My Job is Making Me Sick and Depressed – What Should I Do?

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You wake up to the sound of the alarm clock. You look at your clock at least three times, not wanting the day to begin. And you should feel refreshed, but it’s like a cycle of despair every day. You realize that you have to prepare for your job. The first word that comes into your head is … “Crap!

You know that it’s Monday and they have to go to work. The workplace with the power-tripping boss. Performing the same monotonous task throughout the eight-hour day. The mere thought of going into work mentally drains you.

You might feel this way every time you get up to go to your current workplace. The thing to remember is that you’re not the only one experiencing this feeling.

There are many people experiencing this same feeling and becoming more depressed as the days go by. But there are ways either to overcome those feelings to make your work days better.

The Numbers Are Staggering

A person stressed at work
Depression is affecting people worldwide at an alarming rate. In the workplace, this has a negative effect on productivity, putting trillions of dollars at risk. 

It’s depressing to just look at the number of workers in the United States alone and see how many are going through depression or stress. The numbers are astounding.

Many adults today feel sick, stressed, or depressed when it’s time to go to work. According to The American Institute of Stress 83% of workers in the US suffer from stress caused by the workplace. Mental health isn’t just a problem for employees, it affects businesses as well. According to the WHO, around one trillion dollars are lost per year due to depression in the workplace alone.

With these alarming statistics, it begs the question: “What is the workforce doing to resolve this issue?”

Many companies have employee assistance programs (EAP) to provide their workers with resources just in case they feel depressed. However, while research exists that demonstrates that EAPs are effective, the evidence is controversial.

Employers have to be aware of the importance of mental health and self-care for employees. Providing a positive work environment has shown that it produces positive effects on the productivity of the company. According to the WHO, every one dollar invested in mental health programs pays for itself four times over.

Sometimes clinical depression results from a chemical imbalance, which no individual has control over. But 80% of individuals diagnosed with clinical depression can actually be treated successfully according to Mental Health America.

However, we only have so much control over the companies that we work for. It’s important to take care of ourselves, even if our current boss won’t. The first step in this process is determining what we are dealing with.

How Do I Know If I’m Depressed?

A person in a darkened room
Many people don’t know they are suffering from depression, and often mistake it as just a period of bad days.

Of course, everyone has a bad day every now and then. You are human and entitled to that; it’s a part of human nature. Few people, if any, can realistically claim they’ve never felt sad or stressed. In fact, bad days and mistakes can be a useful resource for us as workers.

When the bad days become a constant and affect your overall health and mindset, this is when you need to consider getting some help. It may possibly be depression or severe stress.

There are many symptoms that can be signs of depression. The following are some of the most common signs of depression among adults.

  • Long bouts of fatigue
  • Thoughts of hopelessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in appearance and weight
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Impulsive thoughts

Of course, the most severe symptom of depression is thoughts of self-harm. Around 11% of those suffering from depression will succumb to self-harm if left untreated.

If you are just feeling like you cannot deal with your daily routine, including your work, more than likely you are suffering depression or a serious form of stress. Once you recognize it, it’s time to do something about it.

What Do I Do If I Feel Depressed?

People holding hands in a supportive way
Many workers fear they may lose their jobs if they say they’re depressed. Speaking up and asking for help is the first step towards treatment.

Many workers are afraid to reach out for help if they think they’re depressed. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, the best first step to take is reaching out for help.

Solutions for depression depend on each individual. It’s strongly recommended to get help from a licensed mental health professional rather than self diagnosing. Not everyone has a connection with one, so if you don’t have a doctor already, try asking understanding family members and friends for resources, find help through an online resource, or via your insurance company.

Another important step is to research your employer’s EAP to see if it can help you. While EAPs should not be the sole resource for treatment, it helps to begin the treatment process for a depressed person.

For nearly everyone, there are some simple suggestions that can help, such as practicing mindfulness, which can be enough for those with mild cases. However, it’s important to keep in mind that for many these suggestions may not be a solution. Some of these helpful suggestions could include trying a better exercise routine, improving one’s diet, spirituality, or even getting a pet.

For others, if workplace stress doesn’t seem to go away with help, it may be time to find a new workplace. Some companies simply do not offer enough help or put too much stress on their employees, and the only solution is to move on.

Finally, for many, depression and stress can be a serious affliction and can often stem from a brain chemical imbalance. For these people, environmental changes aren’t enough, and prescription medication taken at the advice of a professional may be an effective solution.

Conclusion

Remember that it’s okay to not be okay in your daily life. Your life is going to be filled with ups and downs, including in your work environment.

There’s many resources and practices available to you to help with depression, but it’s up to you to reach out. Avoiding warning signs can and will make your problem worse. Reach out today to get the help you need.

Author: Artur Myster