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How do you deal with depression?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by gobbler, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. gobbler

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    This semester was kind of rough for me due to the heavy workload. I didn't get to hang out with my friends much (except earlier in the semester) and after a while, I stopped going to some of my classes to save time.

    As a result, I was pretty much in isolation most of the time. There were times where I go on for 2 or 3 days without talking to a human being.

    As a result, I noticed I was developing some depression problems. So, just out of curiosity, how do you guys normally deal with it?

    I know I probably should hang out with my friends more but that "happy" effect is temporary and won't do much in the long run.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. Retsage

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    First, don't self-diagnose.

    If you believe it is true clinical depression, then see a psychiatrist. Your school probably has one on staff that can talk to you. If, on the other hand, you're unsure, you may just be in a rut. You've had a stressful few months, you need some time to unwind. Spend a few days doing things you love and see if it makes you feel better. If it doesn't, again, consult a psychiatrist.
     
  4. fastnfurious

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    My advice: go out and have some fun! I honestly feel like I do better studying when I'm happy, so going out time to time is actually beneficial. Even though school is hard work, you should still find sometime to do things YOU want to do
     
  5. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    A book that greatly helped me is Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman.

    Utilizing the schools counseling center is also beneficial however I would recommend seeing one of the on-staff clinical psychologists as they would know better than anyone how to effectively help you.
     
  6. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    see a clinical psychologist, especially if they come with recommendations. All a psychiatrist is going to do is give you Prozac or Paxil then send you on your way. The good ones will refer to you someone for talk therapy.
     
  7. UNMorBUST

    UNMorBUST Mystery Man
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    Go seek help from a health professional. We can give you advice until we are blue in the face. But we are all different and deal with emotion diffrently. So take anything here with a grain of salt.
     
  8. enjoydrywax

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    OP, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE listen to fastnfurious. Being positive and happy with your life will pay itself back in dividends: better grades, more fulfilling relationships, a sense of satisfaction at a life well-lived. Trust me, holing yourself up in the dungeons of your library in order to pull off A's in more classes than you can handle in one semester isn't smart. Ease off on your workload and maybe handle college in five years (if it's not cost prohibitive). Nothing in life is worth giving up your happiness, and med schools won't give a flying **** if you ease up on your workload. Honestly, what would you think they rather see? slightly easier workload and a host of As, or a super rigorous course history riddled with Bs and even a few Cs? Take it easy (literally) and good luck buddy.
     
  9. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    This is a good point. Think about it like this... why do you always choose studying over recreation and hanging out with friends? Does studying and worrying about getting into med school make you happy? Its important to be happy but don't have the rat-racer mentality where you're always foregoing happiness now because you think getting into med school is going to make you anything more than transitively happy later on.
     
  10. Pianoman32

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    #9 Pianoman32, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  11. rkaz

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    I was in this boat about 6-7 years ago during my undergrad years. I remember one year I took 22/23 units per semester (mostly upper level science courses-like biochem, physiology, genetics, molecular biology etc), while working 30 hours per week, and participating in a bunch of clubs. I thought I could juggle things. Well, maybe I could have... except that my grandfather died mid-semester, and two days after my grandfather's death I found out that my significant other left me for another woman. (This was shortly after the 9/11 attacks, which was already a stressful time to begin with.) Let's just say that at that point, everything I was juggling hit the floor with a crash... I fell into a dark depression, and started having panic attacks. There were times when I didn't leave my apartment for several days, and spent most of the time in bed. One night after organic chemisty class, I walked into the bathroom, and collapsed on the floor... I was not well, but I keep pushing myself regardless.

    I still managed to do quite well that year overall, with a 3.0 during the first term and a 3.8 the next. However, I got my first C's in college, in ochem and genetics. But the depression was wiping the life out of me... I was very emotionally drained, and completely became isolated from everyone else. I was still nice and friendly as usual, but I was in a lot of pain.

    Looking back at that dark time in my life, if I could do things differently I certainly would have lightened up on my course load. There was no reason to be taking so many courses. I really needed to cut myself some slack.

    For med school as well, it would have certainly benefited me to have taken less classes and gotten A grades, rather than taking 22/23 units and getting C's. That year took a hard knock on my science GPA, from which I still haven't recovered. Now, seven years later, I am applying to med school... and my science GPA is still low. I still have a great chance of getting into DO programs (which is just fine, as I am very interested in osteopathic philosophy and holistic medicine), but it would be nice to have more options.

