More Tips on Keeping a Job When You Have Depression

October 26, 2014 Charity Barrett

More tips on keeping a job when you have depression? Yes. More. In the last article, I shared five tips for how to maintain a job with depression. Most of those tips centered around physiological wellness enhance performance on the job. This article will delve into five additional things you can do to keep a job when you have depression.

You Can Keep a Job With Depression--Follow This Advice

Select Work that Suits You and Your Depression

You should be selective about the type of jobs you apply for and accept. Maintaining employment while you have depression is challenging enough. You do not need the added difficulty of having a job that is not a good fit for you or your depression symptoms. When offered a job, before you accept it, be sure to request the job description, an employee handbook, the required work schedule and as much other information about the work environment as possible. Never go into an employment situation blind. Due diligence at the onset helps avoid disappointment later.

Develop a Rapport with Your Supervisor and Colleagues

If you feel it is possible, try to develop a good relationship with your supervisor and co-workers. If you and your supervisor have a good rapport, he/she may be more flexible and lenient in working with you during periods of difficulty. Get to know the co-workers that are knowledgeable, competent, helpful and supportive. You may need them.

Maintaining employment when you have depression can be very challenging. The key to success at a job when you have depression is doing these five things.In my line of work, I have no option but to work with tons of people regularly. When I do not have a good relationship with the people that are surrounding me in the work environment, it is very unhealthy for me. Try to be as personable as possible and foster healthy workplace relationships.

Be Organized When You Work with Depression

Disorganization and clutter can cause stress which triggers depression. Being organized is a must for me. If tasks and my work environment are not organized, I find it is more difficult to concentrate. We know that depression can cause problems with focusing.

Get a day planner. Write down deadlines, appointments, notes, reminders, etc. Make things-to-do lists in the planner on the date you are making the list. Strike through fully-completed items and refer back to old lists to ensure tasks were completed so that your supervisor doesn't have to.

Know When to Take a Mental Health Break at Work

Learn when to take breaks, both mental and physical. Know when it's time to end your workday and don't take work home with you if you don't have to. If you do have to perform work-related tasks at home, be sure to do so with boundaries that respect your personal needs.

I have to always remind myself of this tip. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in your work and not have proper work-life balance. Don’t worry. Sometimes you have to miss a deadline or present work that you may not feel is your best because you just needed to stop and take time to rest and regroup. If you feel that you are not going to meet the expectation of your supervisor, contact him/her and explain your concern and see if there is any assistance or leniency that can be provided. Even individuals without depression need to take a mental health day sometimes.

Keep a Workload that is Manageable with Your Depression

Just because we have depression does not mean that we can’t have an outstanding work ethic. Many of us take pride in the way we do our jobs and believe the sky is the limit for our professional growth. Beware perfectionists and overachievers: do not overload yourself trying to impress a supervisor, get that promotion or outshine your co-workers. Always keep in mind that just by the very fact that you are showing up and meeting your minimum job requirements are major accomplishments considering how debilitating depression can be for us.

Be fair to yourself. You do not have anything to prove. I have trouble in this area but I am working on it. I tend to pile things on and then get overwhelmed which renders me ineffective in all areas. Keep your workload and expectations within reasonable limits.

Consider Getting Disability Status for Your Depression

If you feel that you need as much protection as possible from losing your job due to your depression, consider getting a formal disability status under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are criteria that must be met, but if you meet those criteria, you would be legally protected, to a certain extent, from discrimination in the workplace. Your employer is supposed to make “reasonable accommodations” for you to be able to complete your job duties with your disability.

Being formally declared disabled due to any mental illness is not a guaranteed advantage. Disclosure of your illness or being labeled "disabled" can bring different types of problems. As we know, there remains a stigma associated with being mentally ill.

I own a few different employee-based businesses. I have been on both ends of this issue. I have disclosed the nature of my illness with some people that I work with and I have had employees that have informally shared their mental health diagnoses and symptoms with representatives within my company. I have seen the information abused and misused in some circumstances due to the negative image people have of individuals with mental illness. Ignorance and immaturity play a role as well. This is unfortunate, but a reality.

Think carefully before you make the decision to pursue disability status under the ADA. It may or may not give you the desired results you are hoping to get.

It is very commendable for anybody that suffers from depression to try to seek and maintain employment. Some days the depression can be so severe that we cannot get out of bed, groom ourselves or even speak. With this in mind, anyone with depression that takes on the challenge of trying to have a career, earn income and contribute to a household is nothing short of a superhero.

