When there is a big storm that will knock out your power you prepare for it, right? Typically, you keep water, a flashlight, and some food that doesn’t require cooking because you might lose all power.
To some extent, it’s the same when preparing for a low swing/depression part of bipolar disorder. We tend to procrastinate preparing for depression because we don’t think we are going to go back to that state of being or don’t want to fall into being depressed through preparing. The thing is, being prepared for a low-swing can save you some serious heart ache later down the road.
If you’ve seen my blog bio, you know that I am going to the University of Houston. I still have highs and lows that happen as a college student. The stress of exams, assignments, grades, social life (or lack thereof), etc. are all enough to potentially trigger an episode of mania or push me into a low state of depression. The best thing we can do, is to have a back-up plan in order. It’s really easy to completely undo all of the hard work we put in because of something out of our control.
For me, low-swings have been a complete academic killer. They have taken months of dedication and work and thrown it all away. An example of this would be attending every class on time but when a low swing hits, I can’t really make it out of bed. Or if I do, I do not look clean or “all the way there”. It’s also extremely difficult and feels nearly impossible to study and not let our grades fall apart. So, how can we prevent that from happening? We want to maintain our grades and not let depression destroy the effort we’ve been giving.
I have learned a couple of study techniques that I have been trying for a few months now and they do work for me when I am going through the depression side of bipolar. My favorite study technique for depression is the Pomodoro Technique. This is super helpful because it paces you through your assignments so you don’t feel as overwhelmed. It also allows you to take scheduled breaks. This is really helpful when you are depressed. Our focus tends to wander and our energy is almost non-existent. This has helped me keep up my grades when depressed.
Steps for Pomodoro Technique:
- Choose one assignment to work on
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- For 25 minutes give 100% attention to the assignment (no cell phones or outside distractions)
- After the timer goes off, take a 15-minute break! (you can do as you please for 15 minutes)
- When the 15 minutes is up, set another 25-minute timer.
- Continue until assignment is finished to desired amount.
It can be really difficult to look at all of your assignments and deadlines while battling depression. Just remember to reach out to someone if you feel like you’re overwhelmed to the point of hopelessness. I can say that this study technique helped me keep afloat in school until I resumed my stability and was able to focus again. It is possible to make awesome grades with bipolar disorder.
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