I don’t consider myself emotionally unhealthy. In fact, with the exception of dealing with a big car accident when I was 17, I feel like I’ve either been in control of my life, or very comfortable with what has happening. I don’t think that I have suffered from anxiety or depression or similar things, although I’m close to people who have and know that it’s real and serious.
I have a high locus of control, which means I believe I have a significant impact on things that happen to me (career success, family success, etc.).
But, when I started my job search there were two major things going on.
First, I was managing and coordinating all of the logistics that go into a job search. There are a ton… from getting a resume together to getting it out, prepping for interviews, dressing right, networking, researching, etc. These are all mechanical things, things that you can get coached on from the “do these 10 things and you’ll land a job” lists.
In fact, they are so mechanical that you can easily define what needs to be done, how to do it, and figure out what tweaks are required because of your needs. You can come up with checklists and plans, and it’s all good… or it would seem to be all good.
This is all good news for someone with a high locus of control. But even when you have a high locus of control, depression clouds everything.
The second thing that was happening all of the emotional stuff happening. You see, I was on top of the world… I was the general manager of my company, on the board of directors, accomplished in school and feeling pretty good about myself.
Depression Clouds Everything Especially with Life Hitting Us from Every Which Way
And then I became a “job seeker.” This is the person that won’t get a call back, or an e-mail reply, from anyone. The job seeker is the person who tries to get interviews so that you can see just how great they are, and what value they’ll bring to your company… but they get nowhere. The job seeker is the guy who lost an income, but still has bills to pay.
When I first lost my job I remember reading an article on MSN – it was about a guy in Korea that lost his job, went to the zoo, entered an animal’s area, and climbed a tree and wouldn’t come down. Can you imagine what it takes for a professional to end up in a tree at the zoo, and then on international news? “At least,” I thought, “I’m not there.”
But day after day, the rejection, the self-doubt, all the bad stuff that happens when your world is turned upside down, the emotions where clouding things. Judgment was clouded because I was desperate. And, depression clouds everything
Performance was clouded because I was scared. I certainly wasn’t used to dealing with these emotions, especially week after week.
It was also somewhat depressing to go to network meetings with professionals in transition who were going through similar things. I was pretty amazed that I met people who were in the same laid-off boat I was, who were much more accomplished than me. Would this never end?? I didn’t want to be in this situation regularly!
Depression Clouds Everything Even How We Would Normally Think
I dealt with it (by ignoring it). But I knew that others weren’t dealing with it there.
A few weeks ago I was at lunch with a good friend that I met during my job search. He had a very similar story to mine, a fast-paced career, good money, big titles and responsibility, and then he got cut out because of lame corporate politics. We got on the subject of emotions, and I said that this was the most surprising aspect of a job search for me, and I asked him if he dealt with negative emotions.
Since I had met him I knew him to be composed… I didn’t imagine that he dealt with them.
His reply was shocking: “Jason, it got to the point where I asked myself if it was the wrists or the neck.”
I was speechless. This was a big part of why I needed to write this Depression Clouds Everything post.
For those of you who haven’t been jobless yet, thinking that you give 110% to your company and they’ll take care of you, mark my words, the emotional aspect of a job search, no matter what your locus of control is, may be the most surprising, derailing thing you have to deal with in your job search.
The Enemy of Depression Is Hope
I’m updating this post in 2022. I want to preserve much of the original post since it resonated so much with people, and because it is a snapshot of where I was in my growth journey.
Years after I wrote this Depression Clouds Everything post I met Dick Bolles in person. I was fortunate to get some time with him at a restaurant. It was, I can say, life changing. Please read this post about that lunch, and why it impacted me.
I’m not going to say that understanding options, or having more hope, will eliminate depression. That would be too simplistic. But I know that having options, having something to hope for, can change how you feel and think. I went through that. Options found me, my hope went from zero to a hundred, and depression melted away. You can’t force this on anyone, or yourself, but it’s an awesome dynamic that might help.
I’m not sure if I’ll get comments on this post, Depression Clouds Everything, or not… but it is a serious issue. If you have anything you feel comfortable sharing, leave a comment.
530 thoughts on “Depression Clouds Everything”
@reinkefj, great point! Love it! I have question on “…politicians and bureaucrats to spend using the hidden tax of inflation to rob us…” Would you mind elaborating on that? I am intrigued!
@blissful sure. Taxes are theft. Despite what the IRS says abut “voluntary”.
In the old days, prior to 1933 FDR gold seizure, the Gooferment had to tax folks to get their gold. After that, the FED just “printed” more dollars. No need to overtly tax anything. Just print more. The FED takes paper dollars out of circulation and puts more in. They used to just put more in than they took out.
