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Technique for Studying During Depression

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. 

Read the rest of Aussie's blogs here.

Comments

Are you taking medication? If you are, you shouldn't be going through these ups and down. I know. I live with this too. Don't you know that leaving this disorder untreated it can get worse as you get older???

Hi, Liz! Thanks for your response to the blog. I am currently on medication and seeing a therapist as well. With that being said, I still experience highs and lows from time to time. I speak from my past experiences as well and what helped me during those times so others can benefit. I hope this answers your question and concern.
Thanks again.

I'm compliant to all my medications yet sometimes I do fall back into mood extremes. It's worth noting that it isn't as bad as before I was on medications. Different people reacts differently.

Even on medication stresses can bring on symptoms...there is no cure all.

Hi liz,please tell me how do u meditate. Im in so much pain. My exams are near n i cant learn or study or even focus.

Hi Belal, here are a couples of links with some helpful tips on meditation:

If you have a smartphone, there are some meditation apps that guide you through it. Some popular meditation apps are Headspace and Pacifica. 

Thank you for your story

I appreciate your kindness, Barbara!

That's exactly what I do for study! I didn't know it had a name!

Dot, it seems like there are people who tend to do this naturally and didn't even realize they were doing a technique! Super neat! Thanks for your feedback, I am glad that it works for you too!

THANK YOU FOR THIS! I am having a lot of difficulty studying with my bi polar. I can totally relate to this entire article. I will definitely be trying the study technique!

I always start quickly at an assignment and note down preliminary thoughts . Cause either yes, shortly thereafter I get a depression as I am Rapid cycling or i just feel that I am not Clever enough. I am doing further education i mental health care at university college. I often get good grades and it is a world warvto get through every semester - but I push and I shove and I get through. I am BP ll without medication.I strongly believe in working with my own resourses the weak ones an the excellent ones! Hang in there every one we shal survive

I was the kind of kid who, once an assignment was given, would go home and do it right away in case later on, a depression would hit and I would be unable to. This became harder in college because assignments involved a longer amount of time, research, longer papers, etc. Did you name it "Pomodoro?" Allison

Thank you for sharing.

Thanks so much for this, I'm not doing so well right now (low mood) and this post has been so helpful. It's great to be able to allow myself to take breaks and not get overwhelmed and feel like a failure!

Thank you so much

hey ! i'm a med-student and i am passing through the worst of days. i don't know how to combat this and concentrate on my studies. i really have exam after one day and all i am doing is searching for help online and crying in washroom

I'm little motivated by reading your post ,seeing people struggling like me n still not giving up. Currently I'm going through so much inside me...I'm peckish,lousy,feel trifled,constantly sad,hopeless n insecure in a great extent. I confine myself under these four walls of my room isolating because everything is so depressive and depressing. Even simplest things like getting out of bed ,eating n studying seems very tiring. I don't know How I'll be going to appear my upcoming sessional test . But I reckon by reading your post that doing things that way to boost up your energy is hard but not impossible. THANKYOU

I can not studying,when I am going to study then my mind diverse to play game clash of clan. I try so much to study but i fail. I thinks that I should delete game but then also mind think that play game. Please tell what I should do to study?

Go coogs! I just got accepted last week its nice to know a fellow coog who are going through the same thing I am. I wish we could be friends!

Hello, I was wondering, how did seeing a therapist work for you? Was it helpful? What did you do, if you do not mind me asking such a personal question? I currently have depression and am struggling to get the help I need, and people are discouraging me to seek one. I don't know what's the best plan of action, but I feel that if i don't talk it out it won't get any better.

You have to go and see therapist. there is no cure of clinical depression without medications. It may take weeks, months or years to be treated with medication if you are clinically depressed.

N_shaikh, experienced clinical psychologists are often much helpful than medication, as they typically identify things in a person's inner and outer environment that when modified can help tremendously. Medication can be of use, but it is not the only thing that works. I don't know what you have been through, and you may have actually tried this and found that only medication works. But for everyone else, it differs so please try to explore as many options as you can :)

I've been in depression from the past 3 years now. I cant concentrate on my studies. My academics gets affected due to this and i end up failing.

I pray you get better as all I can say is, high five, join the club. x

i am sorry that you are going through this.i am also glad that you found a way to study during those tough periods of time. my depression started when i was 11. this was mainly due to physical abuse(both sexual and non sexual). the thing is i lost my will to live. i just want all this to stop for good. im still in high school. wasted one year bcoz of a nervous breakdown. i want to get out of my house and be independent. but that can be accomplished by dying too. my parents arent supportive at all. i was seeing a psychiatrist but every1 in my famly thinks that its a sheer waste of money. i stopped taking medication bcoz it made me feel too sleepy and made me sleep throughout the whole day. i dont know what to do. plz help me

Talk to your psychiatrist about how your meds make you sleepy. Some meds can have such side effects on certain ppl so you may want to consider switching what you're taking. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. But keep seeing a therapist, even if your parents don't agree. I've had depression and anxiety for 12 years now and only got help 4 years ago and it has improved my life like I never imagined it could. I still struggle everyday and suicide is always a thought in my mind but talking about day-to-day problems with my therapists makes daily life a little easier and bearable. So, to recap, keep seeking professional support, if your family is against it, don't tell them. I also have a unsupportive family and the way to get around that is to give them as little information as possible to avoid their judgement. Also, if you have a friend to talk to, talk to them as much as you feel comfortable. Good luck!

I have had depression for five years now. I hardly concentrated on my study or anything. Sometimes I wish I just died so my family would not be ashamed of having me as a member. I think I got it after having meningitis and family problem. But now thing is better, and I still can't get better.

I have a month to prepare for my finals (mbbs 2nd year ) and I am in same condition like yours and I am afraid if it will get worst. if i do not pass i will lose a year. any tips ?? pls !

It is just weird to see other people are going through what I am. I feel so alone everyday. Like not 1 person could ever possibly understand how I feel every single day.... but that isn't true I guess. I just hope I make it through this last semester at college. I have already failed so much and had to repeat a couple classes because I just can't get it together with my depression. Nobody in my everyday life understands. I have tried to tell friends, my parents, a social worker... nobody gets it. I might as well be a plastic bag floating in the wind. I sure the hell feel like it.

I wonder what would lift this feeling. Change my job? My job is really getting me down. I'm in a town where there are limited jobs. I have to try and act happy to get another job. I wish I could quit and focus on my studies but right now I pay the mortgage. Sigh.

Thank you. This is very helpful.

hi i m dealing with sever depression and on meedication my last semester exams are approaching and still don't know how to focus and concentrate on my subjects . every moring i woke and have to prepare myself for the day ahead , i prepare schedule for my day too but all go in vain when this sadness starts to occupy my mind
i need to scores good but really don't have an idea how to get started please help

I don't take medications coz we are financially weak.
I have chronic depression and OCDs

Hi everyone,
I thought I was the only one going through this

I've been severely depressed for about two years now and this method hasn't helped me much because my main problem is with actually sitting myself down for studying. I could use this exact method for my first term finals by pretending I was still in the classroom and we were given some time to prepare for an exam but now my thoughts are too "all over the place" to be able to do that.
Still thank you and is there any more methods that might help?

medication does not help us to come out from this disorder everytime,butmore we r trying more we fall on the same dug,hope ur technique vl help,n itz more painful when our nears n dears make fun of u

Well ..very less time is left in my exams about a month and half...my problm is i study well for 3 to 4 days....then followd by about same priod when cant Study well

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