Coping with Depression after a Job Loss


These are tough times for many of us. So many of us have spent years, maybe even decades, in a career, contributing our best work, when suddenly the job disappears.

When this happens, we have lost more than money. We have lost self-esteem, confidence in our ability to look after our families, confidence in our own abilities. Our stress levels increase, and we may well begin to experience the symptoms of depression.

These days many jobs are off-loaded for reasons that have only to do with enhancing the bottom line, and nothing at all to do with our job performance.

Despite this, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling that we are somehow to blame, that we have let ourselves and our loved ones down.

Finances are an obvious stressor. The bills certainly don’t stop when work does.

No longer having a reason to get up and out of the house in the morning can be another stressor. We are used to being productive with our time, and suddenly we are sitting alone staring at the television all day.

Symptoms of Depression

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of depression:

  • Disordered sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Slowed thinking
  • Inability to concentrate or remember
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Deterring Depression

First, get up at the same time each morning, and go to bed at the same time each night. Keeping to a set schedule can help with sleep. Use your time during the day for job search and productive activities.

Get out in the community. Network with friends, join professional organizations (another source of networking) or join charitable organizations. Give your time value, if not for you, then for others.

Take the opportunity to seek out training for something new. Many communities offer subsidies for retraining the jobless. Some employers offer retraining as part of a severance package.

Get some exercise. Walk the dog, take up Tai Chi or Yoga (both very effective at lowering stress levels), join a gym. Exercise releases endorphins, which raise the mood. It also helps you maintain control of your appetite and get a good night’s sleep.

Don’t hesitate to talk to someone if the symptoms start to get in the way. Your physician is a place to start. The physician can rule out physical causes for your symptoms.

You can also contact a mental health professional. Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and clinical social workers can all provide diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety. Many offer treatment on a sliding scale when money is an issue.

Sources: Healthline and Health Communities


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