How do people cope with full-time job... - Mental Health Sup...

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

CarmelaGrace profile image
28 Replies

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.

28 Replies
Suzie40 profile image

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

CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to Suzie40

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.

Suzie40 profile image

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

CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to Suzie40

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...

jules2105 profile image


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

CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to jules2105

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

Hbogdewic29 profile image
Hbogdewic29 in reply to jules2105

Hi there I'm new to this site as well. I also suffer from depression and anxiety as well I now how it feels so sometimes that you don't want to get out of bed and your minds racing . But even though with work it's hard to put a smile on your face but it what it is

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 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

CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to

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.

in reply to CarmelaGrace

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 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 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

BAM6 profile image
BAM6 in reply to


Your response got me hooked on to this site.

I have a comfortable life apart from depression&anxiety. Recently, i joined a very big company two months ago and the work is very stressful, i feel like quitting it daily.

Your poatis like ray of hope to survive another day

Photogeek profile image

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,


CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to Photogeek

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.

Photogeek profile image

Please excuse all typos

Babskibab profile image

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.

Photogeek profile image
Photogeek in reply to Babskibab

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.


CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to Babskibab

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!

CarmelaGrace profile image

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,

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,


CarmelaGrace profile image
CarmelaGrace in reply to

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!

dj2623 profile image

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!

Workingonit profile image
Workingonit in reply to dj2623

Hi, i’m just reading though this thread. I too am struggling with coping with work and my anxiety/depression. What you said really clicked for me. Often work just feels so overwhelming. I really hope you got some support dj2623

NFDK profile image

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...

KE2018 profile image

I am new to the forum and really appreciate your answers. I am at a crossroads... I need some structure- which my job provides- but I think it's the job that has really sunk me into depression as never before.

I meet with a psychiatrist in 5 days and am hoping she will just TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I don't like making decisions and really just like being in bed, reading (although hard to concentrate) or binge watching anything to keep my mind quiet.

Nighttime is the worst. Just about the time I begin to doze off, my mind starts to list every "mistake" or bad decision I've ever made. I start to imagine paths and lives that "might have been." Which also feels crazy because i've had a very interesting life.

Part of the problem now feels that I "should" not have focused so much on career. It's the thing that holds me together, rather than family, friends, interests, hobbies... and I've spent a lot of money trying to distract myself... depleting my funds also bothers me now. At the time, I didn't care, I just wanted to feel better...

Also, student loan debt... I wish I'd thought that through before I got the degree. I'm 49 and feel as though I'll never be an adult.

I think what I want to do is quit the job, sell all my possessions, move back in with my folks and get better... maybe get a pat-time job with no major responsibilities.

Ugh. pains me to think I'm 49 and wanting to be 12 again.

MattBuckland profile image
MattBuckland in reply to KE2018

Hi KE2018

Thank you for posting this, not sure that I have answers but I can really relate to what you said, especially the last line.


OMGPotatoe profile image

when I started taking anti psychotic medicine. I got a lot of night time anxiety I needed to walk around constantly and I went to a and e and a few times because I though something worse was happening. when I explained to my psychiatrist, I asked him if I was allowed some Valium to help anxiety and he agreed to add it to my list of meds prn as needed. take it after you take your meds then you wont go mental while your body metabolizes the anti psychotics.

ofc if you don't take anti psychotics this is a pretty mute point

alimar239 profile image

Work is the one place where I feel in control and capable and I'm dreading the forthcoming Xmas break (22.12.2017 - 3.1.2017) when I'm stuck at home which is really where I do not want to be! X

Lollykelly001 profile image

Wow thank Carmela for bring up this point and you all for your answers. It has helped me no end. That is me, I live to work. All my time and energy is used up in the routine of working to keep roof over familys head. I come home and dont actually do anything. I lay on the couch and sleep and am awake then all night. I buy takeout which my kids dont enjoy so in order to portray normal I feel I am letting my family down but it at least we have our home. And better still I have been out all day. I get home and the moment I am home my dread sneaks in. I have such guilt for not being a good mum and know that I am no looking after my family properly but I just feel physically unable to. My day is 7am - 5pm after that I am useless it hurts so much to admit this but its my reality and my kids deserve better. I have depression and anxiety it takes so much energy just to go on to pay the bills. It has helped hearing you all feel like this.

Id just like to say remember you are all amazing strong and wonderful kind people. Every little step is a positive step and we have got this dont give up the struggle to live your best life.

Thank you for enabling me to share what is one of deepest concerns and again CarmelaGrace thank you for bring it up, I feel now it must be normal to fill like this its helped with my guilt. Im going to do better. Thank you all of you :0)xx

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