Sooner or later depression forces you to make changes in your worklife. If adapting at your present job doesn’t help, then it’s probably time to look at other possibilities. However difficult, impractical or even impossible the alternatives might seem, it’s worth considering what else you could do.
This post looks at three strategies that could help you manage depression by changing your work situation: frequent job changes, getting out of a toxic work environment, or changing the type of work you do. These are a few ideas to help you come up with your own solution. At the least, they might help you ask the right questions about what you want and need.
1. Moving from Job to Job
Many people have learned to handle depression by shifting jobs frequently. Their experience tells them that if they try to stay with one job too long, the limits imposed by their illness will undermine performance and probably lead to their being fired anyway. They need full-time employment, and this way they avoid having a job history with a long string of dismissals.
Others know they can’t handle the stress and social interaction of a steady job. Doing temporary work that moves them from one short-term assignment to another is one solution. Finding a way to earn money from home could be another. However they manage, they’ve adapted, in many cases, to earning just enough money to get by.
You might well feel that this approach carries too much uncertainty for you. Or perhaps you need to have steadier work to feel like your doing something productive with your life. If that’s the case, but you can’t deal with your present job, you could look at the work environment you’re in every day. That could be a major problem.
2. Finding a Better Work Environment
A damaging work environment that overloads you with work and high stress is getting to be the norm. Surveys report 40-50% of US workers work under high stress and need help learning how to manage it. Stress is linked to many health problems, including depression. If you have severe and recurrent depression, a toxic workplace will only intensify your illness.
As Tony Giordano describes his experience in It’s Not All In Your Head, his workplace had become punishing, abusive and unfair. He faced a combination of impossible deadlines, job insecurity, backbiting among workers fearing for their jobs and managers taking out their own shortcomings on staff. Combined with depression, these conditions gradually undermined his ability to function.
If you’re trying to manage a job in a workplace like that, while also living with major depression, you could run the risk of a collapse like the one Giordano went through. You may have to find a better work environment, hard as it is to find one, just to keep going.
But if these strategies don’t help, maybe it’s time to look at the type of work that you’ve been doing.
3. Changing Your Work, Changing Your Life
It’s not easy to figure out if the work you know best and have been doing for a long time is actually making your illness worse. In the midst of severe depression, it can be impossible to function well in any occupation. After the worst is over, however, you may be able to return to your job or profession and be as effective as before. Hopefully, you would also find it just as fulfilling and rewarding as it has always been.
But it could be that any progress you make in treatment is lost as soon as you get back to your familiar work. After trying other strategies, you may realize that the problem is not about employers or clients, not about the atmosphere of the workplace, or the number of hours you put in each day or anything else in the conditions of your work. It must be something about the work itself that is worsening depression and generally undermining your well-being.
Barriers to Change
Personal Investment: That’s a conclusion, though, that you might resist and avoid for years because you have so much invested in doing this particular type of work well. Admitting that it’s become impossible to pursue might seem like a terrible defeat, a surrender to the illness.
Financial Risk: You ask yourself: How else could you possibly earn a living? There’s no way you could swing it financially. You can’t afford to lose your income, even for a few months. You’re sure that it’s totally impractical, nothing but dreaming.
Depressed Thinking: When depressed, you probably have trouble making any decision, let alone one about changing the life you now lead. You also tend to underestimate yourself. You may be convinced you’re not talented enough to do anything else, even an occupation you’d always hoped you could do.
You may feel too empty and lacking in energy to make the effort. Depressed thinking is also telling you that there’s no point in trying since you’d probably fail. You’re convinced you couldn’t learn new skills, especially if it means going back to school or enrolling in a more limited training program.
In the end, even if all these thoughts and beliefs win out, you have still made a choice – to do nothing. For many years, I couldn’t get around obstacles like these. Staying with it, however, ultimately led to a collapse in my ability to function. Doing nothing was no longer a choice. Like it or not, I had to take the leap.
Temporary Work: The problem is that the longer you wait to take action, the fewer alternatives you have. At that point, you may have to take the first job you can find, often at low pay. You might try the strategy of frequent job shifting or relying on temporary work. Or, if depression is too severe, or other opportunities too limited, you might need to get out of the workforce altogether.
Leaving the Workforce: If you’re fortunate, you might have a retirement option or a good severance package from your last job. If you work for a large company or public agency, they might offer an early retirement incentive as they try to reduce the workforce. Or you might qualify for a disability pension – either from an employer or from Social Security.
Planning Ahead: If you give yourself enough lead time, you could plan ahead with the help of a therapist who specializes in transitions of this type. I think it’s important to consult with someone who has a good grasp of the possibilities. The more depressed you are, the more help you need to open your thinking to new possibilities, identify the skills you have, and focus on the practical possibilities of finding more fulfilling and less stressful work.
There’s no formula for this and no easy way to do it. But you may have to make such a major change to manage depression. It’s a matter of balancing practical needs with the more basic ones of regaining health, saving relationships, perhaps even staying alive.
Have you had to make changes in your worklife to adapt to depression? What strategies have you tried, and how much have they helped? Have you been able to deal with the financial problem? Are there barriers that still stand in your way?
Image by oedipusphinx at Flickr
Always relieving to see so many people are in the same boat – I just made up my mind leaving my current employer for good. I have had a series of short-termed job stunts and never a career and I’m 44! I sometime doubt I have ADD but I am extremely organized and successful in personal life (healthy, good family & friends, solid in personal finance) so I don’ t think that’s the case.
When comes to job, seems like I can never succeed. It seems I always get into one bad job situation to another – my spouse tells me I have great work ethics. I work well with others and an advanced degree in fairly high demand field, and have a good skill set. Despite of all that, I always get a job with a high turnover, and have a boss no body likes.
