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How To Cope With Depression At Work

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/work-and-depression_n_5823534

huffpost.com

How To Cope With Depression At Work
By Lisa Esposito for US News Chances are, someone at your workplace has depression. It could be a co-worker; it could be you. 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.

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Recognize the signs

  • You're tired all the time. 
  • Cooperating with colleagues takes an enormous effort. 
  • You keep your office door shut and interact with your computer. 
  • It's hard to concentrate and impossible to summon up a positive attitude. 
  • Your productivity is down the drain.
  • Deadlines don't motivate you.
  • You're calling in sick or you're burying yourself in tasks to avoid your emotions. 

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Take a mental health break

It's hard when you can't function as well as you're used to, but slogging on doesn't work when you're in a downward spiral. 

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. That might mean the difference between me not having a mental health breakdown, or needing to take additional time off.

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Find treatment

"Depression is no different from any other chronic condition," says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. 

"To stay with it and maintain an independent and productive life -- it's important to identify it, get the appropriate treatment and then stick with that treatment." 

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Workplace insurance

With chronic conditions -- like depression -- you have workplace protections against discrimination. 

Many workplaces have employee assistance programs that include confidential mental health services. Also, look into your health insurance coverage for treatment including counseling and medication.

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Telling your boss

Before you disclose your diagnosis, it helps to assess your relationship with your boss and to determine how much information you feel comfortable sharing. 

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Take care of your body

  • Get enough sleep at night.
  • Nourish yourself properly – even when it's difficult to put food in your mouth.
  • 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.

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Office parties

Withdrawal is a symptom of depression, not a solution. Work-social gatherings meant to be fun can feel more like torture. 

You might be able to manage five minutes, maybe catch up on a work discussion with a colleague in a quiet corner, then leave. If you've shared your struggle with an office buddy or two, they can help by hanging out with you away from the action.

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Tap into peer support 

If you're not dealing with depression but want to be more attuned to your colleagues, step away from the computer every so often. 

Just walk the hall, poke your head in a few offices and say hello... It never does more harm than good to ask how somebody's doing: 'You seem a little low today; is everything OK?'

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Reach out to loved ones

Depression can run in families, and some of your relatives may have already been there themselves. They may be further along in managing their condition and can give you pointers on how to get through the day. 

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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 and prepare in advance. 

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Know when to seek help

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." 

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Be easy on yourself

You're not alone – and once you start talking about this condition, you'll find that there are more people who are sympathetic to you than those who are critical.

While you're being proactive about treatment, take it one day at a time and be very gentle with yourself.

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The Invisible Illness Called Depression

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The Manifestations Of Depression

  • Women under depression usually exhibit sadness, guilt, hormonal changes, among other seemingly unrelated symptoms.
  • Men can get irritable, exhausted and start having sleep issues. They then get into drugs and alcohol, or start to overwork in order to distract themselves.
  • Kids under depression usually start to sulk, feel lonely and misunderstood, or have long periods of irritability.

Mindfulness As Part Of Treatment

The common treatments of depression are antidepressant medications and therapy, which has a large relapse rate.


However, if mindfulness is part of the treatment, the relapse rate declines. What is being pointed out is that mindfulness is effective when it is part of a treatment, and not so much on its own.

one more idea

Reach out and stay connected

You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking

Staying connected to ot...

How to reach out for support

  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. They just need to be a good listener.
  • Make face-time a priority. Talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Find ways to support others. 
  • Caring for a pet can get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed.
  • Join a support group for depression. 

Do things that make you feel good

Do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

Get Help

Working with a therapist or support group is the best way to help you cope with your symptoms, which in turn will help you better manage your professional life.

Find Support

It’s key to find trusted friends or family who can support you through this difficult time. 

Participating in a depression and anxiety therapy group is a great way to learn coping strategies for the workplace from other participants.

Set Clear Goals

  • Set very clear goals for yourself and be realistic about what you would be able to accomplish. Do it on a daily basis.
  • Create lists for the day and highlight your top priorities.
  • Double-check any important memos, give yourself extra time to prepare assignments, and have a colleague give your work a second look.
The road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.