Feeling lethargic at work lately? Don’t seem to care about much anymore? Feeling more and more isolated
from those around you who seem to always be connected, engaged, happy and successful? Starting to wonder what in the world is wrong with yourself?
If you feel down from time-to-time, and out of balance, but those times are infrequent and sporadic, you may just actually be experiencing the normal highs and lows of life. There are some jobs let’s face it that just don’t provide tremendous gratification and fulfillment for some of the people performing those jobs, and if you look around every so often and want something different and new, there’s nothing wrong with that. It may even be that after a short holiday, or with a change in something like the weather, you find yourself once more engaged in your work, happy to be doing your job and you dismiss any thoughts of unhappiness as transitory.
However, if you are feeling down and depressed on a fairly frequent basis, more and more you find yourself tired, achy, grumpy and not even the pay cheque is reward enough for the work you do, wondering what is wrong with yourself is a good course of action. One of the first things I suggest you might do is make an appointment for a physical with your doctor. You’ll want to get an early start on anything that is physically throwing you out of balance. A discussion with your doctor might lead to seeing someone else if deemed appropriate such as a Mental Health Counsellor.
Looking into your mental health can be helpful if you are dealing with depression, feelings of poor self-worth, and just communicating and sharing your feelings with someone in a private confidential setting can be just what it takes to unburden and move forward. If it turns out that you and the Mental Health Counsellor feel a single meeting is all it takes, then that’s something you can rule out and feel better about. On the other hand, if a series of visits and conversations is the plan of action that you settle on, you’ll be glad to have had that first conversation and begin the process of talking about what is on your mind. Let’s face it, if you’ve got some heavy baggage weighing you down, you need to establish a comfort with your Counsellor, and that can take a few meetings while you establish the relationship.
“What’s wrong with me?” is the right question to ask even if you find initial hesitation to ask the question. It is entirely normal to question yourself in times of unemployment and career stagnation. There could be nothing all that clinically wrong with you at all, but it is normal to wonder if you are doing all that you can if other people around you appear to be happy, content and successful. “Why can’t I be happy like them?” you might wonder. Why does everybody seem so engaged, why am I the only one to feel down and out of place?”. Of course, use of words like, “everybody” is the broad sweeping type of comment that is technically inaccurate but we don’t care at this point, because it SEEMS like everybody is happier than we are.
You might find that the weather is affecting your mood, especially at times of the year when the season’s are changing, the weather is colder, the skies are grayer, and the sun isn’t shining for days on end. People around you might be talking about regular weekend activities that make you feel excluded because you weren’t there, or you aren’t involved in that discussion between two colleagues. It isn’t intentional that they are excluding you, but you might really believe it to be intentional.
Check out your employee benefits and see if your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program that you can access. It may be that there are free confidential services you can take advantage of and that none but your Supervisor knows you are taking advantage of. Maybe you can meet off-site or after hours if that suits your schedule. Look into all the resources you can.
Taking stock of your thoughts, actions and decisions you’ve made can be very helpful in alerting you to making better decisions and coming to other choices in the future. Rather than beating yourself up mentally for poor choices, examine things and learn from them so that your future behaviour is positive and advances your career.
When things are wrong and you are out-of-sorts, stay connected with people and avoid the natural tendency to retreat and withdraw. Isolating yourself will only add to your feelings of inadequacy and give you more to worry about.
Remind yourself of your strengths, your positive qualities and your likes. Do some things that you can count on to bring you some relief and happiness. Take in a movie at a theatre even if you could watch the same movie home alone.
All the best.