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Mental Health

Depression and Finding Employment

08/16/2007

Question:

What`s a good job for someone suffering from depression caused by not being able to think or get around like I used to, due to the catch-all lables of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I`m fearful I`m developing a social anxiety disorder or something because I am so afraid of looking stupid (because of my slow, forgetful, scattered brain) or lazy (because of my slow, aching body) that I am terrified of getting a new job. I am 33 and was doing well in my old job and getting a masters degree when suddenly I became so tired I`d fall asleep throughout the day, and my short term memory and ability to retain info dissappered. I know I`m not "stupid," but I also know it takes me way longer than it used to for my brain and body to work, and I can`t perform tasks the way I used to. But with my vague diagnosis and the fact that I don`t "look" sick, I worry people think I`m just lazy or dumb. Until recently I was lucky enough to be working from home, doing some transcription that a friend referred me for. (Her friend runs the business, but now the work is running out). It was never a lot of money, but it helped me squeak by. I can`t be without an income, and I won`t qualify for SSI without a firm diagnosis. Besides, it would take too long to get approved or find out I`ve been denied. I`m so scared. What can I do?

Answer:

It is difficult to answer your question. You may talk to your psychiatrist or primary care provider about your concerns - they know you clinically and therefore may be able to help you identify your specific strengths and vulnerabilities. Neuropsychological testing is something to consider - it can help identify specific cognitive problems and give you a better understanding of what you are truly capable of accomplishing in the workforce. Most cities have rehabilitation centers where you can receive an evaluation and help finding a job that you can manage.

Good luck!

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Response by:

Radu   Saveanu, MD Radu Saveanu, MD
Formerly:
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University