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Face Depression With Care
Depression captures everyone and students are no exception.
Being 'down in the doldrums', is something most of us have experienced in our life. Doldrums are simply depressed feelings...lack of motivation, moodiness, low energy, feelings of despair, low self-worth, are all symptoms. They can happen to anyone, and students are especially prone to them around exam time and afterwards, as well as during the winter season.

Exam fear
Examinations usually bring along with them a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, and in parallel, meet the expectations of those hear and dear to you. Rohit Arora, a student of Class XII, acknowledges this fact when he says. "I had some personal problems, due to which I couldn't study properly. I know my preparation is not upto the mark this year. I do get depressed sometimes when I realise the amount I still have to cover."

Even afterwards, when the results come out, self-concepts get a beating if the result is less than expected. Shikha, student (17), faced severe depression when she got a less-than-expected result in her exams last year: "I felt as if I was worthless because I had worked so hard, but wasn't able to live upto the expectations of my parents. I had a bad case of the depression for about three months, and finally felt better only after going to a counselor."

Puberty is the most critical period when a child under-goes a lot of hormonal changes and is very prone to mood fluctuations and social withdrawal. Inability to understand the problem, coupled with immaturity, often can lead a student to suicide as well.

According to Anjali, a member of an NGO, "It's very important for parents to understand their children and not criticise them for not being up to the mark." Anjali cites the case of Parul, 18, who became suicidal after not scoring well enough to match her parents' expectations. "It is very tragic that parents don't give support to their children when they need it the most, instead burdening them with even more guilt and criticism," she continues. Rashmi Singh, a teacher for the last 15 years, opines, "Students are expected to excel in studies, music, games, art, dance, etc., even at the cost of their health. Depression is a common sight in students when they can't live upto expectations."

Weathering it
Researchers have identified a type of depression, which gets triggered in a particular weather. SAD or "seasonal affective disorder" is the name for this type of depression that follows the seasons. The most common type of SAD is known as winter depression. This usually starts in late fall or early winter and is gone by the summer months. A type of SAD, which is less common, known as summer depression, usually starts in late spring or early summer. It is gone by winter.

Psycholgist Dr. Vineeta Sharma confirms, "I find the number of patients increasing in the winter Months, and the dismal weather definitely is a factor for this." Some common symptoms of winter depression include the following:

a drop in the energy level
tendency to oversleep
difficulty in concentrating
increased sensitivity to social rejection
avoidance of social situations
a change in appetite (especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods)
weight gain
a heavy feeling in the arms or legs, etc.

Preeti Srivastava, a student of Class IX, notes, "I notice that, in the winters, I feel very low sometimes because it's too cold and dark to go out and enjoy I end up staying inside and don't socialize much during these days either. "Ether type of SAD could also include a few of the symptoms that are present in other forms of depression.
Posted on : 14/1/2006
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