Q: Hi Jill. While I haven’t been medically diagnosed, for over a year I’ve been depressed. I’m wondering what I can do to get myself back on the right track. Short of spilling my guts to a psychologist, are there any self-help books you can recommend? I’m also considering a career change — leaving administrative work to likely start my own computer repair business. Could you provide me with some information on getting my startup off the ground? Maybe all I need in my life is a little change, or a new set of goals.

A: Christine, let me start by saying it takes a lot of courage to reach out for help. It’s not a weakness, but the first step towards reclaiming your life.


My first concern is your health and your self-diagnosed depression. I encourage you to seek medical advice immediately. Depression is very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is a huge difference between feeling down for a few days — as we all do — and having long periods with symptoms of depression.

You could start by visiting the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health’s website, www.camh.net, for more information. I notice you have some reservations about talking to a psychologist, but quite frankly, if this is what it takes to bring purpose and balance back into your life, isn’t that a small price to pay?

You’re right that we sometimes get stuck in mundane routines and a change can help. If you are considering starting a small business, Enterprise Toronto, www.enterprisetoronto.com, and SmallbizXpress, http://smallbizxpress.tpl.toronto.on.ca/servlet/HomePage, are good places to start.

Both resources link you to hundreds of other information sites and services for entrepreneurs, and Enterprise Toronto even offers you a free business plan review meeting. Along with planning a business, you also need to have a legal team to help with the day-to-day issues inherent to company ownership.

Pinksy Lawyers, www.pinskylaw.ca, is a firm specializing in the needs and concerns of small to medium sized companies, entrepreneurs and inventors.

While I am a great fan of self-help books, I cannot stress enough that I really want you to seek professional help — especially since you’ve had these feelings for over a year. I don’t want you to get caught up in self-diagnosing, which may lead to the wrong diagnosis. So, this time I’m going to refrain from recommending any self-help books.

Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.


jill’s tip of the week

  • Job relocation to another city isn’t a decision to rush into. Make sure to ask yourself practical, realistic questions before signing on the dotted line. Do you really want to live in the new city? How much of a salary or job opportunity are you really getting with the move? Will you be able to maintain your standard of living? Will the employer cover any relocation expenses? It is always a good idea to visit the new city and speak with residents and other employees. If you sign a contract, be sure there’s a provision for testing out the arrangement for a few months without penalties should you decide the new arrangement isn’t best for you.