How to recognise depression and work through it
Depression is a clinical condition which affects many people in the UK each year.
There are many causes, but work-related stress is something that is known to be one of the factors to look out for.
Depression at work is a hard condition to diagnose yourself, even if you have been diagnosed professionally in the past.
If you think you might be suffering, then learn how to recognise depression and work through it by identifying these symptoms:
- Lack of a good night's sleep.
- Inability to get up in the morning.
- Lethargy or lack of vitality during the day.
- Overeating or, conversely, under eating.
- Aches and pains which cannot be explained.
- Moving slower than usual.
- Increased uptake of alcohol.
In addition to these physical symptoms, depression can affect your behaviour, thoughts and feelings.
Other tell-tale signs that you might be suffering from a bout of depression include:
- Becoming agitated or tearful more quickly than usual.
- Gaining a sense of isolation from friends, family and colleagues.
- Loss of libido.
- Failing to enjoy things that you usually would.
- Finding it difficult to speak up.
- Loss of self-confidence.
- Developing a bleak perspective of the future.
- Lack of concentration.
Left unchecked, symptoms like these can have a very negative impact on your ability to work.
They can fracture your good working relationships with clients, colleagues and even your manager.
You might find that your inability to communicate makes you seem disinterested or that the difficulty you have with concentrating leads to errors in your work.
In some cases, it could mean you keep turning up to work late and then not getting on with things effectively when you do arrive.
Coping with depression at work
The first step in handling depression at work is to recognise it for what it is.
Being depressed need not be permanent and the symptoms can be alleviated if you are correctly diagnosed.
You should seek professional medical advice and this – in most cases – means booking an appointment with your GP.
Don't be worried about taking time off work to do this.
It could be time that is well spent and allows you to cope in the long run thereby avoiding a longer stint off work later because matters have been allowed to get too far.
As well as seeking professional assistance, there are several things you can try which may help you to deal with depression.
Many will help you to continue functioning in your job. These tips include:
- Taking regular physical exercise. By working out, your body releases natural chemicals which can improve your state of mind and overall positivity.
- Removing stress from your life. This could be by reassessing your work-life balance or dealing with work-related anxieties in new ways.
- Keeping in contact. Although it may feel like a tough thing to do, making contact with old and trusted friends can help you to cope. A short phone call or text is often enough to get the ball rolling.
- Taking better care of yourself. If you have let your appearance slip, then try to make yourself feel better by dressing smartly and preparing for work each day with care.
- Switching to a healthy diet. Many professionals agree that healthy eating can have benefits for the state of your mental health.
- Writing reminder notes. Depression can cause you to be distracted, so a good coping mechanism is to write down key things on sticky notes or a pad.
- Reducing alcohol intake. Along with caffeine and tobacco, alcohol can make depression worse for many people so lessen your weekly consumption.
Along with these self-help tips a clinical diagnosis of depression may mean you can access further support.
Typical treatments for depression include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, group therapy and psychotherapy.
In many cases such treatments can fit in around your work commitments.
Remember, depression does not need to be final.
Share your situation with those closest to you and seek the appropriate professional help to find yourself on the right path to a better life.