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Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

Hi everyone!


I'm currently attempting to study for an English, Math and Science exam. This week I was told I'm in crisis, my Mum is going into a 7 hour long surgery, had ambulances threatened on me because I wasn't being safe and all sorts of messy and scary stuff. I can assure you though I am safe now though and am in regular contact with KHL, moved up urgency list at Headspace and my speaking with school counsellor daily Smiley Happy


My point is, I'm very low and depressed but school is keeping me going because I want to finish it so its very important to me, really just the one goal in life I have left at the moment. I'm running low on motivation and can't keep focus. I've lost all hope for my math exam and am preparing myself for failure. I mean it is algebra and I have failed it before so wouldn't be surprised if I did again.


I've been looking into things to help me when studying, going back on some previous threads. I've tried things like incremental studying but they aren't working for me. I've found distractions around me aren't the problem, its my mind. Instead of studying, I just get upset and angry at myself for not understanding things, being anxious to hand the paper in/sit the test and for not being as smart as I used to prior to mental illness. Instead, I waste my effort and focus on beating myself up.


How do you people find that little bit of motivation to keep you focused on what you should be studying/doing? How do you focus on the task at hand instead of what's going on in your mind?


Re: Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

Hi @IsabellasRecovery 
Thank you for posting.
I'm really glad to hear that you are safe and it sounds like you've been very good at making sure you are safe and talking to your school counsellor and KHL.
School can be so tough sometimes. It's really great to hear that school is so important to you though!
I know that when a subject is tough I start to become overwhelmed and can feel myself 'sliding backwards'. Some things that helped me during these times:
-Watched youtube videos on the subject for example Algebra or science. Sometimes watching different people explain it or seeing them demonstrate it can make it so much clearer.
-I got a tutor. Would getting a tutor be a possibility for you? It can help to get that support.
-Talking to my teacher. Teachers are there to support you and they understand the things they teach can sometimes be really difficult. They can try to teach you in different ways or explain it better.

Would any of these little things be applicable to you?
Please keep us updated and please know that you are definitely not alone.
You are being brave and strong Heart


Re: Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

hey @isabellasrecovery Sorry to hear you went through a tough time but the steps you are taking to get back on track are phenomenal! It takes a lot sometimes to take care of yourself and reach out to support so I really want you to know how awesome it is that you are doing this! Heart. It is also amazing that despite everything you are still motivated by school goals and determined to finish, it really shows how resilient you are. 


@missep has offered some great tips! Personally for me I find it best to change up my study method rather than just sitting at my desk or in the library reading textbooks. I definitely think youtube would be a great option to try and change up your study method if it helps :smiley: 


Here are my best tips:

  • I really like to make palm cards that I can use sporadically throughout the day so even if I do get distracted when I'm at home, I can whip them out on the bus or on my lunch break to go through a few. 
  • A study plan - breaking down what you need to focus on and allocating time to each task. It can be super helpful to give yourself more time on things you are struggling with and it makes you feel super accomplished to tick things off each day when you have completed the allotted work or task. 
  • In terms of my study environment, sometimes I will go out side to study - whether its on my balcony or to my local park during the day with a big ol' picnic blanket and find that the fresh air and sun can really keep me quiet focused. 


You said that your mind is generally racing when you're trying to study, perhaps you could try to implement some self-care before or after you study to get you in the right head space? 

Meditating or listening to an empowering podcast can be a great way to clear your head and help you get in the zone! 


Remember not to be so hard on yourself Heart. With everything that is going on you are doing an incredible job. Things change in our life that can disrupt our norm or expectations of ourselves but we can adapt to suit what is going on in our lives and this can take some time too. 


Hope this helps a bit xx


Re: Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

thank you so much @lennycat2017 and @missep appreciate your kind words of support. I might give palm cards a bit of a go. I would do them in big chunks for hours at a time during exam season before developing mental illness and found it worked quite well. I’ve had a tutor and the past but found it hasn’t been very helpful for me because I feel so anxious and don’t actually focus on the task at hand. Kinda frustrating I’m not finding things that used to be helpful for me now any good after all these changes going on in my life but I suppose i need to change up my study technique as well. Again, thank you Smiley Happy


Re: Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

Hi @IsabellasRecovery sorry for the delayed response! 


I'm happy to hear you will give palm cards another try! I find I learn a heap even by writing them out at first and it makes study a little less painful. Let me know how you go with this Smiley Happy 


Tutors can be daunting sometimes, I have a tutor and sometimes it makes me nervous that they think I'm really dumb. It's good to remind yourself that it is their job though but I completely understand how this makes you feel. 


Do you have any friends studying for the same exams? Perhaps you could try a study group because you can help each other along the way/ know you're all in the same boat. 


Talk soon Smiley Happy



Re: Study tips for anxiety and depression and a big ol' vent

Hi @IsabellasRecovery ,


Adding on to what the others have said, I think self-care here is so so important. It sounds like you are dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and the stress and anxiety and self-doubt with your exams and life in general is absolutely understandable. I am sorry to hear how tough it has been for you. I think you are doing an incredible job by reaching out. So kudos to you!!


Finding motivation can be difficult. I think it is important to remember to give yourself some allowances for failure as well as success. In the face of what you are going through, placing high expectations on your grades and studies can be too much! Yourself, your mindset and your health are much more important. Your willingness to study and do well shows me how much you care about school and that you want to do well. This is amazing!! I found myself in a very similar situation a while ago and my counselors from KHL and headspace and school really made a difference. It sounds like yours are helping too? 


A motivation strategy that might be useful to you could be this:

Allow time in the day for self-care before any study. Do something you enjoy and reward yourself for all your hard efforts. You are doing amazing. Remind yourself that you know what, life has thrown me lemons and I am doing the best damn job there is! If the situation wasn't happening to you, then perhaps you would be an A plus student. But in truth it really doesn't matter. Keep your expectations realistic and be proud of your achievements, however small they may seem. For example - if you pull out all your notes to study - be proud!! And reward yourself. You are trying and that is what counts!


I think another strategy that might be useful for motivation is to focus on the aspects of the topics that you like the most in your subjects. Practice those and the ones you are already good at. Seeing yourself do well can be great to boost your self- esteem for when it comes to the trickier stuff. As for the trickier stuff, definitely have a chat with either your direct subject teacher or another teacher in the same year level. I remember when i was in year 12 i didn't learn anything from my math teacher and i had to get help from the other math teacher of the year level. Sometimes it really is just someone else explaining something that helps things click!


I am so proud of you @IsabellasRecovery !! Please let me know if this stuff is useful. How are you going today? I look forward to hearing back Smiley Happy