Category Archives: mental health

Depression and Unemployment

I didn’t feel like looking for a job today. After three months of combing job sites, tweaking resumes, updating social profiles and answering bizarre pre-employment questions, I decided to take a break. I worked on a screenplay instead. Irresponsible? Yes. Much need? Yes.

Everyday that I am unemployed, my bills accumulate, my self-confidence weakens, and my overall view of the future becomes bleaker. So, I took the day off to do something fun. How are the rest of you handling unemployment? What do you do when it gets to be too much to think about? Is unemployment causing you anxiety or depression?

Although I think everyone agrees that losing your job can be pretty devastating, try googling “unemployment and depression.” You’ll be surprised at the lackluster results; I was. I found a few message boards, a couple of blog articles, one or two scholarly articles dating back to 1999, but I couldn’t find real statistics, medical information or secure, trustworthy sources. After tweaking my Google search a bit, I did find a brief interview on NPR about the psychology of unemployment. In the interview, Madeleine Brand talks to the president of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Robert Leahy about retrieving your identity in order to empower yourself, valuing the time you have in between jobs, becoming part of your community and helping others. Read the entire transcript here.

The next article I stumbled on, Facing Unemployment: Ten Steps to Handling Your Unemployment Anxiety, was coincidentally written by Robert Leahy. In the piece, Dr. Leahy discusses the increased risks of depression, anxiety and even suicide among the unemployed. He then offers ten ways to making unemployment bearable, from giving yourself a break and accepting the reality of the situation to scheduling fun time. Read the entire article here.

I keep telling myself I am not alone. Although I quit my job for personal reasons, I’m still hanging in the ranks of the unemployed and feeling pretty hopeless (and stupid for quitting my job). I’m going to get back on the beat tomorrow, but today was about taking some time much needed time off because even though I’m not employed, I do have a job to look for a job.