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According to the South African depression and anxiety group, depression is a 'whole-body' illness, involving your body, moods and thoughts. It affects the way you eat, sleep and feel about yourself. All age groups and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups can experience depression. People living with depression are often blamed and ostracised due to the disease being poorly understood. But during the last few decades scientific research has expanded our understanding and firmly established that 'mental illnesses' like depression are biologically brain based diseases and can be treated like any other disease.
Depression is a biologically brain based disease and will impair your cognitive functioning if not treated.
So are you stressed or do you have depression?
The answer lies in the severity and the duration of your symptoms. If you have been sad for over 2 weeks, you are likely depressed. Stress should last a couple of days and you should be able to bounce back. With depression however, you cannot make decisions, you struggle with problem solving, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness accompanied by feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that last for months and sometimes years. Depressed people cannot respond to positive events in their lives. They are stuck in a loop of negativity and sometimes they feel suicide is the only way out.
Could your workplace be the reason you are depressed?
The answer is no! You cannot get depression simply from ''work.'' Unless there is something deeper going on there and work serves as a trigger. According to science: a person's life experience, genetic inheritance, age, sex, brain chemistry imbalance et al, all play a significant role in the development of depression.
However, if you feel that your work is contributing to you being depressed, try to address it with your line manager and if work isn't the primary reason you are depressed then try to identify what else in your life could be contributing to you feeling depressed.
Assuming you are depressed
You will come across as someone who is indifferent, indecisive and unsure of their abilities, lacking confidence and generally lacking motivation to carry day-to-day tasks or taking longer than usual to complete simple tasks.
You may come across as a risk to the company. If you are lucky, your employer may offer support, which has yielded better results in terms of employee satisfaction and retention.
Truth is, depression, left untreated, may have a significant impact on your work performance and further contributes to presenteeism (at work but not engaged) and absenteeism. Like most health conditions, early detection and effective treatment diminishes the severity and impact of the condition. Taking time off to get medical help is crucial to the healing process.
If you are feeling stressed at work and think that a new job opportunity is what you need, we can help you with your next career move. However, if you think your depression is in its severe stages and needs professional help, please contact the South African Depression And Anxiety Group.