Tips to Help Shrink the Impact of School on Depression
The luckiest people are those who can stroll into a classroom and receive a boost to their mood. For them, the school setting is their opportunity to shine and display all of the social, academic and physical skills they have to offer.
For others, schools represent places of anxiety, fear, worry, intimidation and stress. Given enough time and influence, that stress transforms into depression.
Experiencing depression in school is a common experience people feel from kindergarten all the way through graduate school. If school-related depression is affecting your life, consider these healthy coping skills to gain control of your mood and your education.
Identify the Problem
Different types of people experience different feelings in the school setting, but they may not understand what they are experiencing. So many mental health issues share overlapping features, that it can be challenging to know (and understand) the challenge you are facing.
Depression is a psychological condition that people sometimes misunderstand. To have a depressive disorder, a person must display symptoms like:
- A low or irritable mood most days
- Low motivation
- Low energy levels
- Lack of interest or pleasure in activities that were once appealing
- Weight loss or failure to gain weight without trying
- Changes to sleep routine
- Feelings of extreme worthlessness and guilt
- Feeling or appearing very slowed down or sped up
- Having recurrent thoughts of death or dying
Having five or more symptoms is a good indicator of a depressive issue, and seeking professional treatment is the best way to combat the problem. People with fewer symptoms could consider using other skills to improve their situation.
Identify the Source of Your School Depression
Now that you have a better understanding of your depression and its intensity, you should work to identify the source. Where is your depression coming from, and what about school triggers it?
Possible school-related triggers of depression include:
- The stress and failures of tests, homework and grades
- The social pressures of making and maintaining friends
- Seeing or having contact with a former romantic interest Consistent teasing or bullying
- The pressures of school athletic performance and expectation
- The interference with a preferred sleep or activity schedule
These options are only the tip of the iceberg. If you simply say, “school makes me depressed because it sucks”, you’re missing a great opportunity to learn more about the problem and yourself. Deciding to dig deeper can help you better understand and resolve the depression.
Tell Someone About It
Once you have a solid grasp on the source of your depression, begin working on your communication skills. Whatever plans you make to improve your depression are going to need a foundation of assertive communication to become effective.
Let people know how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. Along the way, start asking for ideas about ways to improve the problem.
Avoid Negative Coping Skills
The action you take to address the school-related depression can make the symptoms much better or much worse. In the beginning, negative coping skills will seem ideal because they offer quick fixes to long-term problems.
Negative coping skills for school include:
- Skipping school
- Being angry, defiant or mean to others
- Isolating yourself
- Dropping out
- Using an online or alternative school
Yes. These options may appear to make the situation better, but in reality, they only compound the school depression. When making decisions, focus on what is in your best interests now and also in the future.
Seek Out Positive Coping Skills for Your School Depression
Positive copings skills are tricky; they are not easy, but they are best. For school-related depression, you must use a coping skill that directly addresses the cause of your depression.
If your school depression is related to:
- Academics: find ways to get extra assistance from teachers you trust.
- Athletics: talk to your coaches or parents about the pressures that sports put on your mood.
- Social problems: gather supportive people in your life to brainstorm ways to address and challenge the source of the depression.
- Scheduling issues: remind yourself that the sacrifice of getting up early will be worth the frustration in the end.
When confronted with a daunting institution like school, it can feel like a losing battle. At times, giving up will seem like the only option. Decide to be different though. Don’t let school or school-related depression stand in the way of accomplishing the life you want.
Push yourself to do what’s hard. Push yourself to keep trying. Push yourself to never give up. With hard work, creativity and perseverance, you can defeat your depression.
Find Professionals to Help With Your School-Related Depression
Sometimes, getting the motivation and resiliency to face school-related depression seems impossible. If you find yourself feeling more hopeless or defeated, get in contact with a mental health professional. A counselor, therapist or psychiatrist can offer helpful solutions to address and alleviate the depression. Even better, they may recommend additional techniques and interventions to make school a more positive environment for you.