Studying is one of the most important times of your life, and almost always one that will impact the rest of your life the most. Therefore, most of us heavily prioritize and try to give it our all. Unfortunately, if you’re one of the 8.3% of adults who struggle with debilitating depression and depressive episodes or one of the 22.8% of adults qualifying for a mental illness diagnosis, that approach will often leave you feeling more burned out, depressed, and unable to keep going.
Millions of Americans struggle with depression. It’s important to acknowledge that depression is a normal part of life for many people. Treating it as an illness and taking steps to care for yourself, get extra support, and ensure you’re prepared to manage your depression alongside studying instead of just ignoring it, will help you get through college.
Navigating depression is difficult, even if you don’t have any other goals. However, these steps will help you to do so by taking care of your own mental health.
It’s always a good idea to take time to discuss your mental health and your goals with your doctor. Setting reasonable expectations, check-in points, and understanding your limitations is important. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have a diagnosis, so you can work with your college to ensure that you get the care and support you need.
Talking to your doctor may result in:
The right solutions for you will always depend on your mental health and where you are right now.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important ways to navigate depression. If you’re also relying on yourself to be up for studying, exams, etc., you’ll have to ensure you have the physical and mental energy for them.
College is difficult, so trying to plan to minimize extra workload as much as possible can help a great deal. That’s especially true if you’re struggling with depression, which might make getting out of bed difficult, sticking to routines difficult, etc.
College can be an incredibly lonely period for many of us. Depending on where you go, it may feel that you either have to join parties and stay up late to engage with others, engage in constant competition, or be alone. That isn’t true. Most universities and colleges have dozens of clubs and social opportunities designed to help students make friends. Talking to the people in your classes and starting initiatives to pair up and help each other study can also be extremely useful.
But, chances are, you will miss friends and family. Make use of video calling and calling to stay in touch, continue talking with those friends and family, and try to keep having fun with them. It will reduce how much you feel alone.
It’s important that you prioritize college and try to finish it on-schedule for your degree and that you do your best to get a good grade. However, it’s also important that you take care of yourself and understand your own limitations. Doing so may mean taking breaks from college to attend mental health treatment. It may also mean slowing your graduation trajectory, so that you have less pressure and fewer daily tasks. It may also mean something like dropping a course. Understanding that you have an illness and using that as a guideline to manage your limits, so you don’t overextend, will help you to get through college so you can actually graduate. And, that’s a lot more important than graduating when or how you expect to.
There are many resources built into universities and colleges specifically designed to offer college students the mental health help they need. That can mean counseling, therapy, courses, and even live-in support specialists who can help ensure you have the routines and rituals you need to succeed. It’s also often an idea to take summer breaks to go to mental health treatment, to go to outpatient therapy when in university, and to spend time actively working on your mental health. Even if you don’t need mental health treatment to keep you going, preventive care can do a lot towards ensuring you make it through college.
College is an important part of your life. However, balancing the stress and pressure of formal learning with depression can be difficult. It’s important that you take steps to ensure you have the help and support you need, to build the structure that makes depression as manageable as possible, and to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
Solace Treatment Center provides modern and effective outpatient substance abuse treatment and outpatient mental health treatment to those looking for the next step in their recovery. Our staff of seasoned and trained professionals are here to help you or your loved one grow into their new sober way of life.