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Old 04.06.2020, 15:44
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Depressed and unsure who to tell

Hi all,

I have been in switzerland for a few years now, but the last 6 months or so I've really been struggling mentally. I live by myself, and as I get older I've become more unhappy.

Today I took the step of talking to my doctor and they recommended a few things

- Some medication
- Counselling (but with 3 month wait time )
- that my doctor will tell my company/HR that I need to reduce my work time to 50%

I'm not really sure about this last point. I have had an issue a few years ago where discussing with HR has caused a whole heap of problems that almost lost me my job. Plus with how things are with the economy, I imagine the company will be reorganising in the next 6 months. I would say I'm already the most disposable one in my team, I don't know that I should make myself more visible in this way.
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Old 04.06.2020, 15:52
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Hi all,

I have been in switzerland for a few years now, but the last 6 months or so I've really been struggling mentally. I live by myself, and as I get older I've become more unhappy.

Today I took the step of talking to my doctor and they recommended a few things

- Some medication
- Counselling (but with 3 month wait time )
- that my doctor will tell my company/HR that I need to reduce my work time to 50%

I'm not really sure about this last point. I have had an issue a few years ago where discussing with HR has caused a whole heap of problems that almost lost me my job. Plus with how things are with the economy, I imagine the company will be reorganising in the next 6 months. I would say I'm already the most disposable one in my team, I don't know that I should make myself more visible in this way.
Well you've taken the first step and gone to a doc, that alone took me far too long to do. If you feel ok at work then I don't see why you would want to cut the hours, if work is part of the cause then maybe the doctor is right in asking you to reduce the stress until you have had time to have figure your head out.
As it's a medical thing, HR can't do a whole heap about it, always remember that HR is in charge of the companies resources that happen to be humans, they are on the companies side, not the interchangeable resource side.
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Old 04.06.2020, 17:15
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

If you think you are liable to lose your job, then being written 50% unfit protects you for six months.
For me, it took much longer than 6 months to actually deal with all the issues -it should be possible to organise a counsellor more quickly than in three months time, but the good ones are heavily booked.
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Old 04.06.2020, 17:22
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

Your life is more important than your job. Do factor that into any decision you make.

Ask your doctor for more tests to be sure it's depression and not another conditions.

Listen to KiwiSteve and Ato.
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Old 04.06.2020, 17:52
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Hi all,

I have been in switzerland for a few years now, but the last 6 months or so I've really been struggling mentally. I live by myself, and as I get older I've become more unhappy.

Today I took the step of talking to my doctor and they recommended a few things

- Some medication
- Counselling (but with 3 month wait time )
- that my doctor will tell my company/HR that I need to reduce my work time to 50%

I'm not really sure about this last point. I have had an issue a few years ago where discussing with HR has caused a whole heap of problems that almost lost me my job. Plus with how things are with the economy, I imagine the company will be reorganising in the next 6 months. I would say I'm already the most disposable one in my team, I don't know that I should make myself more visible in this way.
If you have the energy to call around, it won't take 3 months to get an appointment with a therapist.

I also don't think you should take medication if your doctors isn't going to run some bloodwork to rule out any health conditions that could be making you feel the way you're feeling.

Anti-depressants can increase the risk of suicide in the first weeks of use, so make sure you're comfortable with that risk before going forward, especially with a Hausarzt prescribing it.
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Old 04.06.2020, 17:53
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Hi all,

I have been in switzerland for a few years now, but the last 6 months or so I've really been struggling mentally. I live by myself, and as I get older I've become more unhappy.

Today I took the step of talking to my doctor and they recommended a few things

- Some medication
- Counselling (but with 3 month wait time )
- that my doctor will tell my company/HR that I need to reduce my work time to 50%

I'm not really sure about this last point. I have had an issue a few years ago where discussing with HR has caused a whole heap of problems that almost lost me my job. Plus with how things are with the economy, I imagine the company will be reorganising in the next 6 months. I would say I'm already the most disposable one in my team, I don't know that I should make myself more visible in this way.
That doesn't sound like you should pull out of social life even more.

