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How do I deal with depression and loss of motivation after missing another promotion?

When you keep missing promotions, feeling depressed and unmotivated is normal. But you need to address your depression just the same
When you keep missing promotions, feeling depressed and unmotivated is understandable. Just the same, you need to address your depression and loss of motivation.

I am depressed because I’ve missed another promotion. I can’t understand it because I have put so much effort into this company over the years. I need the job but I have lost all motivation. Can you help?

Of course you have lost your motivation. You feel betrayed by this company. You’ve worked hard, expecting to be rewarded. Instead you’ve been passed over once again. Most people in a similar situation would feel angry, very angry. They’d seethe, complain or resign. You don’t sound angry at all; you sound defeated. You have turned your anger inwards and buried it. You feel you’ve failed.

Self-blame and repressed anger can create depression. And loss of motivation in these circumstances is a typical symptom of depression. Depression can worsen if it is not addressed.

Your first step is to consult your doctor. For some people, anti-depressants may help, even so, they work best when combined with therapy. But medication or not, ask your doctor to refer you to a psychologist.

Depression is a type of emotional numbness. Rather than face the intense pain of loss, we shut down our feelings. While this helps blot out the pain, it also drains the colour from our lives. Love and happiness disappear. We sacrifice everything that brings us happiness, all to avoid dealing with our pain. Inevitably, depression separates us from others. When we are depressed, we feel isolated, and tend to withdraw from our friends and family. Our loneliness then can deepen our depression.

To escape your depression you need to acknowledge your pain. Missing out on a promotion has caused you grief. Deep down, you may harbour some doubts. You may wonder if you deserve a promotion. You may be loath to surface these feelings of self-doubt because it is so painful.  Perhaps you believe the company has treated you unfairly, meaning you have given years of your life to a company that doesn’t seem to value you. This, too, would be painful. Whichever way you turn, you find pain. That’s why you have deadened your emotions. You are trapped. You believe you need this job and you haven’t the energy or confidence to seek a new one.

It is important to face your loss. Allow your pain to bubble to the surface. Begin by recalling how you felt when you heard you were passed over. Were you angry, or hurt, or shocked? Relive those emotions, allowing yourself to experience them fully. Accept that you felt this way, then let those feelings go. You do not need them any more. If any other emotions surface, do the same. Once you have grieved your loss fully, you are ready to move on.

Now, assess your feelings about this company. Do you need to have a frank conversation with your boss? You have a right to know why you are being passed over. Perhaps you have advanced as far as you can in this organisation. Do you want to keep making an effort for people who don’t seem to appreciate you? If it’s time to take the next step, face your fears about change and start looking for a new job.

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North Brisbane Psychologists