After I finished my graduate degree, I got a job from hell, but hey I need to pay my dues, I thought – so I bit a bullet and tolerated that job. Very few people stay that job beyond two yrs, and I know it was a dead-end and people generally loathed the place. Basically I got bullied out of that place so I left. Then I got a new job with extremely low paying and under my skill-set. The owner basically mislead people saying you get promoted quick and can make very good money if you worked hard. That was all lies. The place was a dead-end, no promotions unless someone leaves, they will keep you as an “assistant” with low pay as long as they can. The place was extremely disorganized, coworkers without any drive or skills. Only two of owner’s favorite makes good money.
The owner does not pay overtime. One woman refused to work overtime for free and ever since she’s been a target for bullying. She never got any raise. At the same time, I was hired at a different line of work on spot but I had been hesitant to accept the offer. It offered more money, and far more future. But since it was totally unrelated from my background that I had invested so much – I wasn’t able to decide. I already knew I will leave my current under employment situation, and had been looking else where in my field but nothing was really biting. Same ole hundred calls from “recruiters” who have no real leads. Well yesterday my boss told me how I’m doing well. With all my honesty, I have been disengaged from this job after finding out his lies. I never sabotage my duties, but I stopped go far and beyond what’s been asked for. But…I’m resentful for what he said, but also this helped me to finalize my decision to accept the new offer.
Sorry I meant to say the owner said how I’m “not” doing well. Anyway I can’t help but blame myself even though I know fully well that this place was very toxic and terribly managed. I feel like I should bite a bullet again and find a new job in my own field instead of accepting a new offer from a completely new field.
Life involves a series of decision making. On the other hand, my co-worker whom I started this under skilled job together – is doing extremely well in her job. She’s much better received with coworkers. She doesn’t have expertise or specialized knowledge like me, but hey this job does not require any of that. I admit that I was jealous about her. We have become good friends. But I know her personal life is a complete mess. She is almost incapable of making a wise, solid decision. Because of that, she is very unsuccessful in her personal life, despite the facts she has so much potential. I always wonder about that. We sure can’t have it all, can we.
I am at a stage of i cant do this anymore even thinking of calling in sick tomorrow. I cant take the drama its a family business and they just throw anyjob at you without asking . I cant do this anymore it makes me physically sick being here. Been here 3 years now under paid I cant afford to get a house I live from paycheck to paycheck its not fair.
I have worked for the same company for over 9 years and took a promotionew about 2 years ago.
About 3 months ago the company got any extra buildingand me and the Co worker got moved into a small bright white room with a small window that looked at athe racking.
2 months ago to my disapproval was forced into shift work.
I have pretty much no one to talk to most of the time. I had to give up my evening sports as the shifts always interfered except 1 day every fortnight.
I have been on holiday for about 2 weeks and I can’t seem to find any energy any more. I dread having to go back to work. I told the boss and HR team who seem to just ignore me.
I have expressed that I have nothing to look forward to outside of work. Just go home, eat and then bed.
It is nice to be able to have a small chat and see people throughout the day. I don’t mean chatting and not working.
Just a friendly hello.
I have even asked about getting fully demoted and apparently that can’t happen until a job comes up. I asked about job swapping and was ignored.
I have had increasing thoughts about just not going in at all.
I really don’t know what to do. I am looking for jobs even part time at super markets but I never seem to get interviews despite a very good current work record. 7 years I have never missed one day of work even in some really nasty winter storms.
I have a small photography job which makes me happy being self employed and I am happy when I get weddings to do but I don’t get enough to get me by.
The draw back of small towns is that not many people live in them.
I just want a job that allows me some time to enjoy myself and the ability to have a break with someone to talk to.
Hi Frank. I understand. I just wanted to stop and say hello. I know how the isolation can make you feel. I too have a small photography business. It’s not enough to pay the bills, but it keeps my spirit “alive” because I can do something creative. If you want to chat, let me know. Try and have a good day. Iain
The fatigue says
I’ve had depression since I was young. I’m an introvert and don’t like socialising unless I’m close with the people. I’ve changed jobs many times I think I’ve had around 10 jobs in 7 yrs I never stay longer than 2 yrs in a job.
I’m 2mths into my current job and facing depression and burn out due to long working hrs and demanding roles and responsibilities. I feel like resigning again but it seems every job I have problems staying. I’m over sensitive and many things bother and worry me. I feel like I keep undergoing the viscous cycle that keeps draining me. Today I spoke with a counsellor and I told her that I would try a little longer and see if I still have this problem perhaps I would change to a temporary or part time employment. Financially it would be a burden but I’m tired of repeating this vicious cycle and undergoing all this suffering again and again it’s driving me insane.
Losing my sanity says
I am in the exact same boat! My job history is unsteady, but not because of my work ethic. Actuslly, i have consistently good reviews and promotions, never been fired. But my primary reason for leaving jobs is toxic work environment. In this economy, just having a job with some benefits is a blessing. If you even gently express your concerns to your employer, there is someone in line ready to take your job. So you have no recourse. I did temp work, but the pay was horrible, no benefits and people treat you like dirt. There is no opportunity to build connections as a temp, and you still have to put in your 8 or 9 hours sitting at a computer without a soul to talk to.
A few years I took a huge paycut to land a permanent job with work life balance. At first I felt like I landed my dream job. Now I feel taken advantage of, doing the job of three people, unable to take off quality time from work and they don’t offer pay raises! Ownership changed after two years and that’s when things went downhill. It seems that there is no way out. I live alone, so part time work is not an option. I’m financially dependent on myself. I’ve never been more terrified. Held onto the hope that good things would come my way, but now utterly hopeless.
