How do people cope with full-time job and depression/anxiety?

Just joined this site this evening. I've had depression, I suppose, for about ten years now, but only really found out about it a couple of years ago. I've had medication and CPD, but the CPD session ended last summer, and I decided to stop the medication for various reasons. I was on jobseekers for a bit but eventually quit as they made me feel guilty for being a graduate so I took housekeeping and childminding jobs and volunteered part-time at a local museum. This led to me getting a year-long internship with the museum, and after interview I was offered a 12 month contract last summer after my internship was up. It's a good job, it's well paid, I'm extremely lucky to have walked from a volunteering position into a managerial post. I can manage to get up and go to work each day, and complete my workload. Yet none of this takes away from the fact that I do not have any confidence in myself. I feel like I'm drowning each day, and I just want to scream (or more likely, curl up into a little ball and cry as that would be less intrusive to other people). I don't know if people think that the fact I am 'coping' means that I don't have depression. How do other people feel? Does depression mean you have to be lying on a couch all day and not be able to get up? I know if I didn't have a job I would be worse, as having a job means I have to get up and go out, otherwise I would feel even worse about myself than I do now. It's like I have to work so hard just to keep me feeling at a neutral level, and the slightest thing that goes wrong, or feels wrong, is enough to send me into floods of tears.

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  • Hello, and welcome to the site. What you'll find here is that people from all walks of life are coping with depression. Some work full time, some are retired, some work part time and others just aren't able to manage the commitment of work at the moment. I think it very much depends on the type of person you are. I work full time and my job is a massively stressful one, but although it sends my anxiety levels soaring through the roof every day, I need to get up each morning and go to work. I rely very heavily on the structure and routine of my job to keep me out of the black hole. When I'm off work, my depression is usually at its worst. I don't have time to be miserable when I'm there. I'd say there are no right or wrong answers. For me, work is a coping strategy. For others, it's not manageable. Both are ok, and I hope you are too x

  • Thank-you. Yes, the structure and the routine is a good thing. When I was in the city last January and I didn't have a job and didn't know where I was going I spent pretty much all day lying in bed, sleeping or thinking over things. And then at about 3pm I'd feel really guilty and drag myself into some clothes and go walk around the district very quickly in the fading light and come back exhausted. And then I got the offer of a week's paid work so I left the city and came back home. I know if no one else is around then I don't take care of myself properly.

  • Yes I know that temptation to stay in bed and not care about yourself. You'll find so many friendly people on the site, you'll be really glad you've joined. What does your job at the museum entail? They must have been really impressed with your skills to have offered you that x

  • It's a curator post, so looking after the collection and dealing with questions/research issues. Also helping to plan our contemporary art exhibitions. All really interesting stuff, and amazing experience for my career - I just feel like it's too much for me, and I'd rather have had a job with less responsibility and been able to work my way up gradually, improving my confidence and feelings of self-worth. Still, I've only got three and a half months to get through...

  • Hi

    Welcome to the forum, everyone on here is really friendly. I too suffer with anxiety and depression, if I didn't have to get up for work I'd stay in bed all day infact on my days off I can't get motivated to do anything a lot of the time. You're not alone with the way you feel, I find posting on here helps as people on the forum understand how you feel

    Jules x

  • Thank-you Jules. Yeah, it's hard to be motivated to do stuff that isn't work.

  • Hi Bev, thank-you for your comment. Dogs are good for that - when I was unemployed last year I was lucky enough to be able to flat and dog-sit for someone for three weeks, and it really helped having to care for the dog, and take her out for walks. She was also really good at being hugged and cried over.

  • Hi CarmelaGrace, You said "I'd rather have a job with less responsibility and work my way up......" That says it all in some ways doesn't it because you find yourself newly graduated and straight in the deep end - trying to find your feet and a safe and comfortable place in deep waters! I think the natural reaction to that scenario is your body's need to find a safe place and it's resorting to that by wanting to escape. I was in a similar situation once and found myself reacting the same way you are. In the end I wanted the job but coping with its demands was a confusion and a burden, however, I stayed put and treated it like a stepping stone (compartmentalised it) whilst choosing some counselling , which I arranged in the evening ...as an escape route to talk through my fears and uncertainties with a stranger and giving myself permission to take time out in my free time for non job related "me time" - keeping a journal, doing. Ice, relaxing stuff, etc. Take life in bite sized chunks and know that you are not drowning but treading water for awhile. It's scary and anxiety provoking to feel out of your depth but I bet, given time, you will be swimming just fine....just remember to be safe and learn your limitations whilst you are learning it! Good luck and don't forget that your GP may be able to suggest some other temporary coping strategies if the depressed mood is a bit stubbon to heal. Love PD7979

  • Thanks PD7979, that sounds like good advice. I get panicked whenever I think about going to the GP though as I've not yet found one who has been understanding of depression.

