Although the US economy has improved significantly since the 2008 crisis, there are still millions searching for jobs. The unemployment rate has improved dramatically from 9.9% in December 2009 to 4.7% in December 2017, according to figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite this, the number of unemployed persons was at 7.5 million.
Being unemployed can have a significant negative impact on your emotional health. In fact, this can be far worse than the financial impact of not having a job. Unemployment stress can have far-reaching psychological consequences, says NYC Psychotherapist Linda Charnes.
The Devastating Impact of Being Unemployed
Self-esteem: Not being called for interviews or attending interviews and not being offered a job can erode a person’s sense of self-worth. People are much more emotionally healthy when they feel their life has a purpose. Moreover, achievements in the workplace boosts self-esteem. Being unemployed for an extended period makes us question our worth.
Guilt: If you’re unable to execute financial responsibilities, like paying for your child’s schooling, a sense of guilt takes over. This feeling tends to develop into a sense of worthlessness.
Indecisiveness: Being unemployed results in uncertainties. One begins to wonder whether to add to qualifications, change their career path and even relocate to a different state. These decision points add to the stress.
Feeling of Isolation: While you’re unemployed, you may have friends or family members who not only have jobs, but are doing well in their careers. This can result in resentment and a feeling of being isolated. We tend to believe that people who are not in a similar situation would not understand us. You suddenly feel very alone, with no one to talk to.
Depression: Being out of work results in financial pressures, a sense of rejection and hopelessness. These feelings pile up and can result in chronic depression, which is difficult to get out of.
Psychotherapy Can Help
Unemployment stress can result in a vicious cycle, where one questions one’s worth and gradually stops actively seeking job opportunities. An extended period of unemployment can take a person from feeling low to suffering from severe mental disorders, according to an article published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Psychotherapy can help a person cope with unemployment stress, break that vicious cycle and help attend more job interviews with added confidence. Psychotherapy uses scientifically validated procedures to equip a person emotionally to cope with stress and develop healthier psychological habits. It is not based purely on talking about your problems (although this helps immensely), but also focuses on working toward solutions.
Coping with unemployment stress is not easy, especially if you’ve been out of work for months. The psychological impact usually takes a backseat, with people worrying about the financial front. However, your emotional well-being is the most important aspect to consider at such difficult times. Opting for psychotherapy can help you deal with the social and financial impacts of unemployment.