Depression @ Work

It is going to take a lot of effort to write this. Effort is something that, for someone with depression, can seem like climbing a mountain. You know that at the top you will have an awesome feeling of accomplishment and a view of the world that you can never see, but the work that goes into it seems insurmountable.

For years, depression has been something that has always been in the back of my mind. I have been treated for it from time to time, but it has become more acute recently due to a lot of external reasons. Between my therapist retiring, significant changes at work, a recent injury to my husband, upheaval in my family, and fluctuation in my weight loss, it has all piled on at the same time, and I’m trying to dig my way out.

As an individual, these alone are hard enough, but at work, and as a manager, it transforms a normal workday to one of complete exhaustion and fatigue. Not because I don’t want to work — far from it. It is that the effort that goes into something that was once automatic is so much greater, exponentially greater, that a typical day of meetings and discussions exhausts me so that when I get home, all I want to do is go to bed.

But what I have noticed over the last several months are some triggers for me that I wanted to share to others that have depression in the workplace and for managers to look for.

The open office is kryptonite

Depression comes in many forms, for me it is difficulty with focus, attention, and wanting to be alone. In an open office floorplan I have an environment that is completely contrary to the environment I need to get through my day and be productive. I dread going into the office because I know that I’ll get only a fraction of what I need to get done, so now, I generally just try to work from home as much as possible, but then I feel disconnected, which can deepen the feelings more.

Tap into what gives you energy

We all have to do things that are part of the business and aren’t things that we love to do. But for someone with depression, if you do that for too long it can be problematic. You don’t have the opportunity to tap into what drives you and bring you energy, boost mood, drive enthusiasm and secure long-term commitment. Doubt and feelings of under appreciation for what you are good at will start to creep in and can have an impact on you. So if you are a manager and have an honest and transparent relationship with your employees and they have shared that they have periods of depression, be sure to know what gives them energy and tap into that to help you, the team and your employee.

Social media and communication overload

Twitter. E-mail. Hangouts. Text Messages. Slack. Oh…Slack. All of these things are great, they help me communicate openly and in real-time with my team and coworkers, but they are overwhelming, and seemingly impossible to filter out without seeming anti-social or non-responsive. But for all of the hundreds of chats, notifications, and smartphone “ding ding’s!” you get, the time it takes to refocus back on what you were doing is at least five times as long as it otherwise would be.

For me, managing these things has helped me be productive and keep my focus as high as it can be. While my experiences may be individual and unique, I felt it was important to share for others that may be in a similar situation.

Ultimately the best way to combat periods of depression is to get things done and take pride in what you do. Find ways to do that at work, or outside of work, to keep you engaged, and most importantly, happy.

Reposted from the original article from LinkedIn Pulse