  • Hi CarmelaGrace...Don't give up trying to talk to your GP, or another GP in the practice, about depression. As much as they might feel "overburdened" by their big patient loads YOU are equally important as their next patient. It's their job to find you a suitable medication and help you, if necessary, to find the right support...the only thing we have to do is attend the appointment, stand our ground and help them really understand our problem. So you have another go, my friend. Also, glad you took that lunchtime walk yesterday...it sounded like your senses enjoyed some lovely sights. Good for you. Have a good day today and have a think about starting a therapeutic journal for yourself...I have one and enjoy offloading to its un judgemental pages and also writing about lovely things which each season brings with it...like the experience of your walk yesterday. Spring and summer are on the way and lots of time t ,get back on an even keel,again.

    love PD7979xxx

  • Hi Carmela Welcome to the site. I always worked since I graduated many moons

    Ago. It was often hard working with depression but as you say the structure

    Helped me. At times I was stressed and tired and yet I enjoyed the work and

    The company. Now I am retired and it's another big adjustment, I am lucky I have

    A good few interests, but living alone and being retired can be isolating.

    I now have to work twice as hard at getting out and doing stuff, otherwise I would

    Be like a bag lady at home here. There is no reason to get dressed up and made up,

    So it's probably not great for anyone suffering from Depression, the. I think of the

    Work stress and colleagues fighting and demanding customers and I say

    " Oh I am so glad I am retired"

    Being thrown in job wise at the deep end can be very stressful and you just

    Need to take it day by day and give yourself little psychological breaks . Go

    For a nice walk during your lunch just to get de stressed. You will get there but

    All in all working with Depression is never easy but it's doable.

    You will find a great range of people of all ages and personalities on here, and

    I have got so so much help from them. It's been a great thing for me, so don't be

    A stranger here Carmela.

    Your job sounds very interesting,

    Hannah

  • Thank-you Hannah. I actually went for a walk yesterday lunchtime and looked at all the flowers in the gardens. Not been able to do that for ages as the weather has been so bad - I've felt trapped in the office. At my work we have lovely gardens with red quince flowers and witch-hazel and pink viburnum.

  • Please excuse all typos

  • Hi! I am new on here too. Well done for asking a very personal question that you say in your head everyday. In answer to your question, with difficulty. Leaving the warm comfort and safe place of your bed is hard. I have been seeing a counsellor for the last 6 months and it has been decided that I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Even accepting that is somehow a relief, as weird as it sounds! I am just learning to take everyday as it comes, making small changes that you read on sites like this and not beating myself up until I am so bruised, it takes me weeks to recover. Unfortunately, my path has been long and hard and my recovery is will probably be longer but time will tell. Working every day in a very responsible position gives me the structure too and it's important that I keep going. Without that, I would most likely do exactly the same as oths on here and stay in bed, go without food, fall a little further into the black hole and hit the bottom sometime! Anyway, thats a bit of my story and I am looking forward to hearing about others experiences.

  • Hi Babs welcome to this site. Hope you find it helps, I agree

    With you as regards making little changes. I put a lot of pressure on myself and now I am learning to just go with the flow and accept

    The way things are " ok" but not perfect.

    Hannah

  • Thank-you Babs. It helps to know that other people are coping with similar circumstances. Small changes are the way forward and celebrating small victories!

  • Hi CarmelaGrace,

    Your post is very thought-provoking. As many others have said, I think the ability to maintain work/employment when suffering with this condition seems to depend a lot on the person. I for one cannot even contemplate committing to employment of any kind right now, but at the same time the routine and structure would be a huge bonus. Being signed off work with depression can be a bit of a slippery slope, as the lack of daily structure often seems to just make things worse.

    In any case, I am happy for you that you have landed what sounds like a very rewarding job, and are able to keep your head focused on it. It does sound, though, almost as though the job is a coping mechanism, or distraction of some sort? Correct me if I'm wrong, just an initial observation.

    Best wishes,

    Thomas.

  • Hi Thomas_C, thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, I am worried about what is going to happen once my contract finishes. It's going to be difficult for me to find another job, particularly as I don't drive (yet another stick I can beat myself with). I get stressed by work, and yet when I am not working I find it hard to relax!

  • I can relate to you so well. I am so grateful for my job, but some days it is way too mentally/emotionally taxing. It's not the job, it's ME. I am a total perfectionist & very hard on myself & don't know how to relax, let go & just WORK. I feel so overwhelmed--I just want to disappear some days. I'd sleep all day every day if I didn't have a job--not because I'm lazy or just love to sleep, because it beats crying all day. But it's becoming more & more difficult to keep myself together at work. I don't really know what to do. I take anti depressants, have for years-can't function without em. I need to find a good therapist or psychiatrist!

  • I understand that feeling - "It's like I have to work so hard just to keep me feeling at a neutral level, and the slightest thing that goes wrong, or feels wrong, is enough to send me into floods of tears." I've felt like that for ages...

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