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How do you keep studying/working when depressed?


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I really must write my thesis (100p). But all I can feel is that I should not exist and am a terrible person and should die or SI. Which is NOT helpful to write, because I can't focus, I just feel exhausted by the fight against those feelings. I have the impression that they take all the space in me, and if I can fight them, I am just left too exhausted to go out of the bed (which I don't want to do because then it means I have to be alive and lame again, as long as I am in my bed I can hide from it, even just a little).

Any... tricks to improve my focus? *magic wand, lamps with genie included, anything... accepted*

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This is something I find really hard too. Setting aside half hour-hour a day to get some work done & then spending the rest of the day on looking after yourself/other commitments might be worth a shot, smaller chunks to deal with are less intimidating than a whole day of working.

Think about why you chose your thesis topic, what interests you about it and try to focus on that :)

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I take small breaks and naps when necessary, try not to put too much pressure on myself, make to-do lists, and reward myself with hot tea or coffee.  Sometimes a change of scenery helps, too.  I wish there was a magic way to make work easier when depressed, but baby steps are the only way I know how to push through.

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I always find a change in scenery helpful too. The library to read or write? The local yarn shop to knit that gift I've been putting off? A coffee house? The gym to exercise rather than that treadmill sitting in the basement?

If you can manage getting there then you will maybe feel compelled to do what it is you "should" be doing. Even breaking it into chunks like say stay there to work for a half hour. Then try an hour some other time.

If the bed is constantly calling you, then maybe a place without your bed there to tempt you would be easier to work at.

And god believe me I know it's not "that easy" when you feel so depressed. But even baby steps help.

I hope you feel better soon.

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I agree with Cheese; when I was really depressed, the only thing that worked for me was dragging my ass to the library and working there. I just could not do it in my apartment. I like everyone else's suggestions too.

 

One thing I found that worked for me, though it may not for you, was having someone hold me accountable. Like, if I had a project due the next day that I hadn't even started on, I would go to the library and ask someone (a friend, mom, whoever) to call me every 1-2 hours to make sure I was doing something. I have a tendency, when I'm depressed, to just say fuck it and let the whole thing go and take a failure or incomplete (which would explain my academic record), so having someone in real life holding me accountable made me feel more on task and less alone in the whole stress of it. 

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Writing when depressed is hard. I'm trying to write up my thesis now as well, as well as write essays for uni. I find that starting early in the day before I get too tired helps. I used to be able to pull all nighters and work in the evenings but now I get too tired. I also need to make sure I'm sleeping and eating as well as possible because otherwise my concentration is much worse.

 

I also find that small chunks helps (I know everyone says this!). I like to give myself a word target (250 words is what I'm using now, but a smaller or larger number might work better for you) and give myself a break or a reward (a cup of tea, some chocolate, a cute video on youtube). If I feel I'm on a roll I'll keep going, otherwise I'll take 15 minutes.

 

Even with lots of little breaks I can't work on the same thing continuously for more than one or two hours so I might do something like 1 or 2 half hour or 250 word chunks first thing in the morning, another couple after lunch and 1 or 2 in the late afternoon or early evening. My memory and concentration are both crappy so I make plans before I write (and tick off bits as I finish them) and make notes on coloured post its and stick them around me whenever I have a thought or an idea or remember something that might be useful. 

I'm also trying to write even if I think what I'm producing is not up to my usual standard. I can always rewrite my thesis and it's ok if I hand in essays that are less than brilliant. I've always been a bit of a perfectionist though, so this does not come easily to me! :)

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