It’s common for depressed people to believe that everyone else is doing better than they are. They don’t see or feel the suffering of the masses. You are in tune with your suffering because you feel it intimately every day, but many other people are suffering, too. The erroneous idea that most others are not suffering can cause depressed people to feel even more depressed. They tend to believe that they are alone in their suffering. Generally speaking, that is not the case. You don’t see it and you may not hear about it, but life is exceptionally challenging for the vast majority of people.
It’s possible that your depression, anxiety and anger are directly tied to your being unemployed. That’s not an uncommon experience. Studies show that people without jobs are three times more likely to be depressed than people with jobs. Undoubtedly, being unemployed takes an emotional toll.
I don’t have enough information to know why you’ve been unemployed for eight years. It might be time to consider another line of work. Further education or retraining might be necessary. Having any job might be better than having no job.
People who are depressed have an increased risk of using drugs or alcohol or engaging in other negative behaviors. For that reason, it’s recommended that people with depression seek mental health treatment. It could prevent the development of the aforementioned problems which would ultimately create greater life stress.
Mental health treatment might potentially spark new ideas for employment. People with depression often have tunnel vision which severely limits their ability to perceive positive life options. They tend to only see negative options or no options at all. There may be other career opportunities of which you are unaware because of your depression. It is certainly worth your time and effort to do everything you can to feel better and to be happy. Therapy is one option that you don’t seem to have tried. It could be just what you need.
Finally, studies have shown that journaling for 20 minutes a day, for multiple days in a row, can significantly decrease your emotional stress. Research has shown that there’s a strong link between writing and emotional processing. One study of interest involves a Dallas computer company that laid off 100 senior engineers over the age of 50 who had worked there since college. A team of researchers had one group of engineers write about their feelings about being laid off. They wrote about feeling humiliated, rejected and thoroughly explored how their feelings affected their lives. The other two groups involved in the study wrote about either time management or did not engage in any writing. The researchers found that the individuals who engaged in writing about their emotional experiences were three times more likely to have found employment than those who had not written about their emotions. As one writer explained “In the process of writing, they were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook and move forward.”
You can read more about the aforementioned study here.
Writing is not a substitute for mental health treatment when mental health treatment is necessary, but it could contribute to problem resolution by creating “… a new perspective, unhook[ing] and mov[ing] forward.” It’s worth a try and it’s free of cost. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle