Like me, I'm sure you've heard the popular advice "fake it 'til you make it" at least once in your life. While it may help you get ahead in your career, I believe it will not serve you in the case of depression. I say this because I've suffered the consequences of this toxic mindset in my depression journey -- and I hope I can help you avoid this fate.
Depression – Work and Bipolar or Depression
In recent years, constant connectivity and hustle culture have made it difficult for us to define boundaries between work and life. Now that many of us are working from home owing to the coronavirus pandemic-induced social distancing, the lines have become more blurred than ever.
Thinking traps, also known as cognitive distortions, are exaggerated or unbalanced thinking patterns that negatively impact mental and emotional health. While thinking traps are common and can affect anyone from time to time, people living with bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety are especially susceptible. The following are three common thinking traps that I often find myself caught in, especially in relation to my job: all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and labeling/mislabeling.
When a celebrity dies by suicide, the reports that follow tend to focus on different versions of the same question: how could someone with such an awesome life be so unhappy? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Fatigue at work often interferes with your job when you have depression. When you are constantly exhausted, it’s hard to focus on your job, and depending on what you do, this can be dangerous. If fatigue because of depression at work is a problem for you, it’s important to take steps to manage it. In this post, I will go over habits to establish to help you manage exhaustion, as well as some quick tips for dealing with fatigue at work.
Making friends at work when you have depression is important because social support is an integral part of a healthy life. Even the most introverted among us need friends. Depression inherently affects the way we interact with others. Feelings of loneliness are a common sign of depression and the symptoms of depression often result in the desire to isolate yourself, which only further compounds the feeling of being alone. It can feel impossible to reach out when you're depressed, but if you can establish a healthy support network, you have a lifeline during moments when it feels like depression is encompassing your whole world. This is particularly beneficial at work, where you spend most of your time. This is why it’s in your best interest to try to make friends at work, even with depression.
Setting boundaries at work is important, but, as someone with depression, I have often struggled to set boundaries. It’s an important part of self-care when you’re depressed, but it’s not always easy, especially at work. You need to advocate for yourself, but you also don’t want to risk being fired, and if you also have an anxiety disorder like me, that might be a very real fear. That being said, if you are proactive and communicate clearly and professionally, you can successfully set boundaries at work and be happier and healthier for doing so.
Sometimes you have to talk to your boss about depression. It might be difficult for you to imagine talking to some of your friends about your depression, much less your boss. Personally, I have disclosed my depression to my bosses at several different jobs, and it was never easy, but it was always worth it. Before you jump into this tough conversation, there are several factors you should consider.
Being self-employed presents a number of challenges. If you compound being self-employed with having a mental illness, it can be a very difficult dynamic. However, the dynamic may work better than a traditional employment situation for someone 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.