Working while having depression?

Hi everyone. I found this website via a comment on the website for depression from the NHS (not helpful at all, surprise!) I was just wondering if any of you manage to work full time while suffering from depression? I've had depression for a few years now (I'm nearly 25) and its ruining my life. I can't seem to hold down a job as I start a new job and really get into it then depression seems to come back and I end up missing days at a time, I fear I will end up being fired from my job I'm in at the minute because of this. Depression is still just seen as a 'made up' illness and not taken seriously at all. I feel like its becoming a 'catch 22' and I'm getting so tired of it. Anyone have any tips how to deal with depression at work?

Thanks, Dan


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17 Replies

  • Hi Dan I think it depends on how severe your depression is. I always managed (with a few difficulties) to work full time all my life but my depression was mainly mild or moderate. I didn't tend to keep jobs for a long time though as I often had problems with people I worked with. Sometimes it is better to keep busy if you can as it gives you less time to think.

    Are you on any ad's? Or had counselling? Both of these might help you. x

  • Hi Dan yes I worked with Depression so it is doable. Also if you don't work

    And you are so young, the fallout financially from not working is enough

    To cause anyone Depression. That is unless you are a millionaire.

    I worked and it was hard at times, at times it was hard because I felt tired. The thing is I think , get your Depression under control. Arm yourself with a good Doctor

    And backup in the form of Antidepressants( if you'd need them ) and Counselling

    Or a support Group of some kind.

    Stick around with this Forum and don't assume you won't be able to work,

    It's a matter of Managing your Depression. I am saying all this and naturally

    I don't know all the facts here. So take what you need from my Post.

    Good luck and pop back and let us know how your getting on.

    Cough has made a very important point in her answer or post to you,

    Which is about being at work keeps you from being consumed by Depression,

    As having too much time would be counter productive .


  • Hannah' I agree with you so much, but when you can't answer the phone or be bothered talking to anyone and all you want to do is sleep, or maybe you can't get to sleep for days on end and the pills only make you more tired, then it's almost impossible to go to work and your work may be even more depressing as so many people are in jobs that the thought of doing them depresses you more.

    But I'm sure there are people out there in (mainly in the Tory Party) who think that you are avoiding work because you are lazy, so it does depend on many things.

    Dan, my friend, I WISH YOU WELL , and there are no magic pill's or advice that can penetrate the problem . But do not feel guilty if' that is you feel you can't bear facing the day and the thought of going out is a chore in itself, then I feel for you, as I'm sure many people in this forum will do, so keep popping in and get things off your chest at the very least, Best Alex

  • Hi Alex yes I did give my answer on not knowing all

    The details. It of course depends on degree of illness.

    Everyone is different , I felt I had to struggle on as

    I lived alone and had to support myself, but no one should

    Feel guilty if they cannot work.


  • Me too Hannah. I always struggled but had to work to support myself and pay the mortgage. It's not easy is it? I guess I just accepted life was hard but that was the way it is so just get on with it. I did make sure I had a good social life to keep me going and just thought of work as a means to an end.

    When I look back I shudder at how hard it was and don't know how I kept going, but I was always physically healthy and strong so that helped a lot. I couldn't do it now...

    Bev xx

  • Thanks everyone for posting responses, its nice to know there are people who have struggled and made it through. I've known I have had depression for a few good years now but only started seeking help recently as it seems to be getting out of hand. I do feel guilty, its hard for me not to. I hate that I can't seem to get over this even though I know its not that simple. I am on tablets (can't remember the name) but they seem to be doing not a lot as of yet but only been on the for a month. I think I'll just keep trying with work and see if I can break through, only option really. And I'll try focusing on it to keep my mind occupied. Thanks. Dan

  • A thought Dan, if after a month you still do not feel a bit better, then I suggest you change your pills as there are so many different meds for depression, because they usually should work on a 28 days basis that if you don't feel a bit better on one, the doctor will try another one, best Alex


    Maybe ur just undecided about your life, or you cannot find that tiny point where ur real interest resides..

    Have u ever wondered why u feel ur depressed?

    Has anything gone haywire in your life?

    Are u feeling suffocated because of some compromise?

    Is there anything happening in ur life where u feel u are not able to exercise control?

    Maybe u shud just get up, and decide you dont wanna feel like a mess anymore and carve your life yourself

  • Telling someone NOT to take meds when their medic has prescribed them may just leave them feeling confused about what to do. Perhaps just discuss why YOU do not believe in taking them and let the person make their own mind up?

  • Yeaa.. because it may turn out to be only a makeup illness like she said.. and ofc she wud be prescribed depression pills.. it constitutes one of the biggest markets in the drugs industry.. And the way she has phrased her problems, it's kind of obvious she wants something else from her life.. maybe just some sort of kick

    And PLEASE! Trying to sort out your life yourself and pursuing what u really want from your life is any day better in all the ways than going dependent on the depression pills..

    Taking the depression pills automatically carves the image in ur mind that ur vulnerable and in some kind of maniac danger

  • I agree, but people have to be ready to make those moves. Sometimes meds can help people to find the strength to move forward, it isn't black and white, meds or no meds.

  • Supporting them to make these moves and encouraging them, i believe, will help them more than believing depression pills will miraculously make them feel better..

    Apologies, but in such situations where ur depressed because u think ur incapable of sorting out ur life and u resort to easy and lazy measures such as depression pills.. am vehemently against depression pills..

