Any advice getting back to work after Depression kicking my butt?

Hey **** sorry to hear that man. I’ve been through that myself before.

Sometimes it can feel like the todo list is crushing down;
That it’s impossible to to even the smallest tasks;
That you’re making no difference or progress.
That everyone else is doing better.

This is normal. We all feel this way sometimes. Some to greater or lesser degrees than others.

I’m no therapist.
But here’s what worked for me:

If you’re an introvert, overthinking & talking therapy won’t help you.

Follow the stoics:

Pull yourself out bit by bit,
By stacking momentum,
By finding purpose,
And by losing yourself in the doing of meaningful work

From what little knowledge I have from what I’ve read, and from talking to people who have done “talking therapy”, it involves a lot of analysing your thoughts,
which for some can lead to a deeper hole of introspection, inaction and inertia.

Understanding your feelings doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.
In fact in some cases it only validates your bad feelings more.

From my own experience, Stoicism will help you a lot.
Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge that we feel shit, recognise that feeling shit is just a feeling that we are feeling right now,
and we can act regardless.
Stoicism teaches us to recognise but control our feelings so we can change our behaviour despite our feelings, allowing the more logical part of our brain to take over.
Which is far more appealing to me.
I don’t want to be a victim of my thoughts, I want to be an agent of my own life, even if it feels shit right now.

Everyone is different.
There’s no one magic bullet.
But there are lots of small things you can to do to steer yourself back to stability.

So here’s what’s helped for me:

  1. Create a routine and try to stick to it. this removes your choice overwhelm.
  2. As part of your routine, get out a walk every morning, even if you feel crap this is how you’ll get time to process and reflect
  3. As part of your routine schedule in one day a week to experience something new, go somewhere new, do something new. This disrupts your usual patterns and encourages more positive thought routines.
  4. Wipe most of your todo list. Allow yourself to let go of the responsibility of doing them.
  5. Focus on one thing you can get done in a day and do that to build momentum.
  6. Stay off social for a while (again this works for me, but don’t cut off your network if that’s how you socialise)
  7. Practice “zooming out” to look at a larger timeframe. This makes specific days look less shit.
  8. record your thoughts daily, just whatever comes to mind. Braindumping beats overhwhelm by getting inappropriate thoughts out of your head, and writing lets you process them without emotion.

In my opinion, depression is remarkably similar, sometimes indistinguishable, from burnout.
The symptoms are similar;
The difference is depression is often inexplicable whereas burnout has definitive triggers.

Here are some articles about burnout that might help you:


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Nicholas Robb

Founder, Design Hero
Author of Life by Design

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