Living With Depression is a Full-Time Job
Being broke and having depression go hand-in-hand. I'm really sick of it. Even if money can't buy happiness, it can buy basic necessities like food and shelter. It's pretty hard to be happy without those things. I need more money, but my symptoms of depression make finding a job really difficult.
While the average person in their twenties focuses on building a resume, I've been focused on surviving my depression. Instead of attending post-secondary school, I've been in depression treatment, learning about my own experiences and how to cope in everyday life. Living with depression is a full time job.
Depression and Gaps on my Resume
Yet, I don't exactly want to put that on my resume because I'm afraid that employers will judge me by my depression diagnosis. They might think I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, so, therefore, I'll be unreliable. They might assume that I feel hopeless all the time, so, maybe I'd complain a lot and be overly pessimistic at work. In reality, I'm a very reliable person who has an optimistic demeanor, no matter how I feel on the inside. If only I could get an interview, I feel like I could demonstrate that. Yet big gaps in my employment history dissuade most people from giving me a chance.
I can't hide depression on my resume because the only job experience I have is related to my depression. My first job was working for a mental health organization who focused on youth. I told my story of depression and my willingness to do so to educate others got me the job.
Writing for HealthyPlace is something I'm proud to have on my resume, as is maintaining my personal blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living With Depression, for over three years. Both of these jobs are related to my depression. So my depression does help me professionally, I guess, in some circumstances.
I still don't have enough money to eat three meals a day, though. It's not enough.
You Can Help Fight Depression Stigma in the Workplace
I can only hope that depression awareness continues to build and that stigma surrounding mental illness begins to dissipate in our society. Depression affects everyone, no matter your success level in the working world. Maybe my next boss has known depression herself and knows that diagnosis doesn't define a person or their work skills.
I can't let my hopelessness stand in the way of looking for a job that can ensure my survival on a financial level. Having a good job would bring meaning to my life, allow me to interact with others more frequently, and boost my self-esteem. It would help me fight my depression.
If you know someone who has depression, don't discount them as participators in life. Help them stay connected, give them opportunities, and remember that they may just be able to offer your team of coworkers essential survival skills that apply to the world as a whole. We're stronger than you might think.
You can also find Erin Schulthies on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and her blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living with Depression.
Schulthies, E. (2014, September 25). Living With Depression is a Full-Time Job, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2014/09/living-with-depression-is-a-full-time-job
Author: Erin Schulthies
I've been homeless twice, which is in a way a blessing, because I now know that I can survive that too.
The one constant upon which I have been able to rely has been my faith. I have never been without some glimmer of hope. Even in the darkest times of suicidal thoughts and oppressive fatigue, a still small voice always reminds me, "this too, shall pass"!
And for everyone here who has, is, or will be faced with this illness, I offer my prayers and support. God bless!
About the employment gaps...all you have to say is that you took time away from work for medical reasons and you have your doctor's clearance to go back to work. Legally, a potential employer is not allowed to ask you for specifics. It also helps to put things you've done during the gap to show that you weren't just sitting around and doing nothing. I struggled with this, too, because I thought that being honest and open about my own diagnoses would help, but it's worked against me. I know your frustration: I feel it, too. I have gone back to school, which will help me when I look for a job.
You're currently in the trap I was in: the "all or nothing" thinking. The depression is the one telling you that nobody will hire you because you have a medical condition. It's the depression that's making a big deal out of your depression. (Depression is kind of narcissistic that way.) It took me a long time to get past that thinking process, because I realized that when I was thinking that way, the depression was in charge and not me. Depression is a liar and I could choose to listen to a liar or I could choose to ignore the lies. (Which we know is easier said than done, but not impossible.)
Good luck to you. I hate this stigma as much as you do.
I have also posted your article on my site, hope you don't mind.
Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you liked the article. However, all HealthyPlace content is copyrighted and cannot be duplicated without expressed, written consent. Please remove it at your earliest convenience.
Although I have bipolar not depression I too can relate to problems caused by gaps in employment history. Whether to disclose and face possible discrimination or to do my best to hide it is a tricky issue for me. I am now only planning to go for consumer/peer work positions in mental health. I am not in paid work now, but when I can (my physical health has been bad as of late) I do three days of more a week volunteering in mental health. I am doing research and finally getting to use the skills I got at university. It's still hard for me not to be ashamed and blame myself for not having paid work
In Australia many consumers are living in poverty. There is a lot of stigma and discrimination around mental health and Disability Employment Services make matters worse. Many consumers are forced to use one by Centrelink (otherwise they take away your 'dole' called Newstart (ironically). They get paid $725 million per annum by the government (they are private) and they get less then 20% of their clients work. We have one of the lowest rates of consumers working in OECD countries.
Although I am so much luckier then that my partner and I can't get a home loan because I exist. As a single man they will lend him $150k more then if he is with me so economically I am $150k less then worthless. Although I believe my mental illness had helped me become a better person I feel like a financial burden in those I love because I could not get paid work. I am greatful my partner and my parents help me have a good quality of life.