Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Forum - Depression and the Professional

I still have two part completed posts to complete the depression series. They will be behind this post in time order. But I did not want to hold up discussion.

The purpose of this forum is to provide an opportunity for you to talk about your own experiences with depression. Or about your experiences with firms and their responses to depressions. Or about your experiences in managing depression.

I do not care about the approach. It is up to you. My aim remains to stimulate discussion.


I have finally completed all the posts in the depression series. I am now going to update all the previous posts by adding a full list of the posts at the bottom. Now done.

Given this, you may care to read the whole series in order starting with the first post in the common management problems series on dealing with poor performers.

Posts in this Series

Precursor posts:

The Depression series:


An immigrant said...

Depression is nourished by a lifetime of ungrieved and unforgiven hurts ~
Penelope Sweet

Adrian said...

Jim, I just wanted to thank you for your consoling and instructive comments on my blog.

My depression has recently had a succession of very obvious short-term causes, in addition to its rather more subtle, simmering long-term causes.

From observing myself and others, I've found that it's very easy, tempting even, for depression sufferers to address the most severe stuff and assume that the subtle stuff has also been fixed.

Professionals who want and may urgently need to get on with their lives are liable to try and get back on track with work once the most severe symptoms of their depression have abated.

In the meantime, the subter symptoms continue to hum away. The total despair may have subsided, but the 'cloud' still looms overhead, threateningly.

The enduring challenge of long-term depression, I think, is to balance the task of living in the present with the more pervasive, less immediately obvious aspects of their illness.

Which is to say, you have to keep monitoring your depression, its causes, its customs.

This is something which the professional workspace isn't always geared towards: an understanding that, unlike other illnesses, depression often doesn't simply or easily go away.

Employers and HR people often find it tricky to understand this. Depression sufferers themselves may be inclined to deny it. But understanding this is the first step to dealing with depression holistically, and, perhaps, to preventing its most severe symptoms from reoccurring.

Legal Eagle said...


I commend your efforts to try and address these questions. I think that people who suffer from depression can be very productive and valuable employees. There has to be a culture where these things are addressed and treated rather shoved under the carpet.

I have managed to work through depression and have a good life and career, I just want to say to others out there that it is possible.


Jim Belshaw said...

Adrian, I thought that your comment re the immediate pressures and the longer term, more subtle, stuff was very perceptive.

In a practical working sense, the immediate need is to break the negative cycle. Once this is done, it becomes possible to address other issues.

Most people, like Legal Eagle, do work their way through the problem to the other side.

Focusing just on depression and the workplace, the case studies I used focused on examples where the firm mishandled the issue. It would be interesting to get some success stories as case studies to further tease the issues out.