Welcome to the club, as my dad always said. I’m an introvert, I don’t like socializing either until I really know someone. I’ve been like that since childhood. Doesn’t help I was harrassed by a group of girls for my interests and bad habits back in grade school. I’m in my 3rd week in my current job at the hospital. A simple yet physically demanding dead end job in the dishroom. Thankfully it’s only my first job since getting my associates, so I have more chances I think? Idk. I’m almost 23 and I already feel old. I’m trapped in a hometown with few opportunities in the art field. At least I’m not alone in the introversion depot.
I work with a guy who’s been with the company for 10years and he get bullied, treated unfair etc more than myself. Do you know why? It’s because he’s just a nice guy with a good heart. First off if you don’t like materialistic things / money working is not for you but in the life we live money ‘yes a materialistic item made by mankind controls our lives. Do you think you are in a bad situation? How about if I tell you there’s many out there in worst situation, homeless, incurable illness, death of loved ones kids etc. Kidnapped family members… every and I repeat every individual have the ability to love no matter age race time place etc. Once upon a time I was in a dark place for a very long time. I never knew what love happiness etc is. Never got a hug or love you from anyone just beaten and physically abused upon. I brought this darkness into my adult life and met someone. She had all reason to leave me because of the things I put her through…but she didn’t. If she had given up on me I would’ve probably been dead. Now back to work, think about the ppl who are making your life miserable and ask yourself what will happen to them if I give up on them. Treat them with love and kindness even if it’s a burden you WILL help them change, you might become their mentor parent idol etc in their heads because “do you really know what torture ppl actually go through to treat someone else unfair harshly etc”? There’s a different with treating others with respect and hurting them. If you find a way to accomplish this you will eventually open up many doors in your life . You cannot fix/heal or get better by helping yourself without helping others. That guy that worked for 10 years, never complained never looked sad or even gotten mad. He said it’s only a job and I was in the same situation like my co workers at one point but someone helped me …. Hang in there my friends you are way more than who you think you are
The biggest problem I have is that I work as a Construction Manager with project durations usually being about 2 years long. I am a 36 year old single male and the most depressing thing is not being able to find someone who is willing to accept this as a part of my job. I’m not an extrovert when it comes to social settings and I’m passed the point of going to a bar or club.
Point is, my work is stressful enough but the position itself is what is making me depressed. I don’t have a ‘home’, just a place to live in temporarily until the next project opens up.
Anyone in a similar situation with some advice?
I feel we are in a very similar situation. I’m a Pipefitter by trade. I’m real good at. Absolutely hate it. I don’t even know if I’ll get a response so if you receive this, hit me back an well discuss it. Merry Christmas bud
Reading at your comments, it almost 2 years ago, I hope things have been better for you since.
I am also in the Construction industry, and I can relate to you. I also want to say, there are many women that I know of, just like myself, not keen into pub/ bar/ clubbing. Especially after work, we tend to appreciate some down time or quiet time. After all, construction industry is a little bit insane, stressful and noisy.
Through many years, I have come to realization, I need to find contentment and peacefulness in myself, then home is where my heart is, not merely is a location.
It seems once you get depression it’s pretty much sure to return. Yet one will then know now how to deal with depression when it returns. And how to stay away from things like alcohol, drugs excedra…self medicating. A person can then know to get on a medication that works, and see a psychiatrist if needeed.
It is very nice to know I’m not alone, as I’m sure you all feel the same. I have been working the same job for over 17 years. I work 3 – 12 hour night shifts. It was always nice to have 4 days off, especially to spend time with my daughter who is my world. I don’t think i would make it without her. I was diagnosed about 3 years ago, but about every 6 months i hit rock bottom, and have to go for help. I take a couple of months off work, and then try again. But its not working. I hate coming to work. I hate working nights now, i hate working 12 hour shifts. I feel like it is killing me. I don’t want to do this anymore. And i feel like no one at work understands. Its so frustrating!!! Its impossible to get enough sleep working these hours, and sleep is the most important thing for those of us with depression. But I’m a single homeowner, and a Mom, so i don’t know what to do. I do know that there are others out there, that understand how i feel. I recently took 6 weeks off work, and had my insurance claim denied, because they thought it was more of a work issue than a depression issue. It should be easier!!
Good luck to us all…thanks for reading 🙂
aspie nick says
well at least you have someone. im a 28 year old aspie. im born with asperger. im working in a banking industry as you already how stressful it is. the working environment is very toxic. due to my autistic nature i dont know how to communicate when i need to defend myself. healthy politic is non existence here. im very depressed and suicidal.as a person suffered from asperger syndrome, getting a finance degree was my biggest mistake in life.sorry for the bad english. english is not my primary language.
aspie nick says
and ive become a chain-smoker since im working in this toxic, malicious environment.
Kindly mediate or swim or run… It helps ….. Take up a hobby and travel
Though I agree, you would have to go back to same toxic space… How about you change your job….. Life is long and cruel,,,, find a way out… Study a new course or start something new
I feel your pain. I have been dealing with depression since my teens and it seems to get worse with time. I have a job that has become unbearable to me, and to make matters worse I don’t have a car so its a struggle to get there and back home everyday. Sometimes I feel so defeated I don’t want to wake up, I feel trapped, helpless and alone. Seems noone understands, so I turn to alcohol as an escape, and I hate doing that it only makes me feel worse but its the only way I can get a temporary release of this pain inside.
Are you not taking any medication terrell?
try and stay away from alcohol.
I have the same issue with my car, except I’m not working….can’t find part time job. I applied for disability and if you work full time it may knock you out of disability benefits.
Sheryl, you probably should sign up for disability and only work part time, for working full time will knock you out of the disability. And you may can work for cash as well for someone needing your talent.
