Saturday, 28 March 2015

Battling Workplace Depression

This is a reproduction of my post which got first published on "India HR Live" in guest post series (26th March 2015, 10:24 IST): Battling Workplace Depression
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It was late in the evening some days ago when I received a call from a local hospital informing that a family friend had been admitted to its  Intensive Care Unit in a frayed mental condition, perhaps in a failed suicide attempt. This ‘friend’ was rather my husband’s colleague. A happy-go-lucky guy on the face of it who had joined us in a common official party just a weekend ago at the financial-year end celebrations. Nothing then seemed unusual, obvious or even slightly dispiriting? I wondered what led him to this fearful fate so suddenly.

At the hospital, inside the frightful chamber on a confined corner bed punctured with in numerous machine recesses, our friend was struggling with life and death. He had tried to slit his wrist and would have almost bled to death when someone who had noticed, rushed him to the hospital. His devastated wife kept weeping bitterly before us. She could not let go of her guilt of not believing when he repeatedly said that his work depresses him so much that at times he wants to end his life. “I thought it’s just a casual common remark in a bad phase in office which he’ll easily cope with. All of us go through such depression at some point or the other. Don’t we?”

Casual, Common. Easily Cope. All of us go through….?I stopped to think for a moment. Hell, NO! It isn’t as casual as we think it is?

The scariest proposition about coping with any depression is not accepting it as a disorder pese. To be treating it as some ‘bad phase’ that will either pass by with time or with non-serious suggestions from friends and colleagues or with silly non-technical meditating exercises or with popping in sleeping pills or even with some neighborhood aunt’s homely advices. When the fact is, all this make the disorder worse, often leading to the unexpected last resort – Suicide!

The most ironic part of the tragedy is that it is pretty preventable. As a society, we often miss the chance to help those who want to help themselves and instead chide the victim with a societal stigma by singling him out. After all, who would want to be called a ‘mental case’ in office that people will pity, call out names, joke about, sympathize or whose name will likely be pulled down from appraisal sheets and promotion lists? Sadly, depression at work is often lackadaisically overlooked by the sufferer himself, ignored by his so-called educated workfellows and let gone without being treated.

My friend’s family confided that in past few months the man who everybody identified as  ‘always cheerful’ was emotionally disenchanted with work, upset with office politics, complained about inadequate work systems, avoided making it to social gatherings, stared at a blank computer screen for several minutes and sometimes randomly broke into tears. His ‘to-do’ list in the diary which once looked organized and up to date was now filled with red marks or warning circles. His alcohol consumption increased five times and he’d blow up cigarettes after cigarettes throwing fag circles in the air for several continuous hours. He would not sleep till late night, unsubscribe from whatsapp and facebook groups, failed meeting work deadlines, felt guilty towards the incompetence he was showing in work and do self-shame about facing his boss. No one realized that the darkness of depression was gradually setting its dismal foot in his otherwise comfortable life. He needed psychiatric help badly. NOW!

It is very difficult to ascertain what causes depression.  Not always it’s the huge pile of unfinished work, hard work environment, politics-power play and the feeling of being treated unfairly the culprits. Factors such as genetic vulnerability, severe life stressors, substances one may be taking (like drugs and alcohol) and medical conditions that can lead to faulty mood regulation in the brain. Everyone is different and it’s often a combination of factors that can lead to a ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain which relay incongruous messages between brain cells, leading to depression.

Does this sound like freaking bad a condition? Well! Millions across the globe are partners-in-trouble to this single problem called workplace depression and are together fighting to get over the evils of this beast. There is no dearth of help if one seeks to find. Pills, prescriptions, meditation techniques, art of living, holiday breaks, picking up a hobby, chucking out the negatives from one’s life and talking it out, you name it and you have it. But here’s the big question. Will my dress fit you perfect? If no, then how will my life’s stress-buster fit yours? So the best is, let’s stop giving or taking random tips and advice from a jamboree of a fish market and help the patient run for the expert who knows what best must be done.

This post is written as much from the pain of seeing a friend face an undeserved life-threat as from the bewilderment of insensitivity we show to people who are already fighting a hard battle to combat depression. There may be a shade of my friend in me or in you or in anyone sitting near you in office. Before glancing the person a mocking or a pitiful look, stop to think over – “The strongest persons are not who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.”

Let’s help those who want to help themselves. Maybe, we end up saving a life

2 comments:

  1. Enrique Hampton30 May 2016 at 22:11

    We never know when and how the root of depression spreads in our life and mentality. So that we are facing different types of problems in our life such as; lack of confidence, lack of concentration power, lack of decision making ability, feeling alone, suicide tendency and many others. So it is better to reduce the percentage of depression in our life and these things are possible just because of good companions, family and entertainment. A person is unable to overcome from depression problems once he or she get into it; so I would like to take some positive tips from this post and hope to reduce depression from life; otherwise we should also follow certain tips from life coaches on these problems.

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  2. Very well written article mate, thank you for the valuable and useful information. Keep up the good work! FYI, please check these

    depression, stress and anxiety related articles:

    Depression Cure

    What Causes Depression

    10 Things That Really Won’t Cure My Depression

    Depression Quotes

    Myths and Facts about Depression

    Depression Facts


    You can also contact me at depressioncure.net@gmail.com for link exchange, article exchange or for advertisement.

    Thanks

    Robert

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