    So for both your personal health (which is of foremost importance) as well as your future medical career, take some time to cut back on classes (if you can). If you can take a semester medical leave, or a semester of easy classes, I recommend that. Also, taking time off may not be good enough by itself. It may be wise to combine an easier schedule with other things to benefit you... such as by going to your schools mental health center (you can be screened for depression there). If you do indeed have depression, you may be referred to a psychologist (for talk/behavioral therapy) or a psychiatrist for meds. For me personally, I only took meds for a short time, but had to stop taking them due to side effects. So it forced me to have to deal with things differently... such as by eating a healthier diet (I got into raw foods, veganism, etc, which helped significantly), spending more time with exercise, taking supplements (like omega 3, amino acids, etc). You'll have to play around with things to see what works for you. Maybe making a conscious effort to spend more time with friends and family will help too... assuming these people are supportive, and not negative.

    Please take care of yourself. None of this is worth anything if you don't feel good. Going through med school is supposed to be a hard enough experience in itself (and many people get depressed AFTER starting med school), so you want to be as healthy as you can before starting. Please make sure you feel really good again... just getting by in your classes while feeling somewhat lousy isn't good enough.
     
    #10 rkaz, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  12. gobbler

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    Hey, thanks for all the good advices.

    I forget to mention two important things.

    1) For some reason, I can't seem to be happy doing things I enjoy. I used to play video games in high school. I thought I was enjoying myself, but I wasn't. I was merely wasting time away, hoping that whatever I was going though would go away. However, I feel really good when I can help someone. There was this rush when someone thank you for something you did. I can't get enough of it so I do it excessively. This cause some problems. When I doing something nice for someone the first couple times, they feel really warm and fuzzy. However, when I do it too many times, it comes to a point when the other person feels kind of weird and sort of backs up. Then I don't my feel good rush and I get sort of depressed. Is like a crack addict, except I am not addicted to a substance.

    2) I talked to my school couseling service before. They listened to my problems but said I was kind of normal. They said I should just go and join clubs, you know, spend time outside schoolwork. Thing is, I kind of like what I learn. Is interesting, more I learn, bigger the picture gets and everything connnects and science just seems so logical and amazing. I can't seem to enjoy anything else. I tried during the summer to get outside and do some stuff. Didn't really work, I get bored fast. I think I forced myself to do some of them just so that I don't seem so out of this world when talking to my peers. Yeah I know, that seems a bit nerdy. However, I really think it has to do with the fact that when I was little, I always get locked inside the house and therefore have nothing to do but read. I get sort of into whatever I was reading and spent less time with other kids.
     
  13. fish89

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    Faith and prayer have gotten me through EVERY struggle I've ever had, without fail.
     
  14. 229141

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    At this point in the game, I've accepted that there will be times in my life where I have to buckle down and bust my ass to make it to med school. I really don't go out and party a lot...in fact a lot of my friday nights were spent in the library or the gym this semester. It got depressing at times but you have to realize that this thing takes sacrifice...and thats part of the reason I love it honestly. Now its break and I'm still really busy with research and mcat prep...but at 8 pm every night I put everything down and go out with my friends, trying my best to balance things out. We all need a break once in a while- but it sounds like you just didn't have time for one during the semester. Embrace those difficult times and take it on as a challenge, rather than dwell on the loneliness and let it get you depressed.

    If you still feel like this is depression, you might want to talk to a counselor or someone like that. There is no shame in doing that and it could help you..
     
  15. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    This is key, in my opinion. Getting help is a great first step and there shouldn't be and hesitation or shame about it.
     
  16. RSAgator

    RSAgator Junior Member
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    I think you need to reassess your priorities, and that happiness should fall somewhere high on that list of them. You need to strike a balance between school work and life. If you misjudged that balance this semester, then don't make the same mistake next one. The semester's over now, so if the prime reason for you feeling "depressed" this past semester was because you had no time to do things that made you happy, then make time for those kinds of things next semester.
     
  17. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Try to rationalize away your fears and problems. I mean, why are you depressed? What is causing these feelings? Are you sure it's just from lack of human interaction? If so that's easy to solve. Just hang out w/your friends. Of course certain things like school work might preclude you from doing that, but then it's more an issue of time management. And if you truly ARE just swamped? Well maybe you should consider dropping a few things. If not, then you must think to yourself, is it worth it? Is it worth this sacrifice that I have to suffer and be without my friends? If the answer is yes, grit your teeth and push through. If the answer is no, take a breather, and do something else.

    And so on.

    Take your problems step by step and sometimes, yes it will feel overwhelming, but just take a deep breath, get a sheet of paper, and start working out a solution. If something truly IS too big to handle on your own, talk to your parents, or another adult professional who you can depend on. Talking to your peers or unqualified people (aka people who don't care) can make the situation worse and leave you more depressed than before. Good luck.

