Coping with Depression, Anxiety, & Burnout
Author: Dave Irwin - Student Blog Series
Okay, all cards on the table: I live with depression and anxiety. To those who know me best that’s not a revelation. But putting it out there for my social media peeps is scary. I’m revealing this because I know there are others, perhaps many others, who also silently deal with it, and I want you to know you’re not alone.
In general, depression and anxiety make a few things in life harder than they should be. They isolate you, make you doubt yourself, and very often deprive you of motivation to do the things you love and want to do.
The worst part is that it’s often invisible to others: while you’re struggling, their expectations of you don’t change. So, you appear flaky, inconsiderate, lazy, and unreliable. And believing you’re being judged by others feeds the cycle.
Everybody is different, and we face these challenges in different ways. I hope those of you who struggle as I do can find ways that work for you to cope and overcome. These may not be your solution, but here are some things that I’ve found work for me:
Get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep is a huge trigger for me. Sadly, I seem to have to relearn this one over and over again.
Have a close support system that knows and understands. My main point of support is my incredible wife. She understands and accepts that I struggle with this. It’s also extremely helpful to get pep talks from compassionate mentors who champion and cheer me on.
Take breaks from the things that are mentally exhausting. In my case, that’s coding. I often get so absorbed by a project that I will focus on it for hours or days, with very little downtime. Regular breaks, whether that’s stepping away for a few hours or a few days, are essential for me to avoid burnout.
Writing. For me, writing is cathartic. It allows me to work through what I’m feeling and put it into concrete thoughts, instead of leaving a muddle of confusing feelings rattling around in my brain.
There’s no easy solution to depression and anxiety. Without good care and awareness, they can and often do become crippling. To those who are working through this: keep going, keep pushing. You are stronger than you know. I salute you and I support you.
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