
Reach out to family and friends.
If you’re ready to open up to colleagues about depression, it’s natural to start with people with whom you already have a comfortable relationship. Depression can run in families, and some of your relatives may have already been there themselves. If you’re in group therapy or a depression self-help group, you can pick up workplace tips and strategies there.
Be easy on yourself.
If you think you have depression, and you fear that speaking up might affect your job, it helps to realize “you’re not alone– and once you’re open to talk about this condition, you’ll find that there’s more people who are sympathetic to you than those who are critical,” Aimee says. “Your fear of the reaction might be worse than the actual reaction.” From one who’s been there, her advice is, “While you’re being proactive about treatment, take it one day at a time and be very gentle with yourself.”.
Tap into peer support– or provide it.
Humans are social beings, Gionfriddo says, and that’s why gathering around the office water cooler used to be so popular. With conditions like depression “people tend to close themselves off from other people,” he says.
If you had a bad case of the flu, you ‘d take time off to recover? And if you developed diabetes, you ‘d put work aside to get and find a doctor stabilized. “Depression is no different from any other chronic condition,” says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America.
Check into workplace services and insurance.
‘ Otherwise qualified’ is always the terminology,” Gionfriddo says. In practical terms, he says, that might mean “when you need to take a day off and check out, you do that,” without fear of jeopardizing your job. Look into your health insurance coverage for treatment including counseling and medication.
Take care of your body and mind.
“It can help to get enough sleep at night,” Gionfriddo says. Take a walk when you can; a light jog or run can churn up endorphins to ease some depression symptoms. Meditation helps some people with depression or stress, and it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of training or chanting in your cubicle.
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