Things to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Career While Living with Depression
Many individuals that live with major depressive disorder decide to pursue a career despite their sometimes debilitating illness. If you are interested in working, you should consider several things regarding your choice in employment. In order to increase the likelihood of success, it is imperative that you choose a job that best suits you and how your depression manifests.
When you are thinking about what type of work you want to take on, ask yourself the following questions:
Is This a Job That I Will Enjoy?
It is very rewarding to be paid to do something that you enjoy. It is also easier to push yourself and perform when the work is enjoyable. If your depression gets severe enough to affect your functioning, it is important that you try to find a career that is pleasing. When you like what you do, it can be effortless to do your job which is just what you need if you are in a depressive slump.
Am I Qualified for the Job?
Be sure that you are qualified and prepared to take on the job you are considering. It is fine to challenge yourself and not select a job that has very little degree of difficulty but do not push yourself too much. Make sure you are able to do all aspects of the job without difficulty. Stress is known to bring on depressive episodes. Feeling incompetent and underqualified will not help your self-esteem or productivity.
Does the Job Have Any Triggers For My Depression?
Be familiar with what triggers your depression and familiarize yourself with the particulars of the job. Make sure that the job will not consistently trigger your depression. For example, if you know that your depressive episodes are brought on or exacerbated by darkness, isolation and high stress situations, you would not want to accept a position that has you working in a poorly lit office with little-to-no co-workers to interact with and has a very demanding workload with time sensitivity. Ask questions about the job or industry you are considering to find out what the environment and pace is like.
Will the Job Give Me the Flexibility I Need If I Become Unwell?
If your depression is anything like mine, you will have periods of time that you are unable to function or when you are not at your best. When this happens, you will want a job that will work with you during your down time and not crack down on you at the first sign of trouble. If the job is so demanding that there is no room for mental health days or periods of lower productivity, you should really consider if that will work for you. You want to be fair to your employer and yourself.
The above mentioned questions are important questions to ask yourself. It is not easy to maintain a career while living with depression which is why depression is one of the leading causes of disability with Social Security Administration. If you are going to challenge yourself and work, make it as feasible as possible by being wise in your selection of career. People with mental illness have made significant contributions to the workforce and society. Pat yourself on the back. You are very courageous and strong to try to work. If you find that it doesn’t work out for you, that’s okay too. We are all survivors trying to do our best to live as normally as possible.
Barrett, C. (2014, December 14). Things to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Career While Living with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2014/12/things-to-ask-yourself-when-choosing-a-career-while-living-with-depression
Author: Charity Barrett
Thank you for writing this article! I've been searching for actionable tips on how to decide if my job is hindering or helping my depression. This, in addition to similar pieces you've written, has redefined how I should be thinking about the best option for myself and wellbeing. I can never fully express how much this has helped!!!