by Andrea M. Darcy
Really unhappy at work and feel like your job is slowing killing you? If you are losing the will to live, it’s a serious issue. Editor and lead writer Andrea M Darcy explores.
*if you are feeling like you might really hurt yourself or others, please call emergency services or go to the nearest A&E. If you desperately need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to call the Good Samaritans on 116 123.
Work Suicide is Serious
The Office of National Statistics’ most recent survey ‘Suicide by Occupation’ found that:
Is it just the job that sees you losing the will to live?
Feel your job is a dead end, and you have lost hope you can find anything else? Or working so hard you are always exhausted, but still are always in debt? Do you feel that your job is part of a struggle you’ve felt trapped in since childhood? These can all put you at a higher risk of being suicidal.
The same survey mentioned above felt that, “it may not be the actual occupation that puts individuals at risk, but features of the job such as low pay, job security and the wider socio-economic characteristics of individuals employed in a particular sector.”
Other factors can include:
It’s not just the job
When we are very depressed and losing the will to live we tend to pick a ‘scape goat’. Our job is a great candidate because it’s socially acceptable to complain about it.
But research shows that there are usually other factors at play, such as many stressful life events happening at once. This could be a breakup, a bereavement, health issues, or depression and anxiety from unresolved childhood trauma.
For example, a study of suicide amongst Australian construction workers found that, “young employees were at excessive risk with separation/divorce, relationship problems, and untreated psychiatric conditions the major contributors.”
High levels of alcohol consumption or recreational drug use can also make us more vulnerable to harming ourselves. Another study on the construction industry found that nearly two-two-thirds of sucides had involved prior alcohol consumption.
What do I do if I am losing the will to live because of work?
If you feel your job is killing you, it’s time to take action, even if it is uncomfortable.
1. Shine a light on it.
Call them vampires if it helps — suicidal thoughts prosper in secrecy and the hidden darkness of our minds. So exposing them to the light of day is the first and best step.
Yes, as in tell someone. Make it someone you can trust. If you are scared of what people will think, and don’t have a friend or family member you can trust, then call a free hotline. Listeners want to hear from you, they spend hours training to do so. It’s just about getting the words out of your head. When we speak them, you can start deal with them.
2. Take advantage of resources.
Most workplaces in the UK now have mental health support for employees, whether that is several counselling services covered by insurance or free online courses you can take. It is there to be used. If you don’t want to explain in detail, just say you are struggling with your moods and be firm that you prefer to discuss in greater detail with your counsellor, not HR.
If you are being bullied or harassed or if the law is otherwise being broken in your workplace — unpaid hours, unethical requests — then sometimes what is needed to give hope is proper legal advice.
Sometimes we feel utterly hopeless as we are making huge assumptions. Perhaps we have never met anyone who did what we want to do, so assume it’s impossible. We assume we could never find another job, retrain, or are too old for a job change.
Other times we simply need more information to see a light at the end of the tunnel. This could be a spot of careers counselling, or working with a coach to help you realise your other talents you can’t see. Or it could be looking up mentor programs, or going to a local college to enquire about what it takes to sign up for other training. You might even want to talk to your local council who might offer programs to help you if you want to launch your own business or retrain.
3. Learn how to face and overcome suicidal thinking.
Suicidal thinking, and all the negative self talk it brings? It’s not who you are. It’s what it sounds like — just thoughts. And no matter how ‘true’ these thoughts sound? They aren’t. They are what is known as cognitive distortions — deviations from the truth that trick us.
You can actually learn to handle and navigate suicidal thinking so that it has less and less power over you. Learn how in our articles on handling suicidal thinking and balanced thinking.
Again, if you are feeling very suicidal, like you might hurt yourself or others, it’s important you get help. Call emergency services, or go to the nearest A&E.
If you are having suicidal thoughts but don’t think you’ll hurt yourself then good advice is:
- get to a safe space
- talk to someone you trust
- distract yourself
- focus on the present (today is not the day to worry about future)
- dodge your triggers (alcohol, drugs, sad music, toxic friends)
- do things that make you feel good (exercise, cooking, being in nature)
- connect (with friends, animals, nature, your version of God)
- seek proper support (GP, or emergency services if you are going to really hurt yourself).
Time to talk to someone who gets it about your suicidal thought and career frustrations? We connect you with top London counsellors. Or find UK-wide registered therapists and online counsellors on our booking platform.
Still have a question about losing the will to live over work? Post below.
Andrea M. Darcy is a health and wellbeing writer as well as mentor, trained in person-centred counselling and coaching. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy