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What does Depression at Work look like?

29.01/2018

What does Depression at Work look like? 

Depression will at some point affect at least one in four of us. This means that there is a good chance that someone on your team, in your department, or organisation or family has at some point, or is currently or will in the future experience depression. 

Someone suffering from depression at work, will often go to great effort to try and hide it, carry on as usual. This well intended approach actually can exacerbate the condition. Depression affects not just the mind, but the whole body and almost every aspect of our functioning. Common behaviour of a person experiencing depression can include, but are not limited to :- 

* Frequent absences from work
* A reluctance to join in with socialising at work
* Tearfulness
* Irritability 
* Poor work performance
* Overly passive or submissive
* Aggression 
* Monotone voice
* Limited range of facial expression. 

For the person with depression, emotions, cognitive and physical experiences that they experience may include, but not limited to :-

* Feelings of isolation
* Tearfulness
* Difficulty concentrating, lethargy or 'brain fog' 
* Lack of self worth
* Excessive guilt or shame
* Excessive pessimism 
* Frequent aches and pain
* Feelings of being overwhelmed 

Although often referred to as the 'common cold' of mental health difficulties, the effects on a person's life can be profound. The good news is that for most people, complete recovery is possible. In addition, resilience against further bouts can be learnt. 

Rather than aiming to simply 'remove' depression, it is more helpful to think in terms of what we want to replace it with. In the short term, simply coping might seem the only realistic option, but we can realistically aim to thrive, rather than just survive.
Emotions are contagious, both positive and negative.  It's important to remember this in the context of both personal and professional relationships. The contagion of positive emotions is good news for everyone.

 

First Aid for depression includes:-

1. Smiling, even when we don't feel like it. We not only smile when we feel happy, but also happy when we smile.
2. Exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. It improves mood and cognitive functioning.
3. Spend a few minutes of using on your breath. Breath in and count to 7 and out more slowly until you reach 11. Let the out breath relax you.
4. Do something pleasurable. This could be having your favourite meal, watching some comedy, a relaxing bath or having a massage.
5. Do something kind for someone else. Even if you can't find anything to do to help yourself, an act of kindness to someone you know or a stranger will make you feel a little better about yourself and your current situation. This one is possibly the most powerful thing you can do.