My depression is on the more severe end of the spectrum and although I have, at times, been unable to care for myself and function adequately, I have found ways to be successful in my career. I hope that these tips help you the way they have helped me.

You can find Charity on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

APA Reference
Barrett, C. (2014, October 26). More Tips on Keeping a Job When You Have Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Charity Barrett

Gary Puntman
May, 17 2018 at 12:39 pm

I agree that you should develop a good relationship with your supervisor. Like you said, this can help them be more understanding if you are going through times of difficulty. They can also be a good support for you as well. Relationships can help a lot to brighten your mood.

November, 2 2014 at 1:09 am

I was unaware that it is possible to get a formal declaration of disability under the ADA. When I disclosed my bipolar after a period of approved short-term disability, my employer not only refused to make reasonable accommodations for me, but also increased my job pressure by putting me under a microscope and documenting the slightest shortcoming. The pressure eventually became too much and I was essentially forced or pushed out of my job. I've always felt my ADA rights were violated and have considered seeking legal counsel to sue them. I don't even know if that's possible. Would the fact that I don't have a formal declaration of disability before all this happened kill any chances at a lawsuit? I'm currently awaiting review of my appeal for SSDI as I have been unable to work since this situation took place. I feel I was deeply wronged by ny employer and am having a hard time letting this go.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Charity Barrett
November, 10 2014 at 5:00 pm

I am sorry that you are struggling with that situation. It is usually unjust when employers do not try to accommodate individuals with disabilities, however, I find that I have a perspective that balances my experience as an employer and an employee and a person with depression. I cannot advise you legally of course, but from a emotional standpoint, I would encourage you to consult a therapist about your feelings around the situation. If you are having a hard time letting go, seek clarity and consider your thinking in regard to the dynamic on that last job. Sometimes, we are very sensitive to things that other people say and do. I find that when I talk to my therapist about things that I am super upset about with other people and situations, I find that in time, I am able to better accept the situation when I am able to accept some degree of responsibility. This way, I do not feel powerless to change my circumstances. Oftentimes, your frustration can subside with a shift in perspective.
As far as being protected by ADA, I believe that you would first have to have had been declared disabled and notified your employer of your limitations and come up with an approved plan on how the employer could reasonably accommodate you. Employers do not have to do what we may feel they should do to work with us and our needs. So this becomes an issue of subjective views on the part of the employee and employer. The classification is a very important part of being protected under ADA. And remember, like I said in my article, the ADA was designed to try to protect Americans with disabilities however, it again becomes an issue of perspective of what a "reasonable accommodation" is.
Of course you should speak to an attorney about a law suit, but I am a firm believer that law suits are stress inducers and rarely give the claimant the outcome they are looking for when the issue is largely based on matter of perspective and not involving very large sums of money. Many times after a lawsuit is said and done, you find yourself exhausted, broke and more disgusted than when you started the pursuit.
What's most important for us is our mental health. So you should seek guidance from your support system and see what will be the healthiest approach to take.
I hope this was a tad bit helpful...

November, 1 2014 at 9:40 am

I have depression and anxiety. I have had to quit because I couldn't handle it. Do you have any tips for battling panic attacks and social anxiety in the work place?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Charity Barrett
November, 10 2014 at 4:46 pm

I do have some experience with treating those two illnesses but I do not have the personal experience to draw from which I think is really helpful to our readers. I think it would be a greater service to you if I direct you to one of our writers that deal with those illnesses because they have the personal experience. Let me check with my colleagues to see who would best assist you. One thing I might suggest is seeking employment opportunities that allow you to work from home and do not expose you to the things that trigger your anxiety. If you can perform your job duties in a place that is safe for you, that would be ideal. There are so many opportunities that are out here that are not traditional 9-5, report to an office and supervisor, etc. I hope that idea points you in the right direction until I can refer you to someone that can help you more.

Nancy Barnes
October, 31 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hello- how to I file a formal disability status? I'm currently on disability & am trying to get back to work.
This would be great to have. I've searched the internet with no luck. Would this be FMLA?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Charity Barrett
November, 10 2014 at 4:39 pm

Can you give me a few more specifics about your situation? What type of disability are you on? Are you receiving SSDI? And you would like to know how to be formally deemed disabled so that you can fall under the classification of individuals with disabilities that the ADA was created to protect? So that you can be accommodated in the workplace? That is different than being approved for FMLA. If you let me know exactly what you are looking to do, I can give you more precise and accurate information. I eagerly await your response.

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