If you're willing to travel to Winterthur, I can give you an address. Counselling in English. Payed by Krankenkasse. Easy to access/find (minutes from trainstation on foot). You'd have to call and see if he has capacity.
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Old 04.06.2020, 18:05
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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If you have the energy to call around, it won't take 3 months to get an appointment with a therapist.
This.
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Old 04.06.2020, 18:08
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

OP - if you had work issues for a while and gradually became depressed, chances are that it is your unstable job security that is causing your spleen. Getting on sick leave certificate will not put you fully in a position where you can quickly leave your job for a new one, in my opinion. How about spending an hour every day on looking for change of job, updating and upgrading your portfolio, getting really active in a new job research or contacting an employment agency or headhunters to see how to get a better job or get more qualifications? It might make your feel more in control over your professional life. Not feeling appreciated at work longterm can break people.
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Old 04.06.2020, 18:17
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

Well done for going to get help.

There is a big difference, insurance-wise, and in terms of planning the rest of your working years, and possibly finding another job, between
  • working fewer hours, for a phase, because your doctor has declared that you are too ill to work full-time, and
  • actually contractually reducing the number of hours for which you are employed.

Therefore, whether or not you choose to approach HR or even if they approach you, this is my advice:
  • Do not resign.
  • Do not agree to reducing your contractual working hours.

Hopefully, you and your doctor(s) can first find out what is going on, whether you need more tests, whether this is a psychological or a physical issue, or some combination and then. Once you are have started some sort of treatment and can begin to see your way forward more clearly, you may find ways to feel well and happy and to return to work full-time. That's the best scenario.

Even if you're contemplating reducing your employment contract, perhaps to have less stress or more free time, my sense is that now is not the moment. First work out what you need, and only then decide about whether to officially reduce your employment contract, later on.
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Old 04.06.2020, 19:47
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

Get married? Or at least start seeing someone? Not easy in CH, but if you moderate your appetite, everything is possible.

Last edited by LifeStrain; 04.06.2020 at 20:18.
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Old 04.06.2020, 19:47
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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If you have the energy to call around, it won't take 3 months to get an appointment with a therapist...
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This.
I think it is very much location dependent. In Bern it has been a struggle to find an English-speaking therapist that is A) covered by insurance and B) taking new clients.
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Old 04.06.2020, 19:48
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Get married? Or at least start seeing someone? Not easy in CH, but if you moderate you appetite, everything is possible.
Do you really think that is helpful?
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Old 04.06.2020, 19:54
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Do you really think that is helpful?
No, so why didn't you delete it?
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Old 04.06.2020, 20:05
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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No, so why didn't you delete it?
If I delete anything not helpful, there might be a lot less Was hoping the poster would add/change him/herself rather than modding this.
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Old 04.06.2020, 20:20
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Do you really think that is helpful?
Yes I do.

I am in the community of depressed lonely young specialists around 30 +/- 3, I believe this would help at least a few of us, yes.

This situation is called an after-university dip. Active and easy socializing at the Uni has come to an end, and there are not so many opportunities to flare it up here in CH. You go to a bar alone, hoping to meet new people, end up drinking alone, and going home alone. Typical Switzerland.

While I don't know how old the OP is, it seems like he/she has been living alone for too long. Just the title "...and unsure who to tell" suggests the OP doesn't even have a close friend to discuss this issue with.

Last edited by LifeStrain; 04.06.2020 at 21:36.
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Old 04.06.2020, 20:38
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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I have been in switzerland for a few years now, but the last 6 months or so I've really been struggling mentally. I live by myself, and as I get older I've become more unhappy.
1) Do you exercise regularly and also go hiking or biking in nature?
2) Do you have a good and healthy diet?
3) Do you get enough sleep?
4) Do you go out and socialize or have any friends?

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Get married? Or at least start seeing someone? Not easy in CH, but if you moderate your appetite, everything is possible.
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Old 04.06.2020, 20:43
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

Thanks for all the responses.

