Dealing with depression at work can often be debilitating, especially if you've been diagnosed with a severe form of depression. In fact, you may need to take time off from your job or come to the conclusion that your current job is where the primary source of your stress and anxiety resides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that depression can result in work absenteeism and short-term disability. Though you may have anxiety about jumping back into the work force after time off to deal with your depression and get well, you can take steps to ensure a successful recovery.
Make an appointment with a psychiatrist. Ask the doctor if he thinks you should continue taking anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication when you start a new job. Get any prescriptions filled that the psychiatrist prescribes. Anti-anxiety medications may help relieve stress and anxiety, especially anxiety that results from being the new face in the workplace.
Seek help from a career or vocational counselor before you look for a new job if your old job contributed toward your depression and stress. Take a career-match test that can help match your skills, abilities and preferences with different job and career titles. Think about whether you would like a job with a low-stress environment that has little person-to-person contact or whether you prefer a job that utilizes managerial and people skills. Make a list of skills and work abilities that make you a valuable employee and think about the assets and qualities that you can bring to an employer.
Practice a daily routine as you begin your job search. Time away from the work force can result in an unstructured daily life, making it difficult to get back into the swing of things when you finally do find a job. Wake up at a certain time of the day, and practice a morning, afternoon and evening routine to help you prepare for a job.
Look for job advertisements in newspapers, classified ads and job posting websites. Read the descriptions of each job and compare this with the type of work environment in which you want to work. Actively search for a job by contacting friends, contacts and even former employers with whom you still have a good relationship and ask for advice or referrals concerning which companies are hiring or where to look for a job. Contacting people can be a good way to practice social skills before you settle into a new job.
Create a résumé that emphasizes past experience and places a positive spin on your work history. Since your depression may have contributed to a negative self-image, give your résumé to a family member, friend or counselor who can critique your résumé. Ask the other person to look for negative words and phrases that might serve to downplay your work abilities, experience or performance.
Go to any job interviews that you're offered. Avoid discussions of your depression during the interview unless you're asked specifically about your illness or you need to tell your prospective employer of any accommodations that need to be made if you're currently suffering from depression. Explain the gaps in your work history that resulted from your depression as "personal time" away from the work force. Tell your employer why you left your last job, what made you unhappy with it and whether it was a factor that contributed to personal stress.
Schedule regular appointments with a counselor or psychologist once you start your new job. Talk about any difficulties, fears or anxieties you have about filling your role in the workplace or not living up to your expectations or those of your new employer. Ask the counselor or psychologist how to cope with stress and anxiety and practice these suggestions on a daily basis. For example, a regular exercise routine can relieve stress and make you feel more self-confident about your abilities.