AS@W Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace

Putting antidepressant skills to work: an example

Jared no longer enjoyed coming to work.


SituationJared developed software for a small company specializing in database management. He loved his job and had lots of ideas about how the company could grow – but the management didn’t share his views. Jared felt hurt that his suggestions were ignored. After a while, he stopped discussing his ideas and sat silent in meetings, feeling quietly resentful. Sometimes he would space out and lose track of the meeting, then had to scramble to answer questions. His colleagues noticed his attitude and they began to rely on others in the company instead of him – this left him feeling more resentful. After a while, he no longer enjoyed coming to work – he just didn’t care as much. He no longer took pride in his work. This began to affect his personal life as well – he had less time for his friends and often wasn’t available to do things with them. So they called him less.

ActionAfter two months like this, Jared went to see his family physician, not sure what was happening. His physician diagnosed him as suffering from mild depression. His physician considered prescribing an antidepressant, but realized it was best to start by giving Jared a copy of the antidepressant skills workbook and encouraging him to give it a try. Jared read through the book and decided to focus on the section Solving Problems Effectively.

Here is the Action Worksheet Jared completed:

Action Worksheet (example)

The Problem:

My ideas have been ignored by the company.

  Action Advantages Disadvantages
1 Don’t contribute to the company; let them solve their own problems. (Passive) If they don’t care what I think, why say anything?
It feels good to get back at them.
My colleagues and bosses see me as a dead weight, they avoid me.
I might be fired soon, that won’t exactly look good on my résumé.
2 Confront my boss about rejecting my ideas; warn him that he’s making a big mistake. (Aggressive) I’ll be getting it off my chest.
Maybe if he hears it again, it will sink in.
I’ve been pretty direct about my ideas and they’ve decided on another course, why would it change now?
I might be seen as a loose cannon or someone who just can’t adapt.
3 Get back to participating in the work team, but look around for an employer more open to new ideas. (Assertive) My co-workers and boss will see that I’m contributing.
I won’t be fired.
It’s more satisfying to participate than to sit back and be angry.
I’ll have to swallow my pride and I resent that.
  Jared thought about the way he was handling the situation and decided it was Passive – that is, he had been showing his resentment of company policies by refusing to participate in decisions or care about the company’s success. He also realized that eventually this might get him fired. He used problem-solving skills to find a more helpful approach – that is, a more assertive one – and worked out a careful plan to put the skills into action.

Result Even though he still had concerns about the company’s direction, Jared realized he was not helping himself or the company and began to contribute again. He made a point of giving his views at least once in each meeting and made sure to meet deadlines for assigned tasks. Co-workers and management noticed the change. Jared recovered some enjoyment of the work and his mood gradually lifted. At the same time, he doubted he would stay long with this company and kept his ears open for other opportunities.

You may download the worksheets or the entire book for use on your computer or for printing out.