Being broke and having depression go hand-in-hand. I’m really sick of it. Even if money can’t buy happiness, it can buy basic necessities like food and shelter. It’s pretty hard to be happy without those things. I need more money, but my symptoms of depression make finding a job really difficult.

While the average person in their twenties focuses on building a resume, I’ve been focused on surviving my depression. Instead of attending post-secondary school, I’ve been in depression treatment, learning about my own experiences and how to cope in everyday life. Living with depression is a full time job.

Depression and Gaps on my Resume

Yet, I don’t exactly want to put that on my resume because I’m afraid that employers will judge me by my depression diagnosis. They might think I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, so, therefore, I’ll be unreliable. They might assume that I feel hopeless all the time, so, maybe I’d complain a lot and be overly pessimistic at work. In reality, I’m a very reliable person who has an optimistic demeanor, no matter how I feel on the inside. If only I could get an interview, I feel like I could demonstrate that. Yet big gaps in my employment history dissuade most people from giving me a chance.

I can’t hide depression on my resume because the only job experience I have is related to my depression. My first job was working for a mental health organization who focused on youth. I told my story of depression and my willingness to do so to educate others got me the job.

Writing for HealthyPlace is something I’m proud to have on my resume, as is maintaining my personal blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living With Depression, for over three years. Both of these jobs are related to my depression. So my depression does help me professionally, I guess, in some circumstances.

I still don’t have enough money to eat three meals a day, though. It’s not enough.

You Can Help Fight Depression Stigma in the Workplace

I can only hope that depression awareness continues to build and that stigma surrounding mental illness begins to dissipate in our society. Depression affects everyone, no matter your success level in the working world. Maybe my next boss has known depression herself and knows that diagnosis doesn’t define a person or their work skills.

I can’t let my hopelessness stand in the way of looking for a job that can ensure my survival on a financial level. Having a good job would bring meaning to my life, allow me to interact with others more frequently, and boost my self-esteem. It would help me fight my depression.

If you know someone who has depression, don’t discount them as participators in life. Help them stay connected, give them opportunities, and remember that they may just be able to offer your team of coworkers essential survival skills that apply to the world as a whole. We’re stronger than you might think.

by Erin Schulthies

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