It takes anywhere from 5 months to a year to get approved for disability. In the mean time you can again work part time and for cash as well.
I have been depressed for a long time. It all revolves around my career choice a long time ago. I spent a 100K (todays dollars) on my education and I can not turn back. The bullying in my profession is at such stammering heights, I have gone through 15 jobs in the last 20 years. I work for a year or two until the abuse becomes so intolerable, I have to leave and go find another job. I have become an expert on sociopathy, and how to recognize it. Some reports show that 3 our of 10 Americans are sociopaths. It is rampant in American culture. There is no escape regardless of how many jobs changes. One time I lost my cool with the office manager after months of being bullied by her. They could hear me yelling all the way at the other end of the building. After that, I knew it was time to leave. My career has been a total disaster because of this. I have no retirement, or 401 K because of the numerous job changes..The only saving grace is being able to help my clients.
I’m in my mid twenties, engaged, and I was happy in the service industry making cash everyday before taking on the responsibility of paying for my partners school + bills on my own. I switched to a 6am-5pm job as a delivery driver making what should be a stable amount of money but it’s simply not enough, were broke again days after every paycheck (and we aren’t stupid with $) .I’ve been a trainee capped at 40 hours only but expected to work 5 days a week, waiting for a promotion that most people recieve after 2 months (I’m going on 8 now) I constantly work off the clock to meet my bosses demands and not get fired or punished. I have an extremely physical job and summer is coming so add in the threat of heat exhaustion (no ac in truck in the south… Ouch)add the humiliation of hearing my boss tell me I’m not fast enough = I live every day at work pretending I’m happy and excited about my future with the company I.E walking on eggshells, and I go home thinking about how much I hate everything about this job. I get the Sunday night blues… But on Friday afternoon right as I punch out. I have no energy mentally or physically to meet my partners emotional needs and her feeling neglected and ignored is something we fight hard at least twice a month to where we’re sleeping separately. She’s told me a couple times she feels more like we’re room mates. There is so much more I could write but I’ll spare you the rest I know you get the picture.
She’s telling me I have to stay or switch to another job that can pay her way through school or at least keep our bills at bay, but at this point I’m so drained the only thing I want to do is go back to my old job (less pay, less stability but something very low stress and actually fun) to recuperate myself and obtain freedom from all these anchors I’ve put on myself. She will not compromise and I’m ready to say screw it to the job AND the girl. I feel resentment about having to put what I want on hold for a number of years while she chases her dreams (which I feel guilty of because I told her that I’m happy to do so before I realized how bad this all would go)
Do I take the leap of faith and rebuild my life from the ground up again or do I suck it up and try to make it work somehow? My gut is telling me to get out of the job regardless of what anyone else thinks or says and regardless of the potential to make a very decent amount of $ for someone of my age. And to see where the chips fall with the lady afterwards. I’m so miserable that I don’t really care what financial/emotional blowback comes, as long as I can regain the person that I used to be and love.
It just sucks to learn that the best of intentions don’t necessarily translate to positive outcomes. I still love this girl, I think we’re just at different stages in life :/
It sounds like you’re right about that, you’re in different stages in life.. Well, something’s gotta give, right? You can’t keep up like this, so it’s a matter of trying to figure out what the best way of changing is. If you can find a better job, great, but otherwise I’d tell her sorry, she’s gonna have to do something different herself, like work part time and go to school part time. It sucks but that’s how it is. I can’t get my partner to agree to what you did, so I’m just going to school as much of the time as I can. I don’t yell at him over it, even though he makes enough that if he was just better with money it’d be okay. Relationships are give and take, and it sounds like it’s unbalanced right now. Maybe a session or two with a counselor would help too. I see one regularly, and depending where you are you can find ones for free/cheap.
Best of luck. Don’t run yourself into the ground.
get out of the job I would think.
I am like Nick – it’s getting to the point where I am thinking of leaving my permanent job, with great pay, pension, conditions etc to take a temporary one without all of those things. I am frightened as I am the only wage earner for me and my son and as I own my own home, I can’t decide to go onto benefits as they only cover rent, not a mortgage. Every hour outside of work is spent worrying about going back to work.
sometimes we got to do things we dont want to, dont worry about material stuff, focus on feeling better first then can tackle the financial issues.
I’m more depressed than I have ever been and my anxiety is at its worst because I absolutely hate my job. I constantly have panic attacks during work and outside of work when thinking about having to go back. When there I’m either having a panic attack or having an inner rage because I can’t leave. I don’t know how much longer I can stay, it literally feels like I’m slowly dying everyday. It’s getting to the point of self sabotage to get myself fired. I just…I can’t do it anymore.
i know how u feel, sunday nights are the worst
Same. The worst thing is that the dread is seeping from Sunday nights into Saturday nights.
It’s only a matter of time until I spend my commute home on Friday thinking about how miserable I am going to be on Monday morning.
Might not be a good idea to self sabotage I think I have done this. I had a meltdown then went off with stress because of work situation. Issues with co-worker I became very negative and dispondent went to management to help sort situation who says we should have it out with one another we had mediation previously which never helped. I got Union involved and asked for a transfer but the whole situation and the way I was feeling has made me question if it’s the job or was it my negative attitude that lead to depression and ultimately to irrational self sabotaging behaviour. My job pays well and has good holidays but I have been really unhappy. You might be better to listen to affirmations on you tube, to change your attitude to your current job and start looking for another. I really wish I did and was more grateful. I think I might have damaged my credibility and have left on bad terms but not taking actions in a positive way either but getting a new job or changing my attitude. Good luck think happy positive thoughts.
