Tips for Coping with Job Loss and Economic Crisis | Atypical Depression

The reality of the financial crisis concerns us all. The fact is that we are struggling with the most intense debt catastrophes in modern history. Many believe that economic pain and suffering is inescapable; and during the past three years, Americans have experienced a significant amount of financial stress, depression and anxiety.

Research reveals that job loss may be directly related to depression and affects one’s social status, self-esteem and self-concept, mental and physical activity, and the ability to exercise one’s ability and skill. Atypical Depression is a common diagnosis for those that experience depression due to a specific event.

What is Atypical Depression?

Americans that suffer from depression with atypical features may react to negative or positive extrinsic situations. The symptoms of depression may only exist during the event and will subside when the situation is corrected. Loosing your job and financial stability may trigger Atypical Depressive symptoms that include:

Symptoms (in addition to typical symptoms of depression, you may experience 2 out of 4)

1)     Increased appetite with weight gain of 10 lbs or more when depressed

2)     Hypersomnia (excessive sleep) of 10 hours or more per day or 2 hours more sleep than the usual amount of sleep when not depressed

3)     Heavy, leaden feelings in arms and legs

4)     Longstanding pattern of interpersonal rejection sensitivity, not limited to episodes of depression, that results in significant social or occupational impairment

There are a number of life transitioning situations (divorce, job loss, death, relocation, etc.), which trigger a significant amount of stress; and researchers have concluded that financial instability and job loss is among the most common. Job loss is contributed to an exceptional amount of grief and bereavement.

What is GRIEF?

Everyone experiences grief at some point in life. Grief is a common reaction to trauma, loss, and bereavement. Grief is usually associated with the death of a loved one; however, grief may also include loss of a job, financial stability, health, marriage, friendship, or dreams. According to Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief.

5 Stages of Grief:

1) Denial (this cannot be happening to me!)

2) Anger (why is this happening to me?)

3) Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)

4) Depression (I don’t care anymore)

5) Acceptance (I’ve accepted whatever comes)

What are symptoms of Grief?

Grief affects people in a variety of ways. If you are struggling with grief you may experience the following symptoms derived from Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief:

1)  Disbelief/Shock – Shortly following a loss, it will be exceptionally difficult to accept the loss. A ‘not guilty’ verdict seemingly shocked many American and was difficult to believe.

2)  Depression—Symptoms of depression are common when faced with tremendous loss and grief. Sadness, despair, loneliness, emptiness, and hopelessness may intensify.

3)   Remorse – It is common to experience feelings of remorse or guilt when you loose a loved one. It is not unusual to have feelings of frustration and anger during this phase of the grief cycle.

4)   Anxiety/Fear – Panic attacks may also become a focus when struggling with the grief process. Helplessness and anxiousness are common symptoms of grief.

5)    Physical Symptoms – Grief an emotional and physical process. Somatic symptoms may emerge when faced with the grieving process: muscle tension, insomnia, weight loss, weight gain, fatigue, or nausea.

What to do?

  1. Seek help: Grief counseling, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotion Freedom Technique), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and/or Support group.
  2. Develop a self-care program
  3. Surround yourself with a strong support system

When to seek help?

  1. If you feel suicidal or if you feel that you will harm yourself
  2. If you are unable to maintain normal, daily functioning
  3. If you blame yourself excessively
  4. If you feel disconnected or dissociated
  5. If you feel unusually numb
  6. If you cannot trust anyone

If you or someone you know are struggling with depression or anxiety as a result of grief, contact a therapist or counselor for help.

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