Managing depression in the workplace – part 3

Transitions: when work doesn’t work out…

This piece follows on from part 1 and part 2 of my blogs on autism and depression in the workplace, and how best to manage this. It takes you through the journey of experiencing symptoms of mental illness; how and why this can manifest, as well as being signed off work, staying in touch with your employer and eventually getting well and returning to work. It covers a linear route to wellness, though the reality may be different, but it assumes that all is well and that you will happily return to life as it was before you first became unwell.

But what happens if this isn’t the case?

If experiencing mental illness wasn’t related to a particular event or trauma, the likelihood is that something in your life wasn’t quite right or working out the way you wanted it to be in the first place.

It’s not always obvious how or why it wasn’t working out, as on paper it may have seemed quite idyllic even. But I find that what is ‘ideal’ may be more society’s, or others’ idea of perfection, as opposed to what works for you as an autistic individual. And I appreciate this isn’t always the case, and it may simply be that your job, team or organisation has changed completely upon return: that you no longer recognise it or align with its values… perhaps you never did. Or maybe you were being bullied or struggled with difficult colleagues, or a challenging micro-manager, and since returning to work, these issues seem more pertinent than ever. It may also be the case that since becoming seriously unwell, your tolerance to your job not being as you want it to be, simply doesn’t work for you anymore. And any of these combinations, or others, are all valid. In fact, you don’t even need a reason, but I know our brains quite like to have a narrative to make sense of life scenarios.