What to Do When Depression Makes You the Black Sheep at Work

February 9, 2022 Mahevash Shaikh

You might count yourself lucky if you have a job, the work is fine, and the pay is decent. But then there is a problem that's hard to ignore: You don't fit in because you are depressed. You feel like the odd one out, the black sheep at work. Here are some things you can do to help yourself.

What to Do If You Are the Black Sheep at Work and Depressed

Accept that Depression Will Make You Stand Out 

It's a fact that depression plays a significant role in shaping your personality. It's why people with depression may barely participate in workplace events, minimize social interaction, speak when necessary in meetings, and so on. You don't need to apologize for saving your energy to do your job. Accepting that depression is why you are who you are will prevent you from having unrealistic expectations for yourself. It will enable you to respect your limitations instead of beating yourself up for standing out. 

Ignore Cliques and Find One Friend

Where there are people, there will be cliques. When I last worked in an office, I stayed away from them because I didn't have the mental energy to interact with a group of people. Plus, none of the members of these cliques were my kind of people. They were outgoing, overly gossipy, and endorsed toxic positivity. A few months into the job, I was lucky to find a person who didn't fit in either. We became friends, and my work life instantly became far more bearable. So my advice to you is to forget about joining cliques and connect with at least one coworker. Note that you don't have to become best friends. All you need is a friendly face to talk to and ask for help. Even having one person on your side makes a world of difference. Plus, misfits are harder to pick on when they get together. 

Assess Your Situation and Take Action

Figure out if you are getting discriminated against because of your personality or for some other reason. In my case, I was labeled shy. But people neither gave me a hard time nor did my work suffer because I was reserved. 

In contrast, I was "othered" for keeping to myself in another workplace. Coworkers were uncooperative and passive-aggressive. If I could go back in time, I would report their exclusionary behavior. Being singled out because you are different is a form of workplace bullying. Stand up for yourself and talk to your manager. If that doesn't help, approach your Human Resources person. Whatever you do, do not accept toxic behavior as your fate and put up a fight. Quiet, depressed people have every right to be treated fairly at work.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2022, February 9). What to Do When Depression Makes You the Black Sheep at Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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