DR. S. MOHAN RAJ
When depressed, your mood will affect your judgment. So don't take any hasty decisions.
ANAND felt miserable. He felt sad most of the time. He had lost all interest in his work and leisure activity. No activity was pleasurable. Favourite songs sounded flat. He had to push himself to do simple tasks, which appeared like a big burden. He was convinced that his job was the cause for his mood state. He felt hopeless about the situation in the office. "I will feel better only when I throw this job away," he reasoned. As the thoughts intensified, he resigned. The HRD manager urged him to reconsider his decision, but Anand was adamant.
For the first three days, he felt relieved that the burden was off. The sadness lingered. He hoped that he would be able to snap out of it soon. Three weeks later, the sadness, the low interest level and the inability to enjoy were still present. He did not have enough motivation to look for a new job. Gradually, the consequences of leaving his job stared at him. Boredom, loneliness and the financial implications made him wonder whether his judgment was wrong. He felt guilty about his resignation. He felt embarrassed to ask his ex-office to reconsider him. Ultimately when he did contact, the HRD manager pleaded helplessness. Resignation, divorce, suicide are some decisions that would appear perfectly logical and rational when one is depressed. While depressed, one would perceive the world through a filter, tinted with sadness. The person tends to focus on the negative aspects of self, environment and the future. ("I am worthless", "This office has gone to dogs" and "By 2007, my skills will have no demand"). The negative thoughts will not be based on ground reality and will be irrational. When all seem lost, suicide might appear to be the only logical solution. When the sadness fades away, many more solutions would become visible and the option of suicide would seem illogical. Suicide is not the only decision that is irreversible. A hasty dispatch of a legal notice to one's spouse can lead to an irreversible spiral of events. Do not take major decisions when you are depressed, as your judgment will be coloured by your mood state. Postpone them until your mood has improved. Once your mood is normal, if you want to resign your job for other reasons, it is fine. In such a situation, you would plan your resignation, finances, alternate job etc. Before considering divorce you might decide to work through your marital conflicts with your spouse. As for suicide, you will not get suicidal ideas when your mood is cheerful. The author is a Chennai-based Consultant Psychiatrist. E-mail: email@example.com