    People diagnose themselves with depression wayyy too quickly these days

    Honestly, it's like the fashion now

    Sort of if ur not taking depression pills, ur not having a hard life

    Maybe all u need is determination, self-confidence, encouragement, courage and some sane counselling where they are not hurriedly selling you depression pills..

    Am not saying that she's faking depression or her doctor is cheating her..

    But there are wayyy better way outs!

  • Besides she hasnt said anything about taking depression pills..

    She is just fighting her way to secure her job

    Good going.. Maybe u just need a break from the hectic life..

  • Erm thanks Ares but actually I'm a man. Not a 'she'. Maybe you shouldnt assume, it could be considered a bit sexist because it could only be women that suffer with depression right?.. Anyway thanks for responding. I've started taking tablets but they don't seem to be doing much, I didn't take them until recently but I wanted to see if they helped at all as tried everything else.


  • Oops Apologies..

    Nah nothing sexist

    Ive just been replying to two more women with kind of similar problems.. So i got confused..

    And heyy.. Ur stronger than you think..

    Stronger than those pills can make you

    Look within yourself

    You have so much potential

    These are bad times

    Not a bad life

    U just need to find that one point where resides ur real interest in life

    Apologies again, but i totally support other way-outs in such kind of situations.. Depression pills should really be the last resort

  • I'm struggling with the same issues, after falling out with some family over 2 bereavements, 2 redundancies, relationship failed, general bad health, lack of will to do anything. Work is the only thing I have. My job is full-on stressful with no breaks, very little support and an isolating lonely job where I only really speak to clients all the time.

    I have a few strategies; I drive and cycle 15 minutes from my car to the office through a park, see squirrels and flowers and ducks, I plan to arrive half an hour early to avoid pressures of being late. When I arrive I sit at an open window with sun in my face for 5 minutes (on nice mornings) with a cup of tea, deep breathing and relaxing.

    I try not to complain about the work systems but some days I blow up and it causes problems for me later repercussions.

    I try to get out of the building during the day for a 10 minute walk around the car park. Trying to eat healthily.

  • Dan , I'm 71 and managed to hold down a pretty stressful job throughout my career. This probably means I either had a lot of inner strength and I was certainly lucky to have the support of my wife and good GPs. Or it could mean my depression was not as bad as some peoples. Who knows which ?-I would obviously like to believe the former.

    Early on my wife and I decided to tell no one and only my wife and GP knew altho a few people may have had suspicions. I was first diagnosed in the late 1970s and at that time , altho I had a very good employer, and may have retained my job it would certainly have ended any hopes of promotion, if only because my employer would not have wanted to give me further stress.

    I now know I probably had bipolar 2 and experienced probably 15-20 spells of depression from the age of 35 to 65. At 35 I had a family and fear of the consequences of going under ,both for me and my family was a powerful incentive. In the job I was in ,this was very difficult and often exhausting, and meant putting on a front and acting as normally as possible, which fortunately I was able to do sufficiently well to hold my job and gain promotions. Remember Churchill pretty well single handedly pulled Britain through WW2 -and he was supposed to get depression.

    Bipolar 2 is supposed to give particularly bad spells of depression but has the compensation that hypomanic spells (which I probably had ) can give particularly productive spells. As my GP said " You're probably good enough when normal (or hypomanic as `I realise now), that they overlook any bad decisions and indecision when you're depressed."

    I realise that this is not much help to you but rest assured many,many people manage to hold down good jobs through spells of depression . I would suggest the following are helpful even if not always readily available

    !) A good and understanding GP who diagnoses you accurately and prescribes medication which will help with the burden of depression. Some people do successfully fight quite serious depression with no medical help(they have my full admiration) but its safer and helps to receive medication.

    2) A confidante (in my case it was my wife but it obviously could be a partner) , or a good friend to whom you can occasionally unburden yourself. Almost all troubles diminish when shared. make sure it is someone with discretion who keeps it to themselves . You don't want your condition discussed everywhere. That in my opinion could lead to paranoia and also could encourage you to "lean on" your depression. Its unfortunate that depression does not generate much sympathy except from those who have suffered it-as one does n't look ill. Hopefully you will find the reserves within yourself to fight this condition without coming to lean on it as an excuse. Its b----y tough but like golf -who says life has to be fair.

    3) Commit to regular exercise at least once a week , preferably one that involves some social content. Solitary jogging would do but if there's no regular commitment involving others its easy to let it slide when depressed. I played bad golf and am convinced this regular exercise with the social commitment helped me survive.

    4) I also had a lot of mental tricks which helped thro bad times. I would try and imagine being a wealthy Jew in Warsaw with a family in ww2 who was suddenly ordered to a shared room in the horrific Warsaw Ghetto , eventually to be transported in horrific conditions in a cattle truck to eventual heartless extermination , knowing the same fate was befalling your wife and children. It always helped put my problems in perspective.

    5) Develop cover stories . The indecision and inability to think as well when depressed can be a give away. "" Yes sorry, got some family problems at the moment making it hard to concentrate" : "yeah, we had a bender last night-brain still coming up to speed"; or even just "sorry, that was really stupid of me ?" or " Sorry , Brain fade". The majority of people who are n't depressed are not that good at making decisions , and make many bad ones.

    Its very important that you work hard at the job when not depressed. All these excuses are much more likely to be tolerated if you are a good performer during undepressed spells.

    Hope this helps . Believe me you have my full sympathy but there is help available ,medical and otherwise. Find as much of it as you can and I'm sure you'll find the strength to lead a mostly happy life. altho depressive spells will always be a test. They do always end, but medical help plus social support usually ends them quicker .

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