4 Unprofessional Behaviors that Are Actually Signs of Depression

August 20, 2019 Mahevash Shaikh

When you are at work, like any other employee, you are expected to be professional at all times. But you have something that other employees may or may not have: depression. There are some unprofessional behaviors you may exhibit as symptoms of your depression.

The thing about depression is that it shows up everywhere you go, even at your place of work. And just the fact that you have depression can make you appear unprofessional at times.

4 Unprofessional Behaviors that Are Actually Symptoms of Depression

  1. Apathy and lack of follow-through: In a meeting or a group discussion, you promise to take care of certain tasks by a certain date. However, life and depression happen, and everything doesn't go as planned. Instead of trying your best to finish your tasks on time, depression-induced apathy sets in and you let things slide. The next thing you know, it is time for another meeting or group discussion and all you have to show for it is half-done work and an excuse.
  2. Unproductivity and frequently-missed deadlines: Productivity is one of the last things on your mind when you are in the middle of a debilitating episode of depression. Coming into work itself is a mammoth of a task during such hard times. Depression is known to slow down efficiency, so naturally, you will miss most of your deadlines. Even if the quality of your work is fine, it will be delivered much later than expected.
  3. Repeated mistakes due to brain fog: Depression often causes brain fog, a cognitive dysfunction that causes issues like poor memory, short attention span, and as the term indicates, an inability to think clearly. So while coworkers may consider you lazy and careless, it is important for you to know that brain fog is responsible for your mistakes, not you.
  4. Taking forever to respond to emails: Emails are hard to stay on top of for most people, and when it comes to someone who is depressed, they can be extremely overwhelming. Unfortunately, most workplaces use email to communicate and they expect replies as soon as possible, even though email clearly isn't instant messaging. If you struggle to reply on time to the many, many emails in your inbox, you will probably come across as rude and unprofessional. 

The important thing to remember here is that none of these unprofessional behaviors are your fault. If there's someone you need to pin the blame on, it's depression. What's more, let your manager know the reason why you are not performing well at work. If your workplace is not mental-health friendly, tell them that you have a health condition that is making you look unprofessional at work. Whatever you do, do not put off this discussion as it might be the reason you find yourself out of a job.

Manage Depression and Unprofessional Behaviors

Take a look at the video below for some tips on how you can manage depression at work so that your unprofessional behaviors impact you less. 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2019, August 20). 4 Unprofessional Behaviors that Are Actually Signs of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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