giraffelover
A:

Hi giraffelover,

It's nice to see you, my friend. Glad you checked in.

I am sorry to hear you are struggling so much right now. First, I want to honor you for working on your undergraduate degree. That's great. But I can understand why it is difficult to focus while you are dealing with depression symptoms.

What it sounds like to me is that you are describing a cycle. Your depression makes it difficult to focus and then, by not feeling productive, your feel less self-confident. This can, in turn, affect your depression and bring you down.

I have a couple of suggestions.

I always encourage my clients who are living with depression to try to give themselves gentle pushes to stay active in their lives. To go through the motions of doing the things they know are important to them, even if they aren't feeling like doing these things. Within reason, of course. But If you can, day by day, spend some time on your studies, this may help you to feel like you are staying on track with an important priority. I always tell my clients, take actions that you know in your rational mind are important to you. The feelings will catch up later.

Given what you wrote, you may find that doing what you can to stay on track may also help you to feel more confident.

You might also check to see if your school offers some accommodations, such as allowing you to turn in a late assignment or to have an extension on completing a course, if you decide you need that. I teach at an online school and we offer those kinds of accommodations.

Having said that, if you need a break, that's okay too. Make your mental health a priority.

I am thinking you could also benefit from some support, as well all need. Do you have people in your life who are cheering for you? Sitting down regularly with friends or family members who care about you and can listen to what's going on with you could really help. Someone who can give you some encouragement.

If you are not already doing this, I just also have to encourage you to consider having a talk with a mental health professional. A professional could provide an objective listening ear and help you to learn some new coping skills to help you feel more confident and stay on track with your studies.

Don't go through this alone!

I think you are an inspiration for making your education a priority. But I also understand that you are feeling depressed, which can make it more difficult to concentrate. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself some encouragement, and a gentle push forward, but not so hard that you feel overwhelmed. Advocate for yourself. And reach out for support.

I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you're feeling.

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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giraffelover
giraffelover September 21 at 10:20 am   

Thank you for your encouragement…it's very helpful. I actually just started seeing a therapist and I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week to discuss my medication. I'm going to try to keep my head above water in the hopes that I'll soon be feeling better. I so appreciate you taking the time to respond!

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