This allows the bureaucrats to spend “dollars” that have less value. Without the pain of raising taxes.
Look at the purchasing power of a dollar in 1970 and again in 2000. Depending upon who you believe, even the FED own stats, show the “dollar” has lost 98% of its purchasing power in those decades.
It, of course, hurts the poor – working class – fixed income people worse since they have little option but to spend what they take in.
We’re on our way to a Hyperinflation. The recent — at first hidden and now overtly — purchase of Government Bonds by the FED is an overt “monetizing” of the debt. The Chinese with a guesstimate 6-10 T$ (trillion) dollars are hopping mad. That’s why you see them buying anything in sight. They are unwilling participants in this wild ride. If they start to dump dollars, then everyone will do the same. And, their dollars will swirl the bowl with everyone else.
Some say that the reason our Iraqi buddy Sadam was tumbled was that he wanted to be paid for his oil with gold. He was backing the golden dinar. Not out of religious fervor; that was a good cover. But because he saw his oil being paid for in cheaper and cheaper dollars.
What can the little guy do? Save nickels. Right now they are worth 7¢. Like the pre 1964 silver coins that are worth 20 times their face value, the little guy can save some of his wealth from inflation.
the big fat old turkey hisself
To everyone who prayer for me to get the job I interviewd for Thank you but I didn’t get it so life on the street continues for me . What a nightmare these years have been!
Sorry to hear that! I have put you on my prayer list. Better times coming for both of us.
Struggling to Stay Positive
I’m so sorry you didn’t get the job. If I had a nickel for every job I didn’t get, I’d be rich! I know it’s hard but just keep going. You are in my prayers and I hope things get better for you. As mentioned, I’m doing volunteer work. It helps just to get me out with people. Are there some organizations where you live that can help you?
thank you STSP and Lane. Dont know where to go from here. Everything is at a standstill.
Dear Dana: All we can all do is keep moving, one small step at a time. Praying for you!
Struggling to Stay Positive
Dear Lane and STSP
Thank you for your prayers. I have to say my faith is getting weak and I trying to hold on.
Lane volunteering is a great thing but I spend most of my time getting my basic needs met. I am homeless and it’s a hard life. hopefully things will change for me.
Do you have a spiritual type connection anywhere? a church or synagogue or mosque, etc.?
Or if you are an atheist/agnostic, do you have an Ethical Culture Society or humanist group?
Are there people of like mind whom you can hang out with in this difficult time who can accept your current circumstances?
I believe in GOD, but lately with all the bad breaks and setbacks and admittily poor decisions, I have to wonder what is going on.
Maybe it’s me or this a time of a test from GOD to see if my faith will be questioned.
With all that happened, I think I have proven my faith but that not for me to say.
Regarding “admittedly poor decisions” — please don’t blame yourself — we’ve all made mistakes, but we are on this thread primarily because the economy crashed, something out of our control.
I don’t know if God is trying to test you — but so far you seem to be ‘passing’ with flying colors!
Have you considered joining a church or other spiritual group where you might get some spritual, emotional and/or material support?
Just a thought.
something to read and help fight.
Dear Dana: Refusing to hire the unemployed is not only grossly unfair, but its crazy! Employers lose people with experience and skills.
I think employers are going to far in what they are allowed to do to the uneployed and even the employed. I know that in the Philadelphia area, employers are using pyschologial testing to weed out potenial employees. One of the questions on the questionaire is wheter you are under or over forty. There is an option not to answer but if you dont they assume you are over forty. You can’t win for losing. I hope all this suffering of the unemployed comes back to bite these employers by the EEOC enacting new and tougher laws to cobat discrimation.
I think this type of suffering will eventually come back as a negative impact on employers who engage in it. There are many unemployed and I think they are growing impatient.
You have to wonder what side these politicians are on.
The AOL article refers to the Republican governor and Senate in Wisconsin busting the public employee unions — Republicans hate unions.
Regarding unemployment, here is an interesting website with resources for us unemployed or partially-employed folks:
I’m going to have a look at it and review the resources.
I commented on this point a long time ago, and I can’t believe how many emails I receive related to new comments.
Maybe this would be a good forum to promote my latest writing on the topic — lisaneedsajob.blogspot.com. I welcome your views and your feedback.
Dear Lisa: Nice blog. Maybe you would want to link up to other “unemployment” blogs on your blogroll and also interview other unemployed folks?
