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Depression Can Be Treated!

"Over the Boards" with Ron Ellis -- question and answer

Dear Mr. Ellis,

Reading your story has made an enormous difference in how I perceive my illness and myself. Knowing that someone as strong as you has suffered from depression has allowed me to know that I am not just a weak person but am truly ill. I needed someone to reinforce that for me.
I have a psychiatrist who has prescribed anti depressants and is monitoring them, but I do not seem to be getting much better. I have been on medication now for over 6 months. I am working, but I feel terrible everyday. It is such an effort to get through each day of work and sometimes I just feel as though I want to go home and sleep away the day.
I realize that you don't know much about me, but there must be something that gave you the motivation or help that you needed to find what it was that was missing. Do I need to take time off work in order to recover or can I do this while I continue to work? I feel dedicated to my work and my job is important to me and I don't want to let my fellow workers down but I just don't feel like I can give 100%.
I am not very comfortable about discussing my situation with anyone at work, as I am afraid they migh t g et rid of me. I work for a good company, but I don't know what their reaction would be to something like this. I am young,
28, and know I can offer many years of productive and valuable service, but my feeling is they might think, "if he's sick now, we'll have years of problems so lets get rid of him now". There has never been any mention of how they handle mental illness at this company so I don't know what their take on it might be.
Navid, Vancouver

A:  Dear Navid,
You are not a weak person and you are battling an illness.
Give the medications more time. For many patients, it can take three to six months to see and feel the benefits of a new medication. Your doctor may suggest a change of medication after a period of time.
After reading your letter, I don't think you need to take time off work, at least in the short term. If you have an employee assistance program at your workplace, it might be helpful to touch base with them. They should be able to inform you as to what support the company would provide if you needed to take some time off in the future.
Working harder and longer is not the solution. Over the next few months, try not to take on extra work projects. Be careful of stressors outside the office as well. This would not be a good time to build a new home. I suggest you use your weekends and evening to look after yourself even to the point of pampering yourself. If you have a close friend you can trust, try to open up. You may be surprised with the support you receive. Proper eating habits, sleep patterns and some exercise will help you through this difficult time. If you have some holidays coming to you, take them.
Share what you are doing with your doctor. Show your doctor that you are serious about getting better.
Ron Ellis
Got a question for Ron? Click here to ask.

Depression Can Be Treated!


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