A Terrible Melancholy is a documentary about lawyers with depression, but it’s relevant to anyone trying to understand more about the illness. Dan Lukasik, a lawyer who has lived with depression for the past ten years, produced the film to encourage others in his profession to seek help. The message is on target for anyone […]
Revisiting: Real Depressed Men Don’t Cry
This is an edited version of one of the first posts I wrote for Storied Mind. ………. I’m not sure where the following came from, but it turned up on my cyber doorstep recently. I guess some men have trouble living up to their fantasies: Ok, everybody knows depressed people have these outbursts of grief […]
The Labor and Life of Gardening
My wife keeps expanding and adding variety to the gardens at our house. For her, they’re a labor of love, rewarding and fulfilling for the work they require. But growing hundreds of different plants calls for constant attention. The basics demand hard labor. There are the piles of plant remains to be turned and sifted. […]
Recovery Stories: Tony Giordano
Every story about depression is a little different. But when you can see the big picture, a lot of parallels start to appear. Although I had gone through some rough spots here and there, my life was moving along alright overall until depression struck in my mid-forties. When I learned I was clinically depressed, I […]
Trying to Work When Depressed
(Note: Since this post appeared, the Recover Life from Depression site has been combined with this one. The posts referred to are now at Storied Mind, and the links below will take you to them.) I’ve recently completed a series of posts at the Recover Life site about handling the effects depression at work. I’ve […]
Depression at Work-3: Should You Change Your Job or Your Life?
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.
Depression at Work-2: What You Can Do
If depression is disrupting your work life, there are a number of things you can try in order to keep yourself going – and hold onto your job. Doing anything when deeply depressed, however, is never easy. Depression takes away the energy and motivation you need to act. But if your co-workers, supervisor or clients start noticing that you’re not delivering what they need, you may have little choice.
I don’t want to imply that these are surefire methods, but they’re worth considering. If none of them work, you might have to consider more drastic action, and I’ll talk about that in the next post in this series. It made sense to me, when I was going through this crisis, to try everything, starting with the simplest approach I could think of and working from there.
One of the few guides I’ve found for understanding the options is the excellent Working in the Dark: Keeping Your Job While Dealing with Depression, by Fawn Fitter and Beth Gulas. It’s a highly useful, insightful and encouraging overview of steps you can take, much of it based on Fawn Fitter’s own experience. I’ve adapted some of her advice for this post, and added what I’ve learned.
Depression at Work-1: Symptoms
One of the worst problems brought on by depression was its crippling effect on my work life. (I’ve written about it on Storied Mind.) When I finally understood that the crisis arose from the illness, I could at least get a little comfort from learning that I was not alone. And neither are you.
On a given day, there are millions of people all over the globe running into trouble at work because of depression. The World Health Organization has found that it is the second most prevalent cause of lost time at work. In the US and several European countries, as many as 20 percent of office workers could be losing time right now because of depression.
Many people who suddenly start losing the job skills they’ve depended on for years may have no idea that depression is the cause.