Here is a positive thinking website I have found helpful:
Thanks for the feedback! I just might do that! Feel free to make suggestions on the actual blog page as well.
Hey guys, it’s me, Jason (the guy who wrote the post about depression :p).
I am in awe at how you’ve carried on a conversation in these comments… and how you’ve supported one another. I’m grateful to each of you 🙂
Lisa, can I comment on your blog?
I definitely would recommend you put in information about YOU – I don’t know anything about you, that I could easily see, from your blog.
I would want to see your expertise, professional passion, experience, etc.
You are blogging about job search and resume stuff, but I have no idea if you are entry level or if you have 20 yrs experience as a project manager…
You say you will move anywhere, but until I know what you do (and if it matches something I have open), I can’t even begin to get interested… right?
Just offering some help… I love blogs by job seekers and would love to see yours pay off 🙂
Wow. What a great piece. Some day I will read every single comment.
I was surprised a few months back when I searched for articles about job-seeking WITH depression. I found articles about how to AVOID depression caused by loss of a job, but nothing about how to find a job when you already suffer from depression to begin with.
After a 30-year, award-winning, professional career of 30 years, I was laid off last fall. (My profession has become obsolete, so in my early 50s I have been working on a career transition.)
I have had Bipolar since my teens and now PTSD from an abusive marriage. Yet I have always worked full-time, I had bought a house, was the breadwinner for my family, and work was a huge part of my identity. I was able to keep the worst symptoms at bay because I was so committed to my job.
I am talented and skilled at what I do. But I had major barriers in my job hunt: a bankruptcy and foreclosure d/t the divorce, no savings because I was court-ordered to support my ex and there was nothing left over; being legally prohibited to take a job at significantly lower pay b/c of my alimony commitment.
In the last 3 years I left the marriage, have been dealing with bipolar and PTSD, extreme financial challenges, the lingering death of my father, the loss (for a while) of my son; IRS problems d/t a misfiling of my foreclosure, my mother’s massive stroke, and much, much more. I got hit with crisis after crisis without any time to regroup between them.
In order to get Unemployment pay, I HAD to be looking (this is rarely mentioned on articles about being unemployed). But I was crashing emotionally. The one thing that had kept me functional with bipolar was the structure and responsibilities of my job.
So I was forced to do my job-hunt the worst way possible. With my depression levels at an extreme, I managed with great difficulty to apply online for the required number of positions. Each application could take hours. That took up so much time and energy, networking etc. were out. I HAD to apply only for available jobs fitting my skills, and since that was all I could manage in my depressive state, it was too overwhelming to do the sorts of things that usually actually result in getting a job.
I was halfway through a new degree for a new profession, but had to drop out because I didn’t have money to continue. I went on interviews but my mental health was suffering and it showed.
Finally a couple of weeks ago, I had my first (hopefully only) complete, psychotic break. I was missing time, hallucinating, and screaming non-stop. I had to be restrained by paramedics and sedated in the ER. Six months ago I was at the top of the ladder in my professional field, dressing smartly for work and interacting with dozens of people a day. Now I was in sweats in a hospital, needing to shower for the first time in weeks.
I had to stop sending in applications so as not to commit fraud. With no income, I’m being evicted from my apartment. I am in a desperate search for someone to take my cats.
I got lucky in one day — I happen to have a friend who owns a boarding-house, and the financial means to take me in and support me for as long as it takes to (hopefully) get Disability. (I fall into a category that usually gets accepted first try.) Until I get accepted (fingers crossed), I am not even allowed to have an income (from work). Not everyone has a friend with these means. How does one survive without an income? And why is Unemployment set up so ridiculously?
So in the span of a few years I’ve lost everything. And every single system is stacked against me. I have been “a career woman” since I was 16, worked my ASS off and have nothing to show for it. All the platitudes I grew up with were a lie.
It is NO surprise to me that the number of suicides of people in my age group (50s) has gone up 40% since the Recession. We realized too late that our 401Ks would not make us millionaires by age 65 (JP Morgan promised that when I got mine). Many of our occupations no longer exist. We are re-inventing ourselves at an age at which it is exceedingly difficult to find work. Our wages have been stagnant since college, and the homes we were told to buy “for financial security” are worthless or gone.
Add those facts, and all the crises I’ve been dealing with, to PRE-EXISTING depression, and you’ll wonder why I’m still even here at all. Unless there is an incredible societal shift, at 65 I won’t be.
The fantastic news is that I’m one more person who won’t be counted as job-seeking. Yay! Another success story.
*lucky in one WAY, not in one DAY. I wish!
Comments are closed.