How Do You Have a Successful Career with Depression?

Hi I just joined today and I'm really glad I found this site. I could really use a community of support. I apologize if I ramble, but I'm desperate for someone to listen.

I've been struggling with depression for as long as I can remember, but it has been particularly crippling the last 3 years. During that time I have been going to see a psychologist and a psychiatrist. I've been on Latuda and Brintellix for about 9 months now. I finally graduated with my master's degree this month and started my first full-time job, and yet I don't feel proud of myself. In fact, I don't have any positive feelings anymore. I know that I should be proud of finishing school and landing a job right away, but I still feel like a failure.

Unfortunately, I don't like my job (I have worked there part-time for the last 3.5 years), but I don't know if I actually don't like it or if it's the depression making me think I don't like it. Part of the problem is that I rarely have anything to do while I'm there which causes my mind to wander. When my mind wanders it goes to terrible places. And yet, when I do have something to do, I can't concentrate. No matter what I do, I just can't seem to focus. The other problem is getting up in the morning. I don't sleep well at night and mornings are really tough for me, so I'm usually late to work. This has me incredibly concerned about my future in my career. I would like to be able to learn new things and be productive at work, but it seems like it is impossible for me to do that.

I took my boss out for coffee so I could explain my concerns. I shared with him my struggle with depression although it's difficult for me to talk about. After our talk I don't feel much better. He told me that everyone struggles with these things and it's nothing to worry about.

Regardless of what he says, I do worry. I worry a lot. So how do you have a successful career when you have depression?


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6 Replies

  • Yes you can, but as soon as you stop whipping yourself with that stick, I dont feel much certainly about myself and my achievements because I was never valued as a child, and i think if your mum or dad didnt give you the validation you deserved, then sometimes that is where it stems from.

    Start treating yourself to some nice things,, because you have worked hard and earnt it. Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself to a pampering, that is what normal people do,,, Yes I found that hard too. But I do it, and I enjoy it too. Because Im worth it!!

    No point trying to explain what you feel like because he is a boss, some people care some dont, simples , unless they have depression or have ever suffered it. your on a different planet to him. You have more complicated feelings that he has never ever experienced.

    But the positive thing is your in this club where everybody understands or may have experienced something similar and can truly empathise and help sometimes.

    I went to my graduation alone, It didnt occur to me anyone from my family would be interested. My sister cried when I told her that,,, but thats how I felt. It just didnt click it was an important day, I wasnt even wanting to go to it, I felt annoyed I had to go, in fact.

    Due to being stalked,, now I stay in a lot. But now I work from home, and do things, that I want to do and if I dont want too, I dont, keeping it simple.

    But I learned about property and then how to secure land and now Im looking for investors, So dont hit yourself with a stick anymore, Just be nicer to yourself, and learn to love yourself.

    So when your at home do you feel that you dont want to go into work, and then ask yourself why,,, are there any bits you enjoy, if not why not. Write it down, and then read it back. It may be time for a new direction ??

    Its your life enjoy it!! we have bumps in the road, acknowledge that, and know that is the depression making you feel crap or it might be the drugs not working so well, if that is the case they need raising in strength but talk with your doctors.

    I hope that helps

    regards Lin

  • Hi I am sure you can, after all you got your degree etc. and that is very hard work with depression. I was never able to have a career coz I couldn't concentrate enough on school to do well with my depression so left at 15. It is one of my biggest regrets but that's life I guess,

    I agree not to tell others about it unless you think they would understand as there is nothing more demoralising then being told to pull yourself together or everything will be ok etc.

    I would stay in your current job as long as possible to build up some good experience, then look for another job in your field. There are bound to be opportunities out there for you which you will enjoy.

    So yes you can have a successful career with depression so keep telling yourself that. x

  • Well Winston Churchill managed rather well despite his "black dog" depression.

  • Hi,

    Congratulations on the completion of your Masters. That is an impressive feat in and of itself.

    Growing up I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I was constantly being told that I was good with kids, patient etc. I love the English language and spend a good portion of my life reading.

    After being made redundant from a job that was mildly stimulating I decided to retrain as a teacher. I loved it. I finally felt like I was doing what I was meant to be doing. I got a job teaching and dived into it.

    I loved working with the children, but that was it. I hated the long hours, the never ending marking, the statistics, the meetings. It was all consuming. I spent a handful of hours with my husband and dog, and only got to go outside during the holidays. Suffice to say, that it made me ill. I'm not going to go into more detail because it's still very raw for me. I lost a family member and that tipped me over the edge.

    When I left teaching I felt awful. Like I wasn't capable. I lost my sense of self for a while. Again, I'm not going to go into the rest of my journey, but skip to now.

    I started a new job two weeks ago. It is a very easy job. The hours are fantastic and the company really looks after the staff. I've already made friends amongst the people I train with. I'm relieved and happy.

    The message I'm trying to get across is that a job doesn't define you, or at least it doesn't have to. You have to figure out what motivates you. For me, I'm motivated by a sense of community, by being respected and appreciated, and by making a difference. I can achieve all of that in this job, just in different ways.

    You can let your job determine your happiness, and you can also let it determine how successful you are. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I think you already know how you feel about this job, and just needed to see it in writing.


  • I think I had a successful career with depression (bipolar 2) for 30 years. Its not easy and depends on what type you have. With bipolar 1 its almost impossible unless you are in showbiz or run your own business altho I believe it has been done.

    With bipoar 2 and unipolar depression its very possible but difficult. One needs very good GPs, and preferably a supportive partner. It takes not a little courage and some luck.

    My recipe ,which has both its plusses and minuses was that no one ever knew except my wife and my doctors. Not easy , but in spite of improved attitudes now it is still the course I would recommend and if you fail you are only where you would have been anyway had you decided to go public.

    Over time I developed lots of techniques that helped . My reward was a goodish career and an excellent pension and although I still get depressive periods now that I am retired I am much better at dealing with them and the pressures are so much less. As encouragement I should add I worked in a particularly difficult area of business for a depressive.

    I did n't have much choice . I found at 35 with a wife and 2 kids I was a depressive. I had responsibilities I took seriously. We used to back in the 1970s. The ethics and morals of my approach i still find very complicated.

    Even now it no longer matters I don't exactly advertise it although I tell some people and am usually very gratified by their surprise.


  • Thank you for all your replies. I think the biggest struggle right now is adjusting to the new schedule. My depression makes it extremely hard to get out of bed, and as soon as I am at work I am counting down until I can go back to bed. I just really want to be like I was before the depression hit. I want to be able to concentrate and be productive, but it seems impossible right now. No matter what I do, I'm just not happy. I do enjoy spending time with animals, so I have signed up to volunteer at the local humane society. Orientation is the 20th, so that gives me something to look forward to. Maybe it will give me some satisfaction and help with the depression.