• Wed, May 15 - 11:55 am ET

What To Do When You Have Anxiety And Depression At Work

Dealing-with-depression-at-workAuthor: Claire Smith

What do you do when you have experienced debilitating anxiety and bouts of depression? The secret is to treat it as if it’s a physical illness. Take it seriously, and resolve that no matter what you have to do to get through it, you can still be successful at work.

I made a promise to myself years ago that I was going to find happiness. As cliche as it is (who doesn’t want to be happy?), I knew that it was not going to be an easy hill to conquer. I’ve battled with depression for as long as I can remember. I go for months feeling confident and secure with my place in the world, and then something will happen and it will trigger a downward spiral. Getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Having a conversation is exhausting. Everything makes you sad. But the world keeps spinning and I have to keep moving. I have a job, familial responsibilities, and friends. I have bills to pay, and emails to answer, and phone calls to make. I have to keep moving. I had to learn how to keep fighting for happiness while still maintaining the status quo at work. The best piece of advice I can give you is to recognize triggers that send you spiraling, and identify tools that help you climb back up.

For me, I set small goals. I know that running, writing, sleep, and music are some of my tools. So when I’m in a rut, I wake up early and run before work. That’s my time to be with my thoughts before I put them away and focus on my job. I write in a journal once a week at a wine bar near my apartment. I disappear into the pages of my book and don’t look at my phone. I find music that soothes my anxiety and I play it every chance I get—on the subway, in the shower, before bed. And I sleep. I let my dreams capture my anxieties and depression and then I write them down.

I also go to therapy once a week. I go in the morning before work and spend 45 minutes talking about all the things I’ve kept locked up during the week when I have my job face on. Therapy is not for everyone, but in conjunction with all the other tools I’ve developed it most certainly has helped me cope and made me a stronger person.

To finish reading this post, head on over to Levo League.
To finish reading this post, head on over to Levo League.

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  • stephgob

    Thank you for this article… I haven’t heard it so accurately described. It’s a tough challenge to conquer facing depression (and in my case ADHD as well) all the while knowing that the world keeps spinning on, whether we feel happy or not. Recognizing the triggers is a great start…may not make everything perfect, but it’s definitely a way to keep moving forward.