Navigating Your Career and Battling Depression

Depression can derail your career. In fact, for many who struggle with mental disorders, even holding a basic job can be a challenge. 

navigating a career with depression

But depression or mood disorders don’t have to hold you back from a successful career. With a strong support network and a well-thought-out plan, you can achieve anything you desire. 

Seek Help for Dealing with Depression 

Seeking professional treatment for depression is the first step in taking control. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that a complete differential diagnosis and a multifaceted approach to treatment improves outcomes for patients suffering from depression and related mood disorders. This means using an appropriate combination of interventions that may include medication, traditional psychotherapy and alternative treatment protocols such as stress management. 

In addition to seeing a doctor or psychotherapist, managing depression successfully enough to enjoy a rewarding career requires a strong social support system. You can enlist the help of friends or family, or if you prefer to seek support elsewhere, you can find local and online depression support groups

Develop an Action Plan 

For those who suffer from depression, bipolar or other mood disorders, a formal action plan can mean the difference between success and failure. 

Develop a career action plan that helps you prioritize your goals and evaluate available opportunities. Keep an open mind as you explore your options. If the job market doesn’t support your objectives, or if your depression doesn’t mesh well with the traditional employer/employee paradigm, consider taking on short-term gigs or contract work. 

Or you might even want to test the entrepreneurial waters and start your own micro-business

Practice Self-Care 

Whatever career path you choose to pursue, taking good care of yourself every day is essential. 

Self-care involves commonsense strategies like eating right and getting a good night’s rest. For those who struggle with depression, it also involves keeping up with your treatment regimen and doctor or therapy appointments.  

Most jobs are stressful, so you may want to incorporate stress-management techniques into your self-care regimen. Yoga, meditation or other calming practices will help you maintain perspective and balance between your depression and your career demands. 

Choose the Right Career Path 

Finally, make sure you are pursing a job or career that’s good for you. The wrong job — or a toxic workplace environment — can worsen your depression. A career path that aligns with your personal goals and values is critical, but finding the right employer is equally important. 

Seek out an employer that provides both health care and workplace support for employees with mental health challenges. This might include offering flex time, work-from-home opportunities, mental health benefits and educational opportunities. 

You can learn more about how to find a company that will work with your challenges by exploring the resources offered by the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.