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Five Workplace Practices That Could Be Depression Under Cover



Five Workplace Practices That Could Be Depression Under Cover

While everyone experiences ups and downs at work occasionally, if difficult times are starting to become the norm for you, you may be suffering from depression, which affects 280 million people globally.

In addition to its more obvious manifestations, such as evident sadness and tiredness, depression is a mental health disorder that frequently manifests in unexpected ways.

“Depression symptoms at work can sneak up on you, and it’s common to be tough on yourself about them rather than recognizing them for what they are,” said Shannon Garcia, a psychotherapist at States of Wellness Counseling based in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Depressive symptoms can impact an individual both during and outside of work hours. These include persistent feelings of hopelessness, decreased enjoyment in activities, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, worthlessness, or difficulty concentrating. Ryan Howes is a psychologist based in Pasadena, California, and the author of “Mental Health Journal for Men.”

In an effort to assist professionals in distinguishing between a poor day and a depressive symptom, HuffPost spoke with several therapists regarding frequent work behaviors that are actually covert signs of sadness. Check whether any of these work habits ring true:

1. You’re Exerting More Effort Than Before To Stay Away From Home

Individual differences exist in the manifestation of depression. Because you are still a dependable, industrious worker, some coworkers would never suspect that you are dealing with depression.

“For successful working professionals who have made a career out of achievement and getting validation from work, depression might look more active,” said Alicia Velez, a licensed clinical social worker based in Brooklyn, New York.

She used the scenarios of a worker going through a divorce or tending to a sick relative.

According to Velez, “you might have someone working longer hours than normal, maybe putting in a long day at work, or wanting to be the one to take on the most difficult cases or issues.” “Getting validation and acknowledgment at work usually makes one feel better than having to face the possibility that a marriage is ending or that a family member is nearing the end of their life.”

2. You Used To Be Gregarious But Now You Shun Your Coworkers

You can determine whether you are experiencing a terrible day or something more serious by observing how you interact with coworkers at work. According to Velez, withdrawing from coworkers and isolating oneself are two typical symptoms of depression.

“This may look like someone who used to actively participate in meetings is [now] quieter, sits in the back of the room, or even misses the meeting altogether,” she said. “Perhaps the employee no longer takes part in off-sites or after work happy hours. He or she might find ways to evade interactions with colleagues or managers. The worker may let their calls go to voicemail, or be slow to respond to emails or even not respond at all.”

In severe cases, a person displaying these behaviors may face repercussions at work and maybe lose their job, which can also lead to a vicious cycle of guilt and humiliation, according to Velez.

3. You Consistently Miss Meetings and Deadlines

According to Howes, depression may also be the cause if completing tasks on time or even showing up for work is becoming difficult on a daily basis.

“I knew someone who enjoyed his work, was actively engaged in his projects, and had a lot of contact with his coworkers. When he became depressed, he started sleeping through his alarm and showed up late to work. He was falling behind on deadlines, stopped going to lunch with colleagues, and became highly critical of his [own] and his co-workers’ performance,” Howes said.

“All of these changes were noticed by colleagues and bosses, who reached out to him and encouraged him to seek help,” Howes continued. “Fortunately, he did, and through a combination of changing diet and sleep hygiene, beginning therapy, and receiving a prescription for an antidepressant, he was feeling better within a few months.”

4. You’re Losing Your Temper At Work

“Depression isn’t just feeling down in the dumps ― it can make you super irritable too,” Garcia said.

If little irritations are making you angry at work, it could be a good idea to investigate the root of the problem. Individuals who suffer from depression may exhibit overt or repressed anger, and they may even direct their ire towards their coworkers.

“At work, you may find yourself easily annoyed by everyone and everything. Your fuse is short with your co-workers, customers, and even your inbox,” Garcia said.

5. You Start to Lose Interest in or Motivation For The Work You Used to Love

A tedious assignment completed once is not the same as a concerning pattern of indifference. Observe shifts in your feelings about the work you used to like doing, Garcia said.

“You might notice yourself just staring at your screen, pretending to be busy, or doing anything but tackling the big stuff,” Garcia said. “That loss of interest that depression can cause may have you thinking ‘I just don’t care’ about your work.”

What to do next if you think you might be depressed.

Should these indications align with your professional experience, be aware that you don’t need to handle depression alone. You can take the following actions right now to address your feelings and improve:

  • Pay attention to the health-related messages your body is sending you.
  • It can be beneficial to check in with your body if your hyperfunction at work is a symptom of your depression.

“It can be easy to miss depressive symptoms when work is tricking you into feeling competent and self-efficacious,” Velez said.

Velez advises asking yourself the following questions to help you identify changes in your physical health: Do you feel more worn out than normal? How do you feel about marijuana or alcohol? Are you sleeping too much or too little? How do you feel about moving and exercising? Is there any area of your body where you feel persistent tension?

“Physical signs and signals can alert you that it may be time to acknowledge those uncomfortable feelings,” Velez said.

Discuss your feelings with trusted classmates and family members.

You can feel undeserving of your friends’ support and not want anyone to know that you are depressed. However, having a few frank conversations with loved ones and trustworthy peers may be exactly what you need to prevent isolation and withdrawal.

“The best way to start managing depression is to talk with someone about it,” Howes said. He said you could open up to a friend or loved one, and let them know what you’re experiencing and how it’s impacting you.

Asking dependable coworkers to text them or drop by their desk for a quick coffee talk a few times a week can help Velez depression.

Seek Out Expert Assistance

“Know that depression is very common and often responds well to treatment,” Howes said. “If it seems like this is depression, talking with a physician or a mental health professional is crucial. They will be able to assess your symptoms and recommend a course of treatment that may include therapy, medication or both.”

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, you may also be eligible for reasonable accommodations at work if a medical professional provides written documentation of your depression. These adjustments could take the form of schedule modifications or authorization to work from home.

HR and your boss may be able to assist you in obtaining resources and support sponsored by the firm if you decide to disclose your illness to them.

“Many workplaces offer EAPs [Employee Assistance Programs] which have counselors on staff to provide short-term therapy or can also give the employee referrals for other services that may be needed such as child care, food and housing assistance, and therapists in the community,” Velez said.

Determine if your sadness is getting worse because of your employment.

Velez cited studies on cognitive behavioral therapy by psychiatrist Dr. Aaron T. Beck to support her claim that it’s critical to ascertain whether your line of work gives you the opportunity to experience mastery, accomplishment, and pleasure—elements that people require to fend off depression.

According to Velez, an employee can track work activities for one or two weeks in a spreadsheet with one column for “pleasure” and another for “mastery” to determine whether their employment is causing or exacerbating symptoms.

“Having visual evidence can be a great way to confirm or deny our feelings,” Velez said. “Taking an inventory can let you know if you are getting pleasure and mastery from your job or if it’s time to start looking for a new job.”

Recognize that little victories do matter.

“Depression often pushes you to isolate, do nothing, and be unkind to yourself. Doing the opposite, even in tiny ways, can really help,” Garcia said.

For example, Garcia suggested that you try sitting up when you wake up rather than remaining horizontal if you’re having trouble getting out of bed and arriving late for work. Furthermore, Garcia suggested segmenting projects into manageable chunks or dedicating a mere five minutes of concentrated work if they appear too big.

In the end, realizing that you are more than your depression is helpful.

Garcia advised, “See depression as something different from who you are and practice resisting its urges.”

The important thing to keep in mind is that, although it affects millions of individuals each day, depression is a treatable mental illness.


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