Patient Blogs | Depression
How I Work While I’m Depressed
photo of exhausted businesswoman

Getting up and going to work every day can be difficult for anyone, especially when you’re struggling with depression. When I feel depressed, I just want to lie down in my bed all day with no responsibilities. It can be difficult to get up and make a meal for myself, let alone get up and ready for work. 

Having depression and a full-time job is exhausting. Depression takes all the energy from you. You feel like you could lie in bed all day and still be tired. Life can seem like a cycle of going to work, lying in bed, and getting up and going to work again. Getting to all the other tasks on my to-do list in my everyday life plus working can feel impossible.

Staying focused on the task at hand is challenging. When I’m depressed, there is a big dark cloud over me. It makes it hard to think clearly and complete tasks. All that is on my mind is how much I want to go home and crawl into my bed. This can be discouraging at work because I feel like I’m not being as efficient as I can be. 

I used to think I would like remote working, but I found it didn’t pair well with my depression. It was hard to work from home and fight the urge to crawl back into bed. My days all blended together, and I spent a lot of time alone while working remotely, which negatively affected my mental health. I’ve found that for my depression, it is beneficial for me to get up and leave the house every day. Getting dressed and doing my hair/makeup can lift my mood, too. I no longer work remotely. Leaving my home and interacting with different people every day is good for my mental health. 

Here are some tips I have for working with depression.

Work a job that gives you purpose. I have worked jobs where I feel like I’m serving a purpose, and I’ve worked jobs where I don’t feel that way. It’s so much easier to get up and go to work every morning when I’m serving a purpose. 

Find out what motivates you to get to work, and cling to that. For me, I know I’m helping people when I go to work every day. Brightening people’s lives is a reason I get up in the morning. When I’m depressed, I have little motivation to do things for myself, but if it involves helping someone else, I’m more inclined to do it.

Whatever your driving force is for why you work, shape it into motivation. If your reason is providing for your family, focus on that. If you’re in a job that you don’t enjoy now but know will help your resume to further your career, use that to motivate you. If you really don’t like the job you’re in, take steps to find a different job. You’re never stuck where you are. There are things we can’t control in life, like depression or needing to work a job. I try to focus on the things I can control – like what my job is. 

My passion is mental health, and I am glad to say I now have a job back in mental health again. Working with individuals with the same value in mental health is such a positive experience for me. Having the opportunity to connect with and assist those who are struggling with their mental health makes my own struggles with it worth it. 




Photo Credit: 5m3photos / Moment via Getty Images

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Katharine Hartleb

Katharine Hartleb

Diagnosed since 2014

Katharine Hartleb was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2014, at age 16. She has a passion for helping others and plans on becoming a mental health counselor. Hartleb lives in Charleston, SC, and is a recovery coach at a substance use disorder facility. She is also a young adult presenter for NAMI, sharing her personal story. Connect with her through her personal Instagram and her kat4kindness Instagram.

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