I am pleased to read your stories as it helps me realize I’m not alone. My story begins in college. I chose my career path without much research before hand. I like numbers and math and my dad has his own business, which I liked, so I thought I would combine all that and go for accounting. Fresh out of college, ready to work, I couldn’t find a job. It was 2008-2009, just after the economy hit a real low. I took a few random jobs in education and decided I would try my luck at going back to school to get a master’s in education. My first teaching job lasted about two months. It was a disaster. I “taught” geometry to 170 tenth graders, most of whom could care less about learning. I had severe anxiety. It was awful. I quit that job, but had nightmares afterward for six months. I was too scared to set foot back in the classroom. I’ve had other random jobs since, but nothing that has stuck.
I find myself stressed and depressed over every single job. Some jobs aren’t even that difficult, but the environment or the people I work with really affect me negatively. I’ve had jobs in different fields, and I’m afraid there is no field that will work. I’m currently working as a legal assistant, and those old negative feelings are creeping in. I’ve been fighting this battle for a few years now. I really hope and pray that things turn around for all of us.
I can completely relate (also graduated 2008)… bounced around jobs, got a Masters, still have no idea what I want to do, stuck in positions that are fulfilling. Anyways, good luck and keep at it…
I am a 55 year old male.
I have just taken an early retirement from a job of 18 years with a County Social Services Department because I have been depressed about going to the job for several years now. My net income has been reduced to 50% which has created a whole new issue.
It had gotten to the point I was having panic/anxiety attacks at night because I dreaded getting up to go to the job. I had asked for help yet the managements response was cold to say the least.
I was put on trazodone by my doctor in 12-15 for sleep. It does make me tired yet I still am not having a restful night sleep.
I feel that I have failed my wife who is on disability as we now no longer have insurance as of the end of the month.
I have applied for hardship VA medical insurance yet it will take 3-4 weeks for them to decide whether I am eligible.
I obsess about not being able to find a job, the early mornings and days are the worst and it has only been a week since I took early retirement.
I have tried to reframe my thinking to the positive aspects but those even seem bleak.
Thanks for listening.
You are describing me. Anxiety that won’t go away, early mornings are the worst. I’m in the process of divorce, my whole life feels like a nightmare. I’m sorry to hear about your pain and suffering.
Do you think it will ever go away?
When did it start?
Has it progressively gotten worse?
The anxiety over the job started several years ago. I just kept dealing with it.
It got to the point that I was physically ill about going to work.
Early mornings are the worse for me and day time can be stressful also as you have all that free time to think about what has happened.
I feel that it has gotten worse yet cannot really say anything because I don’t fell my wife understands the situation we are in.
I hope it does go away yet I was in this position several years ago and it took a lot of work to get past this.
I am middle aged now and don’t really see getting a job in the near future.
I am sorry to hear about your divorce. I went through a divorce the first time this happened which was very stressful.
I hope that things will get better for you. I keep telling myself that they will it is just convincing myself of it.
My anxiety first thing in the day is crazy to. I work nights, but it takes me hours to psychologically prepare myself. I even cry in the shower, I just don’t want the day to start.
Waiting for a psychitric assessment. Hoping that may help me ??
I found this blog while doing job search.
My situation is that I had worked at my last employer , a County Human Services Department, for 18 years yet was not happy and felt I was ineffective. I asked for help but felt the response from my manager was lukewarm to say the least.
I was eligible for the rule of 70 early retirement starting in 2014 yet decided to try to hang on for the health insurance due to my spouse being disabled and only receiving Medicare.
My mood started to get even worse and was having panic/anxiety attacks at night dreading the time I had to get up and go to work. I was reaching the end of my rope.
I went to my doctor in 12-15 who prescribed me trazodone for sleep which makes me tired but does not help with a deep sleep.
Well I decided to immediately resign from my job on 01-20-16 and take the early retirement yet now my net income has been reduced to 50% and I will have no health insurance as of the end of the month.
I have applied for VA hardship medical insurance as I am a veteran. It will take them 3-4 weeks to make a decision.
I feel that I have failed my wife and myself by doing this even though logically it was probably for the best.
It has only been a week and I am stressed out about whether I will find another job or not, whether I will have medical insurance and whether I will survive this.
Thank you for listening.
Michael. I don’t know where you live or what youre opportunities are geographically, but hang in there. I too am 55 and facing some similar issues. You will be okay if you stop to consider all the good in your life. What helps when I get anxious is basically being grateful. For the roof over my head, for food in the fridge and gas in the car. That my lights and heat are on. Take this time with even with a 50 percent income, to breath and explore new avenues of employment now that you are no longer balled and chained to a job that literally made you ill. Try to remember or discover what truly interests you, what you are passionate about, who you care about. Veterans ? Animals ? Bartending ? Photography ? While it may not feel this way right now, but you did the best thing you could have done by leaving your job. What good will you be to you and your wife if you too are sick or worse. Many baby boomers are going back to school to learn new skills and doing things they love in this period of their lives. It may be scary, but I implore you to allow yourself to feel better and recover from your life sucking job so you can put your energy into an occupation that fits ! I wish you the best.
That’s great advice. I am 55 too. I work for a public agency as well. I am single and take care of animals and a home. Have no backup family wise either. I have been very depressed as I have worked in a bully toxic environment for 15 years. I need to stay at least for five more years, but maybe three – it is so unbearable. I don’t want to do anything rash. The depression and anxiety and hopelessness are almost 24/7. I am so exhausted. I have worked for cold, cliquey, mean people. Gained weight and feel like I have aged the last year or two years. So I know how you feel, but I think there is a better life. Narcissistic and psychopathic managers and enablers everywhere. It is rampant It’s important to keep it together and keep going keep moving forward. Try and add some structure to your life like exercise and write down some goals and interests and figure out a plan. Bad environments suck your spirit dry. Trick is finding what you are passionate about. I thank you for being honest as this helps to know I’m not alone.
