A Working While Depressed Surival Guide

  1. Make yourself get out of bed and if you can’t do that, (it’s okay if you can’t) find someone who can and ask them to make you. This is something I thankfully don’t have to deal with too often, but I’ve facetimed one of my best friends to “yell” at her to get out of bed and go to work so they didn’t get fired. I’m persistent and it worked. So don’t be afraid to find a persistent friend to do that for you if you need it.
  2. Say no. I know you need the money, I do too. But that money isn’t worth anything if you aren’t here or if taking on a shift on your day off makes you suicidal. Your job will still be there tomorrow, even if you say, “No, I’m busy,” today. Playing a video game, sleeping, or doing whatever else you want is a valid way to spend your day off.
  3. Terrible customers are great storytelling opportunities. Amaze social media, (or your immediate family) with the depravity of humanity. And then when you’ve made them all laugh or gasp, grab some tissues and cry about it to get rid of all that emotional gunk.
  4. Remind yourself you aren’t worthless. Even when it feels like your job is useless and you don’t have any value, remember you’re there for a reason. You wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t providing a good or service that people need.
  5. If you can’t handle a second job immediately after getting your first, (or ever), don’t force it, (unless you absolutely have no other options). You can’t do any job well if you’re too depressed and miserable to function. If you need it, ask for help. Does it make you feel weak and embarrassed? Probably, if you’re anything like me. But it’ll be worth it in the long run.
  6. Give a reasonable level of availability. If you say you can work 24/7, chances are they’re going to give you a wildly inconsistent schedule week by week. If you need 9 hours of sleep at night to function the next day, don’t say you’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You deserve to rest.
  7. Know your limits. If you haven’t gotten a weekend off in two months, request one. You may not even know how much you need it until you have it. You do.
  8. Find out everything you can about your employer’s stance on mental health, (& any other “issue” you may have) and adjust accordingly.
  9. Have an achievable goal that’s related to you needing to keep working. This way, even if your job makes your skin crawl, you still have a reason to go. I am exceptionally privileged because a lot of my bills are paid for by my parents while I live at home. But I have a car payment, grad school savings, college debt, and soon a cat, to worry about. On the days when I want to walk out because the world is so heavy, I can’t because I have needs and goals that make it (mostly) worthwhile.
  10. Do what you need to do to stay alive. For me, this meant petitioning my parents to get a comfort/emotional support animal. For you, it might mean remembering to take your meds or cutting back on harmful/unhealthy coping mechanisms, (still working on that one…) Whatever it is, do it. For yourself, because you deserve to have a full life.

 

all of this should be taken with a grain of salt and a half – at the end of the day, you know you best and you know what you need to do to live your best life, whatever that means. Regardless of that, I wish and hope for the best for all of you.

-Julie

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