Unemployment and Depression With Anxiety

November 12, 2014 Jennifer Tazzi

Recently I found out that my work duties have been cut back significantly, leaving me feeling lost and also looking for new work. Job loss can be a significant trigger for depression. This has led me to seek out coping skills to deal with this new reality in my life.

Employment Can Lend a Helpful Structure to Life

Unemployment can be a trigger for depression. Learn coping skills that help deal with depression and anxiety during unemployment.

When first unemployed, often one hears suggestions to enjoy the time off, which is understandable. But for those prone to depression, the right kind of work can provide an important sense of order and purpose to our lives. Without it, there can be too much free time for rumination and worry. One day, everything is normal and routine. The next, you’re sitting around in yoga pants watching daytime television and wondering how things changed so much so quickly.

I Am Worthy Without My Employment

This may seem an obvious statement but it can be difficult in practice. I’m realizing how easy it was for my job to become a part of my identity. Even the way we describe ourselves can point to this: “I am an attorney. I am a writer.” Who am I without these roles being as active in my life right now? As I search for meaningful work, it is important for me to remind myself of my own intrinsic human value that exists separate and apart from any employment opportunity.

Strategize, Schedulize and Incrementalize to Stave Off Depression During Unemployment

How am I dealing with this potential depression trigger? A friend who recently was searching for employment had a worthy suggestion: strategize, schedulize and incrementalize. Essentially, this means to first, strategize and prioritize what must be done and how you can go about it. Secondly, to set a schedule for following through on these goals. And finally, take incremental steps toward your goals and honor each step along the way. I’ve also found it helpful to use a looseleaf binder to track these three steps. This both helps me remain organized and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I need a boost to keep going.

Dealing With Anxiety and Depression During Unemployment

Anxiety often tends to deal in fears of the future. It’s so easy for my brain to go skipping miles into the future right now, catastrophizing and visualizing an endlessly empty future with no employment opportunities and little-to-no hope. I have to reign it in regularly and focus on the present, otherwise I get stuck in the anxiety. One way I do this is to focus on the phrase, “We’re not there yet.” When worries about the future threaten to engulf me, I try to take a deep breath and remind myself that, “we’re not there yet,” that I’m not dealing with that potential reality yet. I then tell myself that if and when that reality occurs, I will figure it out then. This exercise can go a long way in defusing my anxiety and focusing my energy on what I can do right now.

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APA Reference
Tazzi, J. (2014, November 12). Unemployment and Depression With Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Jennifer Tazzi

Jennifer Tazzi
January, 6 2015 at 3:29 pm

Dear Piya,
I'm sorry you're going through all that. It sounds very hard to deal with. I hope things improve for you soon.
- Jenn

Jennifer Tazzi
January, 6 2015 at 3:26 pm

Thank you, Sephen and I hope it does help.

December, 29 2014 at 9:15 pm

i lost my last job i worked there several years and was forced to resign. i went into suicidal phase and all the childhood abuse, trauma came back. it was very difficult phase and still is difficult. i just get up around 9-10 in the morning and waste my time doing nothing. its hard for me to find a routine and the mood swings worsens

December, 29 2014 at 1:13 pm

My wife lost her job last year and has been in a funk ever since. I will def show her this post. Hopefully it helps.

December, 27 2014 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for this post. I'm fortunate to have never been unemployed, but my identity is inextricably tied to my profession. People's dependency on me at work is one of the things that helps remind me that I have worth when I'm suicidal. Finding my identity and self-worth independent of my job has been challenging. Do you have suggestions?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jennifer Tazzi
December, 28 2014 at 7:10 am

Dear Buzzy,
Reading your post, I am glad that your work helps remind you of your worth when suicidal. I also hear you that finding identity and self-worth independent of work can be challenging. For me, finding identity and self-worth outside of work is a journey. One suggestion I try to follow is to learn more about myself. What do I enjoy within and outside of work and why? How can I further develop these areas of interest? Are there hobbies and interests I can pursue outside of work? Journal writing can be a help in this area as well. I also try to remember that my interactions with myself and others - from little to big things - are all part of the tapestry that my life weaves both within and without a professional life.
Wishing you well on the journey,

Jennifer Tazzi
November, 26 2014 at 7:09 am

Dear Maureen,
Thank you for sharing your experience and the suggestion about volunteering. It's an excellent idea!

November, 24 2014 at 7:01 am

Hi Jennifer, thanks for the post and the suggestions. Over the years I have been unemployed on several occasions due to being laid off. I am currently unemployed for the same reason. One thing that I have found helpful is to do some volunteering. It gives me a reason to get up and out of the house and also gives me some much-needed human connection - whether I feel like I want it or not!

Jennifer Tazzi
November, 19 2014 at 4:19 pm

Dear Lee,
Rejection is so hard. I'm sorry that you're going through that. I hope you get the support and the help that you need. - Jenn

November, 19 2014 at 4:31 am

After three years, my self esteem is in the gutter. I'm not as young as I used to be and I can't seem to bounce back for the repeated rejections. I'm taking them all personally.

Jennifer Tazzi
November, 14 2014 at 4:45 am

Dear Rain,
Thanks for your response! I'm sorry to hear that you're in the same boat at the moment. Wishing you all the best! - Jenn

Rain Gill
November, 13 2014 at 6:45 pm

Hey Jennifer, thanks for the great post! I'm in the same boat right now. I was recently let go from an awesome job without reason. I'm finding it very hard to stay present. Your suggestion about "we're not there yet" is really helpful. I'm adding it to my arsenal of mantras :)
Good luck and take care!

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