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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it ok to miss work if I am depressed?

    I have been very depressed recently over a break up… to the point where I don't feel like doing anything and have lost my appetite. I feel like a zombie at work and all I do is sit there and feel sad. I want to stay at home but I know it might not help my situation. Is it OK to miss work because I'm feeling sad? Or is it more important that I force myself to go even though I really do not want to be there
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  • 1


    Dr Susan Rowe


    Dr Susan Rowe is a Director of Mindhack psychology clinic where she also works as a clinician. Dr Susan is a specialist in providing effective … View Profile

    What you are describing are many common symptoms and expressions of low mood and depression that often result from an event such as a relationship break-up. While most people after a period of time find ways to cope following these experiences, if you feel these things (e.g., changes in appetite, changes is sleeping patterns) are getting the better of you and you are are having difficulty become happy again, it can be important to voice these concerns to friends, family, and supportive others such as a counsellor or psychologist. If you feel you need additional support at this time it may be important to speak with your GP or doctor about this to ensure your well-being. 

    In regards to work, a common experience of people who are depressed is that they no longer gain pleasure from activities that were previously pleasurable. During times of stress and change in our life maintaining a routine and continuing to be social are very important to our short and long term well-being. Therefore, continuing to work can be an important routine and social connection to maintain. Depression can feel very isolating and so further isolating yourself may not be beneficial. However if you were to use a day off to participate in pleasurable activities such as a walk on the beach, going to the movies, or catching up with friends, then it may be beneficial. 

  • 1


    Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    Yes, some of us find a loss like you are experiencing really hard to take and very difficult to get over.

    By all means share your situation with trusted friends. They can be a great support.

    A session with a good counsellor can make a big difference as friends often feel the need to give advice and this can be confusing.  A good counsellor who uses the Person Centred or Client Centred approach will be a good listener and will not make any judgments or give advice about your loss. This can be really empowering as advice can be well meaning but often misguided. You may discover resourses you didn’t know you had.
    Too much time off work may compromise your relationship with your work place and losing your job may make things worse.  
    One of my clients has taken days off work but feels she is better off going to work where her attention is on work and on others instead of dwelling on the pain at home.
    Finally, recovering from a hurt like this takes time. Take one day a time and give yourself time to mend. Sometimes a treat or reward for getting through another day can be nice.
    All the best.

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