By Jodi Helmer
Shari M. believed that happiness would come when she reached a certain rung on the corporate ladder. To get there, she logged 70 hours per week as an IT project manager, often forgoing sleep to meet deadlines.
She wasn’t just logging overtime at work: She had a newborn son and household responsibilities. She had a lot of support from her husband, she cut back on seeing friends, she gave up her hobbies, but Shari still didn’t have time for everything on her overwhelming to-do list.
“I had so many goals and dreams, and I started feeling sorry for myself because I wasn’t reaching them,” recalls the 44-year-old. “I felt like I wasn’t worth as much because I couldn’t get it all done.”
Exhausted, emotionally fragile, and plagued with headaches and back pain, Shari was diagnosed with depression in 2007. She was prescribed antidepressants and also went to counseling, where she realigned her priorities.
“I was used to things going well and being very successful in life,” recalls Shari, whose depressive symptoms resurged. “When the business failed, I felt like a failure.”
She left her six-figure job in the tech sector to start a new business. She was feeling better and having fun with her start-up. Then her business failed and her self-esteem plunged.
Self-worth and depression have a symbiotic connection. Kevin Solomons, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, sees “self-esteem failure” as a key component of the illness.
“If you think of yourself as worthless and hopeless, the emotion that corresponds is unhappiness and misery,” explains Solomons, who studies the psychological effects of low self-worth.
Meanwhile, the inability to achieve what you’d like, perform as you used to, or even complete everyday tasks because of depression can lead to or strengthen feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. … [end of excerpt]
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