There are things high-functioning people can to do excel at managing both depression and a successful career:
Understand what it is
The very qualities that drive someone to achieve may also contribute to depression and anxiety, says psychologist Dan Bilsker, PhD, RPsych. “’High-functioning’ people do make harsh self-demands and if they don’t achieve 100 percent and things go sideways, they can feel vulnerable, overwhelmed and demoralized. They’re like ‘tiger mothers’ to themselves.”
See the warning signs
When high-functioning people recognize that anxiety or depression is being a negative effect on their success, Bilsker says that they are generally highly skilled at doing something about it, as long as they see the warnings right away. “The goal is early detection to prevent the situation from becoming worse [so that] they’re unable to work.”
Take a break
When emotional, cognitive and physical symptoms make it hard to stay at the top of your game, the smart thing may be to arrange for an extended holiday or short leave to recoup. However, taking a long leave with no real plan for recovery and re-entry bulldozes a slippery professional slope. “Some productive time off with really good intervention can enhance functioning, coping and recovery,” says Bilsker, who cautions professionals: “Don’t sacrifice yourself on the altar of increased bonuses!”
Reclaim your confidence
However necessary for long-term success, taking a mental-health leave raises legitimate concerns for executives not having the same career track because of a damaged reputation. They may feel less connected, less competent and lose self-esteem. This “cognitive distortion” can be addressed by writing down examples of good work and other achievements in the past, or focusing on intrinsic qualities that depression has muzzled, Bilsker says.
Develop a proactive plan
Returning to the office requires some planning. Treatment and lifestyle changes can bring depression under control on the personal side, but perceptions of the “public face” change if the diagnosis becomes known at work. In most cases, the best defense is a good offense: develop a proactive plan to understand stress and emotional triggers for the stressors in your daily job and make a plan for either better management of these events or avoiding/deflecting them.
Reassess your goals
If the stress-depression cycle becomes unavoidable, it may be time to reassess self-imposed standards like wanting a nicer car or bigger house, says Bilsker. “People make decisions but don’t think of them as decisions, rather as unchangeable facts,” he points out. “Like the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, when you set up life, don’t forget you have choices.”
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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