Losing Sleep & Coming To Work Is A Chore!

Question:

Thanks so much for your website. It’s helpful to see that I am not alone in having difficulty at work. Recently, I read the posting “Loner at Work Has Us Concerned” and I really appreciated your response. I am the “loner” at my own workplace. I don’t socialize that much at work as I have a very full life outside of the day job. I have a big family (though I don’t have children myself) and other commitments which I love and so really have no room nor interest in going out for lunch with the crew or the Friday night drinking and parties, etc. I have gone out with them a couple of times, but don’t really like it much. My lunch hour is the time I like to use for errands, sitting in the sun, planning or going for a walk. I don’t need to share much about myself and so I don’t. I realize that I am not in an ideal environment, but I am willing to do the work that I was hired for.

In the last month, however, going to work has been a chore. I have been losing sleep. I have been having trouble getting to work on time and was absent for a few days, enough for people to notice. My mind goes in circles about small conversations I have at work. I have been feeling depressed and it seems to get worse everyday. I do work in a poorly lit windowless basement 7.5 hours a day so that doesn’t help. I feel I am on the verge of being fired. I know this is a lot. Any suggestions?

Signed,

May Quit


Answer:

Dear May Quit:

As long as you are friendly with co-workers and cooperative with your supervisor, the fact that you don’t socialize will not be held against you. Your recent feelings of depression and obsessing over small conversations, however, do signal that you probably need to see a medical doctor committed to holistic health. By that, I mean a doctor who doesn’t prescribe a quick fix with an anti-depression pill.

Possibly, something that you can do your self is to get more adequate lighting. Your poorly lighted work area can be changed by lighting that is akin to sunlight. I have heard that there are fixtures and/or bulbs that do that although I have never used them. They are advised for people who live in overcast climates. A doctor might also see loss of sleep as an indicator of sleep apnea. That causes fatigue and sometimes leads to depression. It can be remedied with a machine that assists breathing. I know two people who have found such machines helpful, and I think your medical insurance will help cover the cost. Please understand that our site does not give medical advice. I doubt that you simply need psychological or psychiatric counseling.

We are not medical doctors. These thoughts rather are meant to suggest possible medically related causes for your tardiness and absence from work and seeing it as a chore. Do contact your Human Resources people about these concerns and ask their advice. I don’t think it would be relevant to tell HR that you are a loner and don’t socialize. Going out with the work gang on Friday nights has nothing to do with your state of mind and health.

I won’t conclude these thoughts with a morale building saying because I think you need medical counseling. Work is hard enough when healthy and can be a heavy burden when one is ill. A good place to work in and for is a place that helps you find the medical resources needed. That is basic to what I call a WEGO minded workplace. Please feel free to share with me what you think of these thoughts and what you do that works or does not.

Bill Gorden The Workplace Doctors Follow Up: Thanks for your reply. Based on your experience and what I described, are you suggesting that I take a mental health approach i.e. counseling or see a doctor about my possibly having a medical condition? What do you mean by a “medically related cause” for tardiness and absence from work? Do you mean “depression” which I know is an illness? I have suspected that I am experiencing it. I am actually thinking of quitting, as I have never felt so bad in a job like this before. I am also in a group to understand and manage depression. And I have seen a therapist about this. Thanks. Signed: Artist with a day job, California aka “Loner at work but I otherwise have a full life” Follow Up Advice: Thank you for replying and I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. I suggest that you need to work with a doctor to learn if there is some physical cause for your depression (and if depression is what is happening to you). Continue with your support group. You will be able to evaluate if speaks to your condition.

Should you quit your job? Generally, it is easier to get another job while still employed than after being unemployed. Also, generally an employer is responsible to help solve health problems, and depression is a health problem. Consequentially, you medical insurance should apply to doctor’s diagnosis and prescriptions (The doctor might prescribe medicine or sleep apnea testing and/or to see a professional counselor and that too should be at least partially covered by your medical insurance–so long as you are employed). Just quitting may not solve your problems. I would first do some problem solving and engage my employer–boss and Human Resources–in that.

William Gorden