    One more thing, the important thing to realize here is that you always have a CHOICE. You do not HAVE TO BE sad. You do not HAVE TO BE depressed. These are emotions that are produced as a result of some event(s) or experiences and most importantly, CHOICES you have made. So remember you have the choice to change. :thumbup:
     
  18. rkaz

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    You've listed a lot of great things in your post, and I appreciate what you've written. The only thing I would mention, however, is that being depressed may be a choice in the early stages (which it seems like what the OP is dealing with) - but in the later stages, it is not so much a choice. Early on, one may be able to 'snap out' of his/her depression by spending more time with friends, reading inspiring books, etc. However, if someone has battled with this for a long time and/or if the condition is severe enough, it may require medical intervention, as the person is too far gone to just 'snap out' of it. When one has been depressed for enough time, the brain chemistry actually changes, and getting out of depression requires a very integrated approach.

    However, luckily, the OP seems to be pretty early in the stage of things, so I think the lifestyle changes that yourself and many of us have mentioned could really help. I think it's really important to implement some of the positive suggestions mentioned here, as it would be very helpful to tackle this in its early stages before things become worse later on.
     
  19. Lukkie

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    video games or the gym
     
  20. SiR99

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    I'v taken a few classes that claimed that depression goes away with lack of sleep, also it eventually goes away by itself.

    I think going to class, and OH helps because you talk to people in a similar situation as you and also get some social interactions.

    I think you shouldnt self diagnose,

    Everyone in the world has times when they are just sad or things seem like they arent going that great, just ride it through and if you feel like things are getting worse after a few months, then you should seek help.
     
  21. Chemdude

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    I eat and make love to myself.
     
  22. erskine

    erskine hit it, H
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    1) Music always helps me get through tough **** since it has that personal feeling to it and bridges the gap that talking can't.

    2) I try to put everything in perspective, usually by watching the news. Yeah, i might feel down b/c my TA is being a dick or my test score sucked, but after watching a clip of a man in Iraq digging his son's body out of the ruins of their home, I realize that my troubles are insignificant to a lot of people's and that sometimes you just have to suck it up and weather the storm.

    3) Why don't you go and join a bunch of community service groups? You said you like to volunteer, so what's the problem? Lots of social interaction helping others, and it'll definitely help the way you perceive yourself.
     
  23. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    or hanging out with the fox in your avitar..

    "hanging out"
     
  24. INTPThinker

    INTPThinker MCAT Goal:39
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    This post sounds a lot like my situation. Back when I was really depressed over my grades, my last thought was to contact professional help or my parents. I just kept pushing and pushing and I cracked. I eventually sought help after I stopped taking my premed classes for another reason. But yes, I had no idea how to handle those feelings and frustration when I was 18/19 years old. Looking back, I can totally see that I should have just changed things up a lot but it probably would not have happened in reality. I was 'in my head' that I would not have figured it out....
     
  25. datdood

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    what i do:hungover:on't smoke, don't drink, make ur ego smaller. make everything less about you. i pray
     
  26. 229141

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    I was thinking about this some more tonight....

    A lot of people are dead on when they ask you WHY exactly you are depressed. I was swamped this semester and didn't get to have that much fun...but I don't find studying to be that bad and I do really enjoy and have fun learning about the stuff in my classes. If you hate things to the point where they are making you depressed, you must seriously consider why you are doing this. Will you be depressed during med school, residency, every day you go to work? I would not want to see you be saddened every day you go to work man...no one wants that.

    And this could just be a phase as well- do not just give up. Take time to think about it over break, and who knows you may come back even stronger by getting through this. All I am saying is open your mind to the possibility that you no longer enjoy what you are doing- and if this is the case search for that something in life you are passionate about and pursue it. Best wishes
     
  27. Food

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    It's tough. I was depressed for this one week about a month ago. I think it was a combination of not hearing anything from med schools, being bored with classes, and being bored with my routine of playing CS or Starcraft after school, and then going to the gym every other day.

    So I ditched the games and began building a Halo master chief costume. It gave me something to do for a few hours a day and I joined an entire community online devoted to this sort of thing. It was cool. I still don't know why I was depressed.

    We are all depressed...most of us are too busy to realize it. Then you stop what you're doing and you realize that you've been depressed for most of the time you've been in school.
     
  28. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017
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    Don't get me wrong, I am all for "going out and doing the things you love," but it's virtually impossible to enjoy anything to the fullest when you're depressed.

    Get help. Reach out. Professional counsel is always the best, but even if it's just a close friend or family member, you're doing the right thing.


    Once you've begun tackling the problem from the core, then you can start doing the little things that improve your day-to-day life:

    Personally, I exercise, play video games, draw/write (something that involves creativity or art), and basically just GET MY MIND OFF SCHOOL!


    Good luck, stay strong! :thumbup:;)
     
  29. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017
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    You are my new idol.
     

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