The Struggle of Being a Student With Depression

During my sophomore year of high school, my depression was the worst it had ever been. After trying antidepressants only to have a horrible reaction to them, I was feeling pretty hopeless and feeling like this might never get better. I’d always been a straight-A student at the top of my class, but during this year I really changed. I began to ignore my homework at night, instead mindlessly watching TV and rushing to finish it all the next morning in homeroom. I stopped studying for tests 10 minutes in, resolving to just “wing it,” justifying it by saying it wasn’t something I did often. While that was true at the beginning of the year, by the end it was a common occurrence. Even the days I came straight home from school, I was so exhausted that even the thought of picking up a pen was too much.

I wondered, frankly, what was wrong with me. Everyone all around me was talking about how stressful school was becoming, how hard their classes were and how much work they were doing. I felt like a failure. I wasn’t exerting myself at all, and while I was still getting by with good grades, I felt immensely guilty for giving up on my academics.

It’s one thing to accept that you have depression; it’s another thing entirely to accept the effect it has on every aspect of your life. This is something I still struggle with, and probably will for a long time. School had always been the most important thing to me — I couldn’t understand why suddenly I couldn’t muster up the motivation to do well or apply myself. It was like I would just get into these dark moments of apathy and self-destructiveness where I’d say, “I don’t care about getting As! I’ll bomb this test, it doesn’t matter!” Then the next day, I’d be crying and stressing, wondering why I hadn’t studied more. It was a vicious cycle that always left me feeling like a disappointment.

But this is depression. It’s not something that my classmates will necessarily understand. It is not something even I fully understand yet. I am trying every day to push through these bad spells. It’s hard for me to accept the impact depression has on me, but I’m fighting to make peace with it every day. When I’m in one of those dark periods, I try to remind myself that the positive action I make for myself today, I’m really making for the future-me down the road. Depression changes my mindset so much that sometimes I truly believe I’m not worth the time and effort it takes to succeed and achieve my dreams. It’s hard to ride out these feelings, but I know there will be a version of me one day who is thankful to the girl I am today for sticking it out.

I am not a failure. I am not lazy or a slacker. I am doing my best with the challenges I am faced with, the cards I have been dealt.

To be a person with depression is hard; to be a student with depression feels impossible. But I am more than my grades and I am more than my depression. While I don’t fully believe that today, someday it will ring true.

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Thinkstock photo via AntonioGuillem

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