Explaining My Depression to My Mother

Sabrina Benaim beautifully encapsulates her experience with depression, using poetry to explain her feelings as best as she can.

“Mom still doesn’t understand. Mom, can’t you see that neither can I?!”

Advertisements

Moving In A Positive Direction

adventure-1836601_960_720 2

This was originally posted on Reddit by an anonymous source. It is a good reminder that although depression is not a choice, we do have the power to choose who we spend time with, how we spend that time and to be grateful for the things we have and the positive people in our lives.


It wasn’t instantaneous, and it wasn’t easy. I forget the speaker, but I heard or saw some kind of presentation on the fact that joy is a choice we make, not just something that happens when we’re lucky or make good choices. Because sometimes we’re unlucky, and even good choices don’t go well. So you can choose to be joyful even in bad circumstances, and over time it’ll happen.

I started cutting out negative, angry music and television and listened to/watched more positive things. I stopped hanging out with people who never do anything but drink and fuck around, and I started spending more time with people who were active and positive. I learned to recognize when I was slipping into negativity and depression. It’s ok to be angry or sad, but I stopped continuously beating myself up with those thoughts. And my depression is an illness, so I can’t avoid it, but I don’t have to feed it. My depressive periods never last as long or get as dark anymore.

The most helpful thing has been gratitude. When something goes well, or someone does something even a little nice for me, I try really hard to recognize it, be thankful for it, and to express my gratitude to the person. Recognizing the things that make me happy has just lit up my life, and motivated me to seek out even more goodness, and to be generous when I can.

And there is lots more to it– each step in a positive direction led to another, and it all compounded into a really solid framework for how I now live my life. There have been setbacks and failures, rough patches, and depression. But over time, it’s really just been a matter of making little choices toward joy instead of feeding a repeating pattern of negativity.

Cramming for Exams and Beating Depression

student-849822_960_720

It’s that time of year for students – final assignments and exams. Countless nights of little sleep, lack of nutrition and socialising kept to a minimum to make sure you can finish the year successfully and enjoy the upcoming summer. But what happens when we cram too much and forget about our mental health? What happens when we stay in a period of feeling low and unmotivated?

For some students, self-awareness comes easily. They are able to identify when they are in a period of feeling low and able to engage in personal interests to help cope with stressful periods. Some students find the gym a coping method and relieve stress by running, weight lifting and/or taking yoga classes. Other students find journaling a coping method since they are able to reflect on daily accomplishments (big or small).

Students who find it challenging identifying signs of depression often go into periods of little sleep, lack of motivation and lose their sense of self. These characteristics can lead to a long period of feeling low, anxious and focus on negative aspects. It is important for students to be aware of low periods. Some warning signs that students should look for are the following:

  • Loss of interest – Hard to engage in personal interests and finish school work/study, poor concentration.
  • Irregular sleep patterns – Students may find the need to pull 24hr days to complete school work and crash, sleep mostly during the day and work on school at night.
  • Eating patterns – Increase of appetite or loss of appetite.
  • Increased anxiety
  • Difficulty decision making
  • Feelings of helplessness, worthless and thoughts of suicide

If you were able to identify with any of the above characteristics, here are some suggestions to help you push through the final semester:

  • Identify your best and most effective studying method – cue cards, highlighting notes, rewriting notes, study groups. We all learn material differently so find a method that works best for your learning style.
  • Get an agenda/calendar – This will help outline assignments, exams and schedule time for yourself! Write down important social gatherings, study time, gym time and school time to give you a visual cue.
  • Schedule library dates with friends – Surrounding ourselves with people who have similar interests and goals keep us motivated. Find a friend who likes to hit the library as much as you or find a coffee shop where you can work on schoolwork together. Schedule gym time with a friend to get in an extra round of socialising before hitting the books.
  • Make sure to check out your school’s health department for counselling services – sometimes talking to a professional is needed to help with our thoughts. Make sure to look into your school’s counselling services. These services are included in most tuition in the USA, Canada, and the UK, so take advantage of them.
  • Have the local crisis number or distress centre number available for times when you need someone to talk to.

Remember that you are not alone – there are definitely other students that feel similar to you. For more resources, check out the following links!

http://studentsagainstdepression.org

http://www.samhi.ca

http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/college-students

https://psychcentral.com/lib/depression-in-students/