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One of the first things I looked into when I got diagnosed with depression was how to cope with it in the working environment. Unfortunately many corporate companies do not cater to individuals that suffer from major depression. One can’t really blame the companies for failing to cater to the psychological needs of their employees. Most people believe that someone who has a psychological disorder is crazy, and most probably in a mental hospital. However it is often the hard working, functional individuals that suffer from some form of disorder.

The idea of working made me excited. I would finally be independent. I would be able to take care of myself and my family. So when I started at my current place of employment, I saw it as a new adventure. A chance to make new friends, and learn new things. However this excitement was short lived. I soon found myself suffering from crippling back pain, intense headaches and chronic fatigue. I first blamed my diet and sae it as a sign to up my exercise. When that failed, I looked to my doctors for a solution. After countless blood tests and consultations, I decided to be my own doctor. I googled the various causes of my symptoms, and depression kept popping up.

I had been diagnosed with depression before. However for some reason I thought it all went away. See back then I too thought you take care of depression once and for all will a simple pill. So hearing that I not only suffered from depression, but I also had to be on medication for two to five years, was the last thing I expected to hear from my psychologist. And with all honesty, I didn’t take her seriously until I got my own psychiatrist.

At first I thought I could do it on my own, and I didn’t need to tell anybody. I decided to work extra hard, not knowing that working harder causes more stress, which in turn causes more depression. I couldn’t understand why my productivity was declining even as I put in more hours. And as is the case with many depression suffers, I soon found myself in trouble at work. It began to seem as though I didn’t care about my work. As my sick leave continued to accumulate, I became a regular in the HR office, trying to explain the magnitude of the diseases and the dreaded physical symptoms that accompany the emotional ones. I saw the looks of disbelief and doubt as I explained. Many telling me to just get over it and solve my problems. Yes a company is there to make a profit. But surely it should also invest in the well-being of it’s employees?

I now find myself in the position where losing my job is guaranteed. A position way too many depression sufferers find themselves in. And if the world average is anything to go by, I might have to lose my job three more times before I find a company equipped to handle the plight of a depressive.

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com