Join Date: Aug 2008
Dealing with work while depressed.
This will not be as brief as I would like, but in the interest of relevance to this board, I will try to leave out most of the unnecessary details. My story:
I am an only child. My father, whom I was very close to, passed away on June 1st of this year after an illness of about a year and a half. It was not entirely unexpected, but still much sooner than I imagined he might have gone.. While I was doing ok with it at first (took my requisite week off, got through the funeral, wrote and delivered a eulogy, spent a lot of time being “strong” for my mom…) in the weeks that have passed since, I feel like I have been slowly watching the wheels come off of my life one at a time, and have not been able to do anything about it.
The main issue for me at the moment is job performance. Or more accurately, extreme lack thereof. I have gone from being a normally competent, self-confident person who could take on new challenges of a diverse variety to a cowering, shriveled-up likeness of my former self that is scared of his own shadow. I cannot focus, cannot prioritize, cannot make decisions, and sometimes even feel as if I’m just on a merry-go-round, watching everything go by, but more importantly, watching myself and my career take a nose-dive that I’m not going to be able to recover from. In the meantime, work has been piling up, deadlines have been missed, and co-workers around me are starting to look at me with suspicion as to what-the-hell could possibly be the matter. Things came to a head with my boss not quite a week ago, and I basically spilled my guts, apologizing profusely, telling her I don’t know what is wrong with me, and that it must somehow come from what I am going through personally because of my Dad. It took awhile, but in the end I got a brief version of the “Well, I’m ****** and I don’t really understand, but I will try to work with you…” approach from her. The outcome of all that is still very much in the balance. I am in constant fear of losing my job right now, to put it mildly. My emotions range from anxiety attacks to crying jags, to extended periods of time where I can sit and still recognize the problems calmly and rationally – but simply don’t care and still take no action. This is not who I am supposed to be, but more importantly - nor can somebody displaying my symptoms function in this job long-term. I am an experienced professional in my field with nearly 10 years experience. I have a graduate degree. And this is by no means an entry-level job where I can just cut my losses, take care of myself first, and then move-on when I am ready, as I probably would have had this happened a decade ago. Or to be honest, as I may have considered much more seriously even now, if I had less responsibility in my life. I have a beautiful wife and 2 year old daughter to support, a brand new mortgage and very much increased mortgage payment (we moved locally to a bigger house on the day my father wound-up passing away). Also forgot to mention that my mother (who was virtually 100% dependant on my father) moved up here to a new house to be closer to my wife and I from their home of 4 hours away just a month after he died. So I have the added stress of caring for her in a way that will never equal what he did, and trying to sell an empty house that she just moved out of 4 hours away. Right now, I am mainly just scared to death that my “choking” at work may be only the beginning of problems so dark that I don’t even want to think about them. I truly don’t want to be a pity party or a complete train-wreck forever, but find that sadly - it’s sometimes the only thing I can focus on. Does it get better? I have all kinds of reassurances from my family and my wife that yes, while it would be horrible, they will still love me and everything will be ok eventually even if I would lose my job. I cannot bear the thought, however. I don’t want to let anyone down.
So where to go with all of this? I finally admitted to myself earlier this week that I was in a state of grief-induced depression and needed to get professional help. I had been talking to a Stephen Minister at my church for about a month, and while I enjoy his company and have a great deal of respect for him as a person, I realized that his “listening” alone was not helping me much. I consulted with my wife and mother (who has a 25-year history of clinical depression herself…) who were both very supportive and told me that yes, it was probably time to take the next step. Based on that, I went to a real doctor (MD Psychiatrist, the whole shebang) for the first time yesterday, and after spilling more guts and tears on his couch, left with a starter pack of Wellbutrin and a prescription for more. I just took the first one today, so I know that will take time, but I am hopeful about that. To the degree I am hopeful about anything anymore. I really like the doctor too, which is one of the few positive things I can say about this week so far.
My question - does anyone have experience in dealing with this kind of thing at work? How far to go, what to reveal (I have already revealed quite a lot…) etc.? Part of it that I think is so hard is this is my first experience with any type of depression. I’m 31. My mother’s depression was first diagnosed at age 38 and it has been recurring ever since. I denied that I was depressed or needed help from family and friends after Dad died for more than 2 months. I really just have no idea what happened to me from the person I was a year ago, but have to somehow put the pieces back together.
Any help or advice welcome, I am quite literally nearing my wit’s end I think – and I know my wife (while very loving and supportive, don’t get me wrong) is starting to think I’m really out there too…thanks.
Last edited by gostros; 08-19-2008 at 04:24 PM.