I’m 55 as well, and work for a public social services agency. You’re not alone. I have severe depression and anxiety and cannot stomach the job and boss any longer. I literally get sick on my way to work. If I was not sole income, I’d never go back. I haven’t been there long enough to retire. After a few weeks of antidepressants, I was hoping I’d feel better. Nope.
Check out the “Life Reimagined” on the AARP website…. they have some really inspirational articles.
Hi I am 35 now and married to 9 years having 4+ year baby , my problem is that I am very introvert from childhood & had very poor academic records & had very much aggressive behavior which turn into the fights with school mates so often , by reaching at 20 or something I went into the social phobia & chronic depression so had to stop studying in regular school my depression was continue till I turned into 28 as the time passed by I got married ,the martial relationship was too involved with frequent fights with wife & just one year before I tried to commit suicide by taking care the excessive dosage of anti-depressant perhaps I was lucky enough that I could saved before anything happens to me.I see last two year from now I had frequent job changes approx 3 jobs in one year time.
I am in front line sales position & which add acute damages to my mental health since the pressure of performance & losing job always take away the mental well being now I do not want to be in this profession.
what should do I do????
I’m in the same position as you sir, minus the wife and kid. Sales jobs produce the worst kind of anxiety and stress. I have 0 job security, and today my boss even talked to me saying I should consider quitting if I felt that I was unable to handle it. I have never had a job that I hated so much or that has affected my life in such a negative way. I have worked many jobs, construction, management, teaching, etc but this job seems harder than all the others combined. Some people just aren’t meant for certain jobs. I have changed my job twice in the last 10 months. I know thought that once I find that perfect job for me life will be good. Hang in there bud, and keep the faith.
bro thats really the same position we are in, infact still i m jobless the former job I quit just b’cus i was not good in numbers even I tried to cop with the challanges but could’nt overcome the fohbia and anxiety not being good in maths as my job sought this & my boss have started scolded frequently many a times so I start developed anxiety n depression finaly had to give resgin from me
Hello I work with kids and my co workers don’t treat me well and it makes it so hard for me each day when I get up to go to work I feel sick as if I want to throw up. I get pains all over my body when I need to go into work I have bad pains, I feel like I can’t trust anyone for a while and my bosses treat me like an outsider when I try to talk to them about work problems I feel like I have to second guess my self and double check everything I do they micro manage my work I feel stupid always I am so stressed out I just don’t know what to do anymore and I need my job, but I am hurting really bad
I work with kids too and I have the same problem. The first four years at my workplace were o.k. However, all that changed when my daughter had to have surgery on her leg. I had to leave quite often at the end of the day for her physical therapy appointments. Instead of being supportive, my co-worker and teacher started bullying behaviors. One of my co-workers told me how they were saying I was acting weird. It’s like she’s here but not all there. If she doesn’t want to be here she should leave. All kind of mean and hateful things. They were angry with the fact that they had to pitch in and help. It really hurt because I was researching information about the different students we serve with special needs in order to help them more. The teacher never did this or helped with discipline. They started sitting at another table from me, ignoring me and twisting things against me. I went to the prinicipal, I had everything documented. However he wanted to brush it under the rug. I wanted to stay in the classroom and just address the problem and move on. Instead they played nice for the end of the school year. Then, they moved me out the next year. I know that they considered me the problem. It hurt so bad because I loved what I did. I truly had a passion for helping children. Then with me gone. My old teacher got a prestigious award and the next year she began a campaign about autism awareness. No once before was she ever interested remoely in this. Also, when I left that classroom you would think I would at least get a hello. Not for one year, I was ignored by this teacher as if I didn’t exsist. Now that I have a new teacher.. I confided in her as to what happened. Now, I wish I hdn’t. The old teacher is now smoozing up to my teacher and making comments like” Lets go to the meeting together, all we need is our sparkling personalities”. They are starting to become great friends. I can’t be fake. In hind site , I wish I would have by passed the principal and went higher up. They believe that this manipulative, charming woman is who she says and puts off to be, when in reality she is very afraid that I was outshining her and she wanted to get rid of me.
Anyway, I too had the same physical problems. When I went through what I did I would vomit everyday before work, burning sensation. My doctor would not up my depression anxiety medication. He felt I would just need to take prilosec and this was just normal workplace issues. I should have went somewhere else. Instead I stopped taking my medication.I felt victimized by everyone.The physical symptoms went away but are coming back, because my new teacher has asked for the old teacher opinion on placement of our kids. So the old teacher is coming in our classroom to observe. I cant be fake and act like nothing happened.
My advice is to see a docotr or therapist. If you cant afford it, get help from local resources. Find someone who will listen. Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior. You deserve the best. I decided to fake it.. I know crazy right, but I will not allow this woman or my co-worker to have the upper hand even if everyone thinks she is the most charming person in the world. Bullying in the workplace does happen.
At my part time job, I had a temporary boss for several months. I do not know how I survived!
He was a mico-mager from hell! Thats to put it nicely. He called with pop quizes. And god forbid if you didn’t know the answer he would make me feel stupid. He was known to give e-mails everyday with a list of everything for every team member. He would call relentlessly asking what we were doing, etc. Do not second guess yourself. Remember you are smart! Micomanagers do this, its part of their nature. If you have a list of duties to do, document them or leave a e-mail trail! If you come with an idea send it in a e-mail. This way they cant steal ideas or credit. Dont feel bad for asking questions, write down the answers. Be confident.
I would love to hear how you are doing!!
wow I sure understand what you are saying. I feel the same way. Everything you are saying exactly. Bully environment it sounds like and specifically you may work with narcissists.
