Coming to Terms With Depression
Should You Tell Your Employer About Depression?
Consider whether you want to talk to your employer or any co-workers. If you need to take time off or adjust your job responsibilities to lessen the pressure, then it may make sense to explain why. You may want to bring in educational materials about depression or a note from your doctor for your manager to read.
However, not everyone understands the seriousness of the condition and how it can affect a person’s ability to work. If you’re unsure about whether to mention it at work, it may help talk it over with a trusted friend or your therapist.
No matter what you decide, it’s important to understand your rights as an employee. The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people from discrimination because of a disability. You can find information on it at the U.S. Department of Justice web site www.ada.gov or by calling 800-514-0301.
If you find that you need more time off than is covered by your vacation and sick leave, see if your employer offers short or long-term disability insurance. This will allow you to take time off while receiving a percentage of your pay. If this is not available, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees with a serious illness to take off up to 12 weeks unpaid without losing their job. You can find more information online at www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm or by calling 866-4USWAGE (866-487-9243).
The Road to Recovery: Small Steps Add Up
Recovering from depression requires compassion -- above all, from you. You have a medical illness and you need time to recover. But one of the difficulties of depression is that its symptoms often interfere with the activities that can help you feel better.
Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and reaching out to trusted friends and family can all aid recovery. But depression affects your energy level and ability to sleep and eat. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness can make it difficult to contact people or even go for a walk.