Overworked, Under Appreciated, and Depressed
Jeff Schorsch Asks ...
I don't know what to do. Work is becoming very unbearable. I am becoming angry, depressed and feel cornered. I am a recovery alcoholic. I have a sponsor, attend meetings, work steps, and practice principles in my life. I have a wife and kids I am responsible for. Right now I am hurting so much I feel like cutting, not suicide, just to hurt in a different way. I have been direct with my coworkers and I am not getting any support and I am being left being the only one working long hours sometimes all night. I know changing jobs is an idea, but right now I have a major project due Monday morning and I am responsible to that client to get it done. I feel really taken advantage of. Everyone else is at home with their families and I am left working, not spending time with mine. My boss seems to praise those around me who do just enough to show face and get paid and I don't get that pat on the back. Honestly I really don't want it. It would be nicer if e everyone else was doing their part and we worked as a team. Right now I am the team. Today I have really wrestled with anger, hurt, depression and I have had many moments where I am almost at a breaking point of just walking away from my job. I don't know what to do. I do suffer from major depression and I am bipolar. Unfortunately I don't really get any mania, just depression. I do see professional help for it, but I keep having these moments, where this is too much for me and I it is all too unbearable. I am almost broken to a point where I am scared and confused.
David Shannon Says ...
When you wrote this, you were experiencing a particularly stressful and discouraging time at work. But it sounds as though this is an ongoing issue for you on that job. Have you discussed how you feel with your supervisors? Would they be open to having that kind of talk with you? It would probably be important to figure out a way to do it, that did not sound like just complaining. Perhaps you could stress how important it is you to be a team player, and ask for clarification about your role on the team. And you might mention that getting a little recognition for your contributions could boost your morale and have a positive effect on your performance and productivity. Does your supervisor know you have depression? Have you discussed that and how it affects your job? You are in a particular job in a particular situation, with particular people involved. If you have not already been doing this, I would discuss this with your therapist, asking for specific help to plan a strategy for dealing with this.
Do you and your therapist talk about your thinking, particularly self-talk that might be negative, inaccurate, and counter-productive? Our thoughts have a direct affect on how we feel. Some would even say that thoughts are what cause specific feelings. Developing awareness of that, and learning how to intervene to change those thoughts, is a pretty crucial skill for handling your depression. Most therapists these days do use cognitive behavior therapy, since it is one of relatively few methods that have proven effective with a variety of conditions and diagnoses.
Have you talked about cutting with your therapist? As you seem to understand, causing yourself physical pain can be a way of distracting yourself from emotional and mental pain. It is a coping mechanism that may work for you, to a point. It is one way to *externalize* the pain, rather than having it stuck inside your mind and weighing down your heart. I always feel badly that it requires injuring and perhaps scarring yourself, however. I am a *kink aware* therapist. There are probably ways that you could experience physical pain, other than cutting. There might even be someone you could trust and feel safe enough with, who would agree to give you pain in a negotiated, consensual, non-injurious way. A lot of people would not feel comfortable doing that, but somebody might. The key of course is the trust and safety part, and it could be hard to find someone like that. I realize this is a somewhat radical idea, though with the recent popularity of "50 Shades of Grey", it might not be as foreign a concept to some, as it previously would have. Cutting on yourself is a pretty radical solution too, if you think about it.
I hope that things have already gotten better for you at work, since when you wrote. But if it seems like that is never going to happen, no matter what you try, then you may indeed need to start searching for a new job. Change can be difficult, but staying put in an unhealthy situation may be worse. Good luck!