If you've ever wrestled with depression, you know that it's the worst kind of self-perpetuating problem. Say you're feeling down about work, so you plan to find a new job, but rather than organizing a promising search for new options, your mental health keeps you too depressed to actually find a way out. Breaking that cycle is crucial, but when you're feeling that low, it might seem impossible.
Psychologists at Ohio State University may have found one way out of it, though. In a small study published this month, researchers report that cognitive behavioral therapy in particular had a pronounced effect on depressed job-seekers landing a new gig or improving the one they have. CBT focuses on identifying unhelpful modes of thinking, such as "No one will ever hire me" or "My failure means I shouldn't try again," and replacing those thoughts with more positive, actionable ones.
"CBT helps patients overcome these views by teaching them that the experience of depression is not their fault," said lead author Daniel Strunk, "and that they can take steps to improve their concentration and accomplish work more successfully, even when experiencing depressive symptoms."
It should be noted that these are preliminary results from a subgroup of 41 individuals, so it's not an automatic slam-dunk. But if you're working with a mental health professional, it might be worth asking if CBT is right for you. We all need help with our state of mind, particularly during COVID-19. Give yourself a chance to feel better soon.