I feel like this has been bubbling under the surface for a few years now and I always just found distractions. But they were only temporary. I'd go through phases of going to the gym frequently or dating a lot (getting a girlfriend here is no easy task). Then I'd get really sad for a period and then repeat the cycle.

with the job it's the only thing that's going well really. It's more everything outside of work that's not going well. I guess I thought I'd be well integrated after so many years here, but the opposite is true. Relationships never seem to last more than a month or so. I think a big factor is my lack of german speaking ability. But languages really don't come easily to me.

The doctor was very good actually. They are doing some blood tests, but I am quite sure there will be no significant findings there.

In terms of calling around to speak to someone, I think with my insurance they have to direct me to someone. The doctor said there was another place that might be able to help. But we will talk about it more in our follow up appointment next week.

I can't say for sure that the company is struggling apart from the expected things such as announcements that there will be no bonus this year etc. So maybe I'm overthinking it a bit.
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Old 04.06.2020, 21:08
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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Relationships never seem to last more than a month or so. I think a big factor is my lack of german speaking ability. But languages really don't come easily to me.
That's the point. Get at least one (better more) trusted people with whom you could discuss intimate (I don't mean sexual) topics, feelings, dreams, aspirations (true dreams, not bs you say out loud to hold conversation or look cool). And they should not be your colleagues. Neither current nor ex. You don't need to see tham daily, but spend some quality time with sincere discussions once in a while.

And I think you also identified the major cause yourself - you don't speak the local language well enough to do that, and english-speaking expat community is too small shallow and too british to find someone decent amongst them.

Put some effort, learn it, speak it, integrate into the society (join some local hobby verein or asvz) instead of wasting time and money on pills and therapists which will make things only worse.

Last edited by LifeStrain; 04.06.2020 at 22:00.
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Old 04.06.2020, 21:32
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

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That's the point. Get at least one (better more) trusted people with whom you could discuss intimate (I don't mean sexual) topics, feelings, dreams, aspirations (true dreams, not bs you say out loud to hold conversation or look cool). And they should not be your colleagues. Neither current nor ex. You don't need to see tham daily, but spend some quality time with sincere discussions once in a while.

And I think you also identified the major cause yourself - you don't speak the local language well enough to do that, and english-speaking expat community is too small and too british to find someone decent amongst them.

Put some effort, learn it, speak it, integrate into the society (join some local hobby verein or asvz) instead of wasting time and money on pills and therapists which will make things only worse.
Not speaking German, while inconvenient, is hardly going to be a "major contributor" to depression unless it is completely blocking soneone from getting a job. The English-speaking expat community in Zürich is also very large with tons of activities to do.
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Old 04.06.2020, 21:34
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Re: Depressed and unsure who to tell

You wrote that your German isn't very good. I know all too well how difficult it can be to learn a new language, but you might want to consider taking a German class (if you aren't already). I say that because I always found them to be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Many of the people who are in those classes are also new to Switzerland and are also looking for friends here, etc. My first close friend here is a girl from "New Yawk" that I met in a German class.

That's good that you're having blood work done. I've had phases of depression a few times, and it ended up being due to low iron or low vitamin D. Also, make sure you get plenty of sleep. That makes a huge difference in our thought patterns and emotions (when we don't get decent sleep, our emotions become amplified).

Also, if you don't mind me making this suggestion... Be careful about using social media, because studies have found that using those sites easily causes depression (and anxiety), for various reasons.
https://www.healthline.com/health-ne...and-loneliness

With your job... If it's not the source of your depression or causing you stress, then I agree that it's probably best to do everything you can to try to ensure that you keep your job.

And one last thing... I'm not sure if this is something that might help you, but I'm reading a book right now on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is really good.
https://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-T.../dp/0091906954
CBT basically teaches you how to recognize and change negative thinking patterns and therefore also your emotions (for example, one of the things the author points out is that thinking in terms of "should" is a common cause of depression). So it's like establishing a form of internal dialogue with yourself that helps you learn to control your thoughts rather than letting your thoughts control you.

Things will get better. Just try not to come down on yourself for feeling lonely or depressed. It's something that I think everyone deals with at some point in their lives. And if you ever find yourself in a dark place and just need someone to talk to, please do feel free to send me a private message.

All the best to you!
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