I have never posted or responded to a blog, but this topic has touched my life and I want to share how I have not only coped, but actually thrived. I have had jobs that have caused or led to significant depression. The jobs caused me outright anxiety, a panic attack that I was sure was a heart attack, many sleepless nights, crushing loneliness by not having any friendships or support where I was working, chronic diarrhea, weightloss, and listlessness where I was dragging myself through the day just to appear to get by. In the span of three years I had three job changes because I felt so unsupported, lonely, disregarded and simply out of place. These feelings only added to deeper drespression. I really wondered if I would ever be a valued and productive team member in my professional career ever again. The lack of professional fulfillment, contribution, and being a part of a team made me feel so broken. But my story does not end there. There were some crucial events and people that helped me get out the deep hole. One was the right combination and dosage of medication. It took some time and adjustments, but I have found a combination of three meds that help me deal with the negative, cynical people I do face at work. The second part was finding an excellent pyschologist who helped me learn that sometimes there are really ugly people at work and ugly situations that you can’t fix and you don’t deserve to suffer through. My counselor also taught me how to begin to trust people again and that not everyone you meet at work has manipulative intent. The third event that helped was that I found a supportive Director in a new role for me that finally was a good fit for me. The take home points: don’t give up–there is a positive work place for everyone and you don’t need to go through life suffering because of your work. Sometimes medication is needed to help point you in a positive direction. Also, don’t let your professional work alone define you. Don’t let your job consume your every waking minute. I was once letting my job and all of the negative cramp going on at work take complete control of me. Remember, we are so much more than what we do for a living.
Wow!That was relieving annie.Thanks for sharing.It’s good to know that there are many people going through the same situation.
Thank you Annie this made me feel a lot better and not as alone. You’re basically describing my exact situation right now . i had been avoiding going back on medication but my depression and anxiety is getting so bad I don’t think I can make it without the help of medication and going back to therapy.
Hi to all.
2.5 Yrs. ago, I performed self sabotage with the plan to get fired from an abusive work environment. With the help of a psychiatrist, I decided on a voluntary hospital admission immediately. For the 3 days in hospital., I wrote to help process how I got to that point in life. The next 1.5 years, I rehabilitated myself with the help of many others and medication. I now work 3 jobs…doing similar, but different things at each one…my career has been in office nursing. I’ve always functioned at a very high level, however, feel that functioning at my usual level is a struggle. Although I’m proud of getting myself back together, I feel myself spiralling down again because its challenging dealing with the shifting of moving from job to job different days of the week. I enjoy the people and the work I do in the small office at one of my jobs, which is 2 days/wk. My husband is fully supportive. What’s your advice to me…any help is appreciated.
Almost 6 months ago I moved across country to take a new job. I thought it was sort of a dream opportunity: a job in a cutting edge area of environmental law (solar energy), a warmer sunnier region of the country, away from my then toxic workplace that had left me sad and hopeless, and my partner left his miserable job to come with me. It sounds great, right? Wrong. My partner is still heavy on the job hunt, so I’m the breadwinner for now. That would be fine if didn’t hate my current work so much. After just over a month or so, I realized how much I hate this work.
At my previous workplace, I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing my unhappiness: the toxic workplace or just the nature of the work itself. Now that I’m in a positive work environment, I realize that it’s the work itself (being a lawyer) that I hate. I also realize now that this work has caused or contributed to depression. I didn’t think of it as depression until recently when I realized that I have an overwhelming sense of emptiness and hopelessness every time I think about going to the office. I don’t sleep well. I crave unhealthy food constantly. At the office, I’m always tired, totally unproductive, and sometimes even on the verge of tears. My libido has gone downhill. I am just so unhappy and sad most of the time (like for weeks and sometimes months) and almost unable to believe that I can change anything about this situation. I’m scared that folks at work will begin to see it, and I can’t afford to lose my job right now, nor do I want to burn bridges by resigning too soon.
I’m seeing a counselor and hoping to talk to him about this more. But it’s just so hard to get through every day at the office. Yet when I do the work I actually love–working on my novel and working on my web business–I can do it all day long and hardly ever feel tired or uneasy. I’m trying to turn what I love into a career, but my day job as a lawyer is just sucking out all my energy and hope. I don’t know what to do and how much longer I can keep up the facade. I’m scared.
Hi I started a new job 4 months ago and noticed that this was when most of my troubles appeared. It was supposed to be the dream job the most amazing company and great pay. But I was lonelier than ever. You walk in say hello no one answers everyone is in their own world with their own ppl
Doing their own thing. A simple coffee lunch nothing I’m Completely ignored almost like I don’t exist!! I wanna try and make it work and earn the big bucks but it’s hard going in 8 hours a day and having no one in your team speak to you. I speak to myself in my cubicle. Friday comes everyone is out to lunch no ones xls me to come I feel so isolated so lonley but I’m trying to make it work. I kept trying till I collapsed and now I don’t know what to do
This is me in my job I’ve been here for 4 yrs everyday I’m by myself eat by myself socialise myself there are ppl that do work here but after so long i’ve lost all motivation to do minor and easy tasks avoid ppl but can’t leave as im the income for my family!
do not stress.
good on you!
you work hard.
be proud of yourself.
focus on what you have done. be grateful for your stamina and determination.
regards to eating with others… call up a friend using face time and it will feel like you have someone to eat lunch with. put on inspiring music or join a live webcam group seminar on personal motivation, that way you can eat your lunch in the presence of other people too and see a community of people..
