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Think this really is depression. Now what?

(15 Posts)
onshakyground Wed 20-Jul-11 12:19:51

I'm a regular with a namechange. I've been unhappy at work for some time now. For various reasons, I haven't gone off to get another job, though I've been planning to.

Over the past few months, my work performance as deteriorated to the point that I'm barely doing anything. I have a list of things I ought to be doing, but every time I think about it I feel so grey/exhausted I never get started. Instead my "to do" list gets longer and longer, and I feel worse and worse and become less and less functional. Throughout all this, I've been telling myself to pull my socks up and just crack on with things. Sometimes I do rally and get some things done, other times I just bottle it and crash.

Things have taken a definite turn for the worse. I used to plan to get another job, but now I'm fantasizing about winning the lottery (yes I know - I might as well dream of being struck by lightning). Here's a scary bit - I can't imagine any other escape.

I used to be a high achiever - good grades, great career progression, do-it-all life. Now I'm dreading doing anything. I'm starting to drink a bit every evening and I'm starting to comfort eat, too.

This is depression, isn't it? I've taken today off work and am planning to see my GP tonight, but what do I say? I'm scared of ADs and am worried I won't be able to rouse myself to do thing things that are recommended to me in CBT, but am also scared of feeling like this forever - my image of myself is so trashed I don't even know who I am any more.

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Jul-11 12:26:14

Oh poor you. First off, I'm sure all of this is fixable in the long run. Don't be scared of ADs. If someone has severe back pain due to putting themselves under physical strain, you'd expect them to take anti-inflammatories and pain killers as well as going to physio / reassessing the causes of the physical strain. So it is no different with mental health strain.

Is there anyone at work you can talk to - HR, occupational health team - to work out why you are having problems at work and what can be done to fix them? Your employers should be told that your current work situation is making you ill, they have a duty to help you fix that.

onshakyground Wed 20-Jul-11 12:35:45

Thanks fluffyanimal. The back strain analogy is comforting.

Speaking to someone at work - ugh. What a can of worms. There's quite a bit of backstory on why I'm so unhappy there, and there's no easy fix. I think ultimately I should get out, but financially that's really tough. sad

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Jul-11 12:41:59

Are you in a trade union? Maybe they could help. There must be someone neutral. Basically, if you are so unhappy that you can no longer do your job well, it's in their interests to help you sort it. Maybe you can stress that angle, say that you don't want to get into recriminations or complaints or whatever, but you need to find a way of fulfilling your responsibilities effectively and want to work with them to achieve this.

Then once that cuts you a bit of slack, you might be in a better headspace to feel confident about looking elsewhere, or to decide that actually you can stay there after all.

If there are issues at work, it is surely better to try to lance the boil and prove to everyone you want to do your job well? Easier said than done I know, but you already know you must face up to the problems rather than hiding in booze and comfort eating. You've taken one step - getting the GP appointment - get him/her onside to help you confront work. You might even get legitimately signed off sick for a while, which will give you concrete proof that the situation is not working for you or for your employer.

onshakyground Wed 20-Jul-11 13:04:01

No trade union - I'm management in the private sector. (Which makes it worse - I'm supposed to be setting an example!) Possibly HR, but... well, I'll think about it. IME HR is there for the company.

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Jul-11 14:46:42

Does your company have an occupational therapist? Your HR department should list staff benefits, have a dig around.

NanaNina Wed 20-Jul-11 22:36:41

I think you're right osg, HR depts are there for the company. Is there a possibility that you can get yourself signed off sick for a couple of weeks, to recharge your batteries, and see how you feel without the pressure of work. Incidentally I think mental health issues come under the umbrella of the Disability Discrimation Act (not 100% sure but read it somewhere recently) but you could probably find out on google.

As others have said there is no need to be afraid of ADs - they are a life line for many people (including myself) though sometimes you have to try a couple or so to find the right one for you. Unfortunately they react very differently on individuals, and that can make it difficult to find the right one for you but most people improve with the first one prescribed.

As far as CBT is concerned - you don't need to do anything specific, it's about trying to see things in a more balanced way than getting into a negative thought spiral, which affects behaviour, which affects mood. To be honest it all sounds very logical to me when I am feeling ok but when the setbacks come (as they do every few weeks) I find it harder to put the theory into practice.

When I read your post I was reminded of a book someone loaned me called "Depression - the curse of the strong" - sorry forgot the author, but if you put the title into Amazon it will be on there for under a tenner. It was written by a psychiatrist and I think you mind find it helpful.

Sending you good wishes and hoping that you can believe you will get better but it's a slow recovery so you have to be a bit patient with yourself.

onshakyground Thu 21-Jul-11 14:11:15

Thanks Nina. I've ordered that book from Amazon.

I've now been to my GP. Thank heavens there was a locum in - my GP is a bit of a crusty old codger, and I wasn't looking forward to revealing my mental baggage to him. The locum was a woman and probably around my age, so it was much easier to talk to her about how I'm feeling. She's prescribed citalopram and referred me to a therapist, so we're off.

If feels good to be at the start of doing something. I'm off work again today, and will give some thought to getting signed off. I can't deny it feels much less awful being away from the office.

midnightservant Thu 21-Jul-11 22:51:50

Can your company provide some help through Occupational Health - a doctor, not a therapist. Even though I had to leave work through work-related stress, I did find the OH professionals they had to be quite helpful.

onshakyground Wed 27-Jul-11 10:14:37

Okay, I've checked on my company's Occupational Health. They need to be contacted by my manager, as they seem to be (again) set up to support managers in dealing with problems their direct reports are having, so I would have to ask my boss to contact them for me. In that case, I would probably be best dealing with my GP and then my boss/OH/HR, as it's all part of the same process, right?

I feel even worse at work this morning. Today is Day 7 of ADs and my anxiety is definitely higher - I have sweaty palms this morning, and feel like I'm viewing everyone through a mask. I just don't want to be here - I can barely interact with my team. I must be freaking them out. Agh. sad

onshakyground Wed 27-Jul-11 14:38:09

Me again - anxiety now much worse! Feeling almost panicky, and for the first time feel like the atrium at work is too big/bright and I'm exposed. Is this a side effect of the citalopram? I've tried ringing my GP, but my surgery is one of those ones that closes in the middle of the day and doesn't answer the phone until after 4pm. Feeling really shaky & uncomfortable. Does anyone have any advice?

swallowedAfly Wed 27-Jul-11 14:44:14

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swallowedAfly Wed 27-Jul-11 14:44:57

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onshakyground Wed 27-Jul-11 14:48:45

Yes, can go home - just feel slightly over self-conscious and am probably overthinking what my team will think.

And breath...

(Thank you)

swallowedAfly Wed 27-Jul-11 15:42:39

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