Battling Depression After Losing Job? Warning Signs to Look out for, Dos and Don’ts – check expert’s advice | Health News
For employees across the globe, especially for those in the tech world, the new year had started on a very bad note, with mass layoffs. Be it tech giants like Microsoft and Google or small start-ups, people have been given the pink slips and this includes employees in India. Job loss can be devastating for an individual and apart from the obvious financial implications, it can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. Dr Dr Vishu Kumar, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, talks to us about mental health issues that job loss can lead to and how to tackle them.
How Mental Health is Impacted by Job Loss
Job loss is a significant stressor especially when it happens suddenly. “The stress and uncertainty of being unemployed can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Losing a job can be perceived as a loss of identity and self-worth. It impacts a person’s mental well-being as well as that of his/her family,” says Dr Vishu Kumar. He adds, “Financial strain and the inability to provide for oneself and one’s family can also add to the emotional toll of job loss. Uncertainty about earning, and fulfilling social/family/husband/wife/parental roles becomes a challenge. The process is similar to that of grief.”
Symptoms to Look out for: How to Identify Clinical Depression
The mental health expert points out that expected reactional sadness is also called adjustment disorder. People with adjustment disorder will have symptoms of depression that are not consistently present and have not impaired that person to perform his role in work / social/family life. Whereas clinical depression will have consistent symptoms lasting for at least two weeks.
Dr Kumar points out that while everyone’s experience is unique, here are 10 general symptoms:
- Sadness or low mood or irritability
- Easily getting fatigued or lack of energy
- Loss of interest or lack of motivation
- Unable to enjoy activities that were pleasurable earlier
- Self-defeating thoughts like lack of hope, lack of self-worth, and self-harm ideas
- Disturbance in sleep/appetite
- Lack of concentration
- Memory deficits
- Palpitation, tremors
- Feeling on the edge, restlessness
When to see a specialist
Dr Kumar says that if the symptoms are consistent and cause dysfunction in a person’s life, then one must consult at the earliest. Earlier is better for the outcome, especially if there is a past or family history of mental health disorders/ suicide.
“It’s also a good idea to seek professional help if you have difficulty managing stress, if you have difficulty with self-care and daily activities, or if you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Even if you are not experiencing severe symptoms, it can be beneficial to talk to a professional to help you cope with the emotional impact of job loss and develop strategies for moving forward,” says Dr Kumar.
(Pic: Pixabay; representational purposes)
Therapist or Psychiatrist: Who to Approach?
First contact can be either a psychiatrist or a certified psychotherapist if the symptoms are mild to moderate, says Dr Kumar. “If the symptoms are moderate to severe, one should visit a psychiatrist first. An expert will decide on a case-to-case basis about what’s best for that person. At times a person may need a combination of both medications and therapy,” says Dr Kumar.
Also read: Mental Health – Adults with Depression More Likely to Develop Heart Problems, Says Study
How to Overcome Depression
Dr Kumar mentions key points to overcoming depression
- Building resilience in forming a good support system at the workplace and home where one can discuss mental health issues.
- A good amount of sleep each day with sleep hygiene
- Consuming healthy foods – green leafy vegetables, and fruits, which has a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Regular exercise/yoga
- Keep doing activities that were pleasurable earlier even if one cannot enjoy them like earlier
- Challenge self-defeating thoughts, and discuss them. Don’t lose hope and remember that this is not the end of the world/everything.
- Seek help at the earliest.
Battling Depression: Dos and don’ts
Acknowledge and accept your feelings: It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after losing a job, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. Allow yourself to feel these emotions but try not to dwell on them. Depression is not sign of weakness in personality.
Stay active: Try to maintain a routine and engage in activities that you enjoy, such as exercise, hobbies, or volunteer work. This can help to boost your mood and keep your mind occupied.
Connect with others: Talking to friends and family or joining a support group can help you to feel less alone and provide you with emotional support.
Seek professional help: A therapist or counselor can help you to work through your feelings and develop coping strategies.
Keep perspective: Remember that job loss is not a reflection of your worth as a person, and that there are many other opportunities out there. Stay positive and keep looking for new opportunities.
Isolate yourself: Avoid withdrawing from social activities and isolating yourself. This will make you feel worse.
Blame yourself: It’s easy to blame yourself for losing your job but remember that it’s not always within your control.
Neglect your physical health: Job loss can be a stressful time, but it’s important to continue to take care of your physical health by eating well and getting enough sleep.
Give up: Job loss can be a setback, but it’s important to keep a positive attitude and not give up on finding new opportunities.
Neglect your finances: Job loss can be a difficult time financially, but it’s important to stay on top of your finances and manage your budget to the best of your ability.
Avoid bad coping like substance abuse: Alcohol, tobacco, etc.
Dr Kumar has an important word of advice for friends and families of people battling depression following job loss. “As a friend/spouse/family member, it’s your responsibility to seek help especially if your loved one is battling depression because their capacity to take decisions has gotten impaired. Rember they might have self-harm ideas or acts (at times they may be having concealed ideas of self-harm even from the closed ones), so be cautious and observant.”
Also read: Google Layoffs 2023: HR Fired From Company While Interviewing a New Candidate to Hire for Job Role
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