I have been struggling with a relatively new form of depression and anxiety which I believe is a result of being prompted into a completely wrong career back in college. There are so many pressures from my parents generation to my generation about moving from their blue collar background towards a professional, college degree carrying career — and this has apparently weighed on me heavily. Where I am now though, I feel like I would be better suited to work in a trade. I’ve never been the type to feel anxious (although sadness isnt a stranger), yet this career I am in has me nearly in a panick every day before going into work. I am a registered nurse who worked two years on a stepdown unit and am now in a new hospital in the ICU, hoping that a change like this would ameliorate some issues that I had identified in my previous position. It hasn’t. Now my stressors are literally life and death (well even more so than my previous job) on top of all the other junk that goes along with a work place. I have completely muddied up an ultimately muddy situation and am really grasping at straws here. I’ve been through a career counselor who helped me take and translate a MBTI (ISTJ) and needless to say nursing doesn’t fall in there. I so much just want to quit and work in a cube somewhere, cut off from so many people and performing a monotonous task that doesn’t really affect anybody. I literally envy the people working the shop I get my coffee from before work. Now I’m thinking of going back to school to train for a trade or some other degree like sonography but I don’t know. Will I be moserable there too? Am I destined to be miserable forever?
As most of you have already expressed, I too feel trapped at my workplace and found this post very useful and the comments very reassuring. I am 26 years old and work as an Engineer in a mill, and although my coworkers and boss are incredible people I just don’t find the work rewarding enough. We work long hours, are constantly stressed but this being my first job I don’t feel like I have enough experience to get another good job in the short future. I have always been a person that follows her passion and I give 120% into everything I do, but with this job and now with depression I struggle to do the most mundane things and I don’t enjoy it.
I’m also the main provider, financially speaking, because my partner just started his teaching career and he is an on call teacher which does not give him enough work to support us at this time. I have been applying for other jobs and I’m even considering switching careers, but in the meantime I jist want to be able to cope and I guess learn to live with depression until I am able to make those life changes.
Only recently I realized I indeed suffered from depression, and I am really still working to fully accept it yet alone understand it. This blog has been a lighthouse in the dark and I read through it every day to continue to learn and also read other peoples stories. It is such a relief to know I’m.not the only one and that there are reasons behind what I’m experiencing. So thanks to everyone who ha shared their life and of course to John for giving us the space to communicate safely.
I’m happy to see that there are still posts going on this year, I can’t believe how far back some of these go but it is incredible to see how depression remains a reality for many of us.
Sending best wishes to everyone,
** Karen **
Hi, I’m 51 and from the UK. I’ve been signed off work by my doctor for the past month after the Black Dog of depression again bit me on the ***. I’ve been working in the social care field for almost 30 years, the past 8 as a front line social worker and I just can’t cope anymore- too many service cuts, too much stress and too many people in often terrible circumstances expecting me to produce a magic wand to make everything OK. I feel emotionally drained and numbed by it all and just can’t entertain going back to work as a social worker. My wife has been very supportive but I feel trapped as I am the main wage earner but my job is killing me. I just don’t know what to do but I can’t go back.
Hi Paul, I’m a social worker too – so you will know not to expect anything useful or helpful from me! I’m in my mid-40s and am writing from Scotland. I’ve been in social care and social work for 24 years. The last 15 years of that I have been a social worker in a community care (sector) team. I’ve actually been a part-timer for the past 8 years due to childcare reasons…but being part-time has, somewhat paradoxically, felt even more challenging, intense and stressful than full-time work.
I am currently off work with stress/anxiety and have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve been off since early July which seems a bit surreal because I had only three days sick leave in the 15 years prior to that.
I can relate so much to what you wrote. Social work has always been “high effort- low impact” job in my experience, but as budgets have tightened and demand has grown this seems to have become evermore pronounced. I’m a perfectionist (not through choice, that’s just the way my brain works!) and the fact that I slog my guts out for more and more people with less and less benefit to them has hurt for a long time. Intellectually, I understand that the economic and political context ties my hands hugely (almost completely!) but I can’t help feeling inadequate, harassed, embarrassed, incompetent, guilty, fearful and angry. Ultimately, trying to manage these feelings whilst playing the role of an efficient, responsive and concerned professional has caused, or at least “contributed”, to something akin to a mental implosion in me…so that “numbness” that you feel is very, very much something that I can relate to.
Things in the public sector are going to get tighter and tougher…there’s no question about that. The thought of continuing in a role that, by it’s very nature, makes me feel like I’m a failure and a fraud fills me with fear and dread. Unfortunately, my initial investigations into possible alternatives have NOT given me much hope.
I didn’t mean to finish on such a downer! Oops!
Thank you Paul for sharing your feelings…it has helped me realise I’m not the only middle-aged social worker in this situation. It has encouraged me (for the first time) to contribute to one of these blogs or chains or threads or whatever the yoofs call them!
Whatever route you go down I hope it works out well for you and your family. All the best.
I’ve dealt with depression on and off most of my life. I’m in dire need for advice. I resigned from my position a little over a week ago. I found myself crying all the time and suffering from severe mood swings. I know I need help. I have an appointment with a counselor next week. Just recently, I was given a good job offer but I’m so indecisive over taking it. I feel I need to focus on my mental health before I get into another job but am worried that another one like this won’t come my way. My husband is super supportive and was rooting for me to leave my job and take some months off to get the help I need. He’s says he’s worried for me and that if I keep down this road things are going to get worse. They have in the past. I’ve cut myself, taken too many pills, have had manic outbursts, etc. I’m not mentally ready to go back to work but it’s a decent offer. My health or a job? Ugghhh!! I can’t stand what I’m going through. Help!
Your health sweetie… your health! Another job will come your way and you will feel confident to do well if you take the time you need.
I’m 36 years old and I’m realizing you can’t continue to do things you hate for money. It will destroy your health. Your health is the most valuable asset you have. I’m with Donna, choose your health.