A Question: How does suffering from depression impair career progression?
I currently feel that I cannot be fully open about my depression in my workplace, as I feel that I would be ‘tarnished’ with an incorrect misconception that sufferers of depression are permanently depressed and therefore cannot function as a part of high performing teams.
I would be very interested in finding out more about this, especially in terms of what makes fellow sufferers think this way, and what are the actual attitudes towards depression held by those in senior management.
My depression has almost always come about due to work, be that with people at work undermining and belittling me or through the lack of work and leadership I feel that I am giving; meaning my guilt takes over and the darkness absorbs me.
I was only properly diagnosed with ‘Severe Reactive Depression’ in August 2011, but it’s clear that the signs were there for many years, even back in my teens. However, as I’m now on the path to recovery and management of my depression, there are still many areas I feel that are holding me back.
The main one is that of stigma from my bosses, and if they find out that I suffer from depression, what will happen when I’m up for a promotion or if I am put forward to be a leader on a major scheme?
There are a few people who do know about my depression in work, but they are colleagues and my line manager, who have been very supportive.
I’ve still not ‘come out’ about my depression, only my closest family and friends know about it, and very few of them know what I actually went through, as well as how close I came to not being here anymore.
I’m in a dilemma, I don’t want to be someone that shouts and screams about the fact they suffer from depression, yet I want to help those in a similar situation to me.
Can one be done without the other?
Although I’m now as near fully recovered as I’ll ever be, I still suffer a lot in silence. With only my awesome wife helping the darkest moments, which are getting rarer. My confidence and self-esteem are getting better by the day, so I feel that by opening up the reaction I’d be met with would be one of ‘shut up Gav, there’s nothing wrong with you!’, which, in a way, is fine, as at the moment I’m feeling pretty good.
Having depression is not the same as being depressed.
How many others feel this way, yet don’t have an amazing wife, the understanding that they are ill and the knowledge that they can turn to someone when needed?
How many talented, intelligent and skilful people are out there not fulfilling their true potential, as they fear what others may think or worse still that they don’t deserve success, happiness and fulfilment?
I would love to know if there is any research out there on the following topics:
Links between depression and career progression
Current attitudes held by top level managers towards using employees with depression
What support mechanisms are in place within small, medium and large companies for those who suffer from depression?
What support is available to employees that would like to deal with their depression?
I’ll be looking into this myself in greater detail, but if anyone has any links to research, or any insight that could help, then I’d love to hear from you.
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