Posted by fxckfeelings on February 2, 2016Share This Post
It’s very hard to determine whether you’re successful, lovable, or just a worthwhile human being when your thoughts are distorted by the shit-colored lens of depression. Even if you’re making good efforts and getting reasonable results, you’ll see nothing but could-haves, should-haves, and don’t-bothers. That’s why it’s important to recognize when you’re depressed, how depression distorts your thinking, and what to do to be more objective and positive about your achievements. If you can see the effect depression is having on your mind, you can see past the filter to the truth.
A couple of months ago I was miserable because I worked 12 hours a day for little money and also had to juggle school. While working at this job, my girlfriend for five years left me. I quit the job but never really recovered. In part because I felt I’d disappointed my teachers, because I didn’t perform at school like I used to. Also, I’ve stranded myself from my friends and colleagues because of some internal school politics, plus I rebounded with one of the girls from my class that everybody seemed to want, so now there’s lots of resentment. Since quitting/everything going south at school I can’t concentrate properly, always feel depressed, emotional and anxious around people, and have little interest for things that I used to love. Either something makes me not give a shit about it or makes me cry. I even found a new job where I could make good money in a couple of years and maybe be set for life, but I still feel like shit because the job’s not the field I’m going to school for, so I’m so conflicted. It’s seems like I either try to do what I love/thought I loved but probably will make little money OR make some money doing a job I don’t really love and get to do all the things you couldn’t do before because I was kinda poor. My goal is to get out of the dumps and choose the right career for the right reasons.
When you’re depressed, everything seems like a rotten mistake that’s all your fault, whether it’s getting dumped, fired, or just being born. Then depression makes it harder to do homework, interact with friends, or find another girlfriend, so you perform poorly and have more to be upset about.
It you listen to what your depressed thoughts are telling you, you’ll believe you’re a loser and your own worst enemy. While it’s hard to ignore those voices, it’s worth remembering that they’re full of shit.
So, if you can’t ignore the voices, speak over them by remembering the truth; you have an ability to work very hard but you’ve discovered there are limits to what you can do in a day, particularly when you’re not well. If you try to do too much and push too hard, you’ll perform poorly. If, however, you define your priorities and scale back your expectations, you will come out of this experience stronger than before.
Your first priority is to manage depression and negative thinking. After reading about depression or consulting an expert, decide whether you have symptoms and whether they’re seriously interfering with your life. If they are, it’s time to try various treatments, beginning with exercise, diet and cognitive behavioral therapy. They may improve your symptoms and, even if they don’t, they can help improve your negative attitude. If these aren’t sufficient, there are low-risk medications are worth trying.
Then determine your job priorities, assuming they include money, time flexibility (so you can finish your education and re-start your social life), and a friendly boss (to help you recover from depression). If work also satisfies your professional and creative needs, that’s great, but it’s not your main concern.
It’s no failure, however, to take a job you hate or one that doesn’t meet all your requirements. Most of us are forced, at one time or another, to do a job we don’t like in order to survive. You should respect yourself when you make a painful compromise for the right reasons, rather than blaming yourself for hurting.
In spite of depression, you seem to be surviving at school, sustaining a social life, and facing an interesting job choice. You may not be functioning as well as you used to or as well as you like, and your prospects may not promise happiness in the short run, but that’s not under your control.
Judge yourself according to what you’re able to do with this admittedly painful and messy situation. You’ll find much about yourself to respect, little to blame yourself for, and good reason to hope that your work, school, and relationships will eventually take you where you wish to go.
“I can’t feel good about my performance or prospects, but I’m feeling sadder and more depressed than usual, and my feelings have affected my judgment. I will rely on objective methods to determine how I’m doing, and give myself credit for how well I deal with disability.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname