Should You Quit Your Job if it’s Making You Depressed?

Should You Quit Your Job if it's Making You Depressed?
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Are you feeling depressed at work? Is your job making you miserable? If so, then quitting might seem like the only option left. After all, who wants to spend their days working under such conditions?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 350 million people worldwide. Depression is the leading cause of disability globally. And unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have depression until it’s too late.

Depression is often linked to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. While some people experience these symptoms without having clinical depression, others suffer from a major depressive disorder. This condition causes people to feel sad or hopeless all the time, have low energy, have trouble focusing, and even think about killing themselves.

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What is work depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects how you feel, think, and behave. In some cases, it causes sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in sleep patterns, poor appetite or overeating, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of death or suicide, and recurrent thoughts about self-harm. Symptoms tend to come and go over time.

Even though a job may not cause depression, the workplace atmosphere may make it worse for those who already have the condition.

A study published in April 2018 suggests that employees exposed to high emotional demands at work are more likely to experience depressive symptoms. This effect seems to be stronger among women than men.

The World Health Organization says that depression rates are lower in places of work that give people the tools and opportunities they need to deal with stress.

Workplace stress vs. workplace depression

Depression is often confused with normal feelings of anxiety and frustration at work. But it’s not the same thing.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes people to feel sad all the time, lose interest in things they used to enjoy, lose energy and motivation, and think about dying or killing themselves.

People often feel stressed at work, but many people can deal with stress without getting clinical depression.

Talk to your employer or human resources department if you feel depressed or anxious about your job. Your boss might offer some solutions, like flexible hours, a change in responsibilities, or even a transfer to a different job within the company.

You may want to consider seeking professional help, too. People who suffer from clinical depression usually respond well to antidepressants, therapy, or both.

Is your employment detrimental to your mental health?

During the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people are worried about how their jobs affect their mental health.

For some, it’s been a struggle to balance the demands of their professional lives and the needs of their family members.

Others are dealing with increased workloads and changing responsibilities. Still, others have trouble finding enough free time to spend with loved ones.

Naomi Torres-Mackie says several signs indicate you might be experiencing workplace stress. She suggests asking yourself questions like these:

  • Do I dread going to work each day?
  • Do I feel drained upon returning home?
  • Am I irritable or short-tempered?
  • Have my energy levels dropped?
  • Is my sleep affected by work?

Why Is Depression Linked to Disability?

Depression causes disability because it affects your physical health: your heart, immune system, brain, and hormones. Your brain becomes unresponsive to external stimuli. You feel like everything around you is too loud, too bright, or just plain wrong. and you find yourself thinking about death or suicide.

If you’re depressed, you might lose interest in food, sex, and social interaction. You can’t sleep, and you don’t want to eat. You can’t concentrate, and your memory worsens. You may experience headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight gain, and trouble sleeping.

You may notice that you’ve become irritable and angry and no longer enjoy things you once did. You may have thoughts of harming yourself or others.

Workplace depression: What to do?

First, don’t beat yourself up. There are plenty of people out there far worse off than you are. And it doesn’t make you weak to admit that you’re struggling. Realizing you’re having trouble can help others see that they aren’t alone.

Second, this is not a character flaw. Many successful people struggled with depression and anxiety, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Third, this is not a weakness or a sign of failure. It’s a medical issue that requires attention and treatment.

Fourth, if this isn’t your first experience with sadness and anxiety, you could already have resources available to you for wellbeing.

Fifth, ask your therapist to coach you through your bad periods while working. They may be able to meet you during your lunch break or even over email.

Sixth, talk to your coworkers. Don’t feel like you have to hide your struggles. You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.

Seventh, seek support. Your employer probably offers employee assistance programs, and many companies offer free counseling sessions. Or, if you prefer talking to someone face-to-face, find a local counselor who specializes in helping people cope with stress.

Eighth, take care of yourself. Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, sleep enough, and spend quality time with friends and family.

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How is depression addressed in relation to employment?

Depression affects people differently, but it’s important to remember that everyone feels depressed sometimes. Symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless, anxious, guilty, irritable, or worthless. Depression doesn’t just affect mood; it impacts how we think, act, sleep, eat, and even our relationships.

If you notice yourself experiencing these symptoms, talk to someone about what’s happening. Your family, friends, coworkers, doctor, therapist, clergyperson, or employer could provide support.

You might want to start by talking to your immediate supervisor or boss. They likely know you well enough to understand whether something at work affects your ability to do your job effectively.

If they cannot address your situation, ask HR if your company has an Employee Assistance Program. Employees who are dealing with stress or anxiety can get counseling and referrals through these programs.

Outside work, a combination treatment plan involving therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes can help treat depression.

  • The goal of therapy is to help you learn how to deal with the feelings, thoughts, and actions that come with depression.
  • Medications can make things easier by reducing symptoms like sadness, fatigue, and low energy.
  • Changes to your lifestyle, like exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough rest, can help you feel better and less depressed.

Signs that you may need to change your careers if it is making you unhappy

A job that dominates your thoughts can cause problems outside of work, too. People often feel like they’re being pulled in multiple directions and cannot focus on anything else because of what they do.

This thinking can lead to negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and jealousy.

The book by Amy Morin titled “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” says a hostile work environment can cause people to be miserable and may, in some rare cases, even be linked with depression. The problem is, once you fall into that trap, it can be difficult to get out. Here are some ways to tell if your job is making you miserable and that you might need a change:

1. You find yourself getting angry about trivial things.

2. You start feeling jealous over seemingly insignificant events.

3. You start worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.

4. You become frustrated easily.

Utilizing Coping Mechanisms While Still Working

The experts say it’s important to find ways to cope while still working in a toxic environment. Mental health issues are often associated with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma, and PTSD. So how do you deal with those feelings while still at work? Here are some tips from the mental health professionals we talked to:

List positive affirmations about yourself every morning. This helps boost your self-esteem and gives you something to look forward to during the day.

Take deep breaths before your first meeting. Deep breathing reduces tension and increases oxygen flow to the brain.

Take breaks throughout the day. Breaks help you recharge and give you time to think about what you want out of your next step.

Practice gratitude with people in your life. Gratitude makes us feel good and boosts our mood.


So, what should you do if your job is making you depressed? First and foremost, it’s important to get some outside perspective. Talk to friends or family, see a therapist, or talk to someone at the career center at your school.

Once you know what might be wrong and where you want to go, it’s time to start taking action.

Update your resume, start networking, and figure out what steps you need to take to land the job of your dreams. If this sounds daunting, don’t worry. Our team of experts is here to help.

Contact us today for a remarkable resume that will help showcase your skills and talents in the best possible light. With the right tools, anything is possible, including finding a job that makes you happy again.

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