Seren has had support from those around her to deal with her depression and anxiety, but feels that people will soon get fed up of her problems and is looking for advice from someone different. She contacted us for help in this week’s Aunty Sprout.
Hi Aunty Sprout
I’m 15 years old and I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for a while now. My anxiety is getting worse because of my exams coming up and overall extra pressure at school that keeps building up and building up. I have had support through school, and my teachers have been amazing, but I just feel like I need some more advice. I’m not sure who to turn to anymore because I’m pretty sure everyone is sick of me going on about my issues and turning to them for support. Life seems like it’s falling apart!
Seren (*name changed to protect their identity)
Aunty Sprout’s Advice
Thanks for contacting Meic for advice about coping with depression, anxiety and the pressure of upcoming exams. We’re pleased you felt able to reach out to Meic for help. We are right beside you to offer support, guide you through your options and empower you to find solutions.
Knowing the cause of your depression and anxiety
You mentioned that you’ve been experiencing depression and anxiety for a while now, and that you’ve noticed that the pressure of exams is causing your anxiety to increase. Anxiety and depression can make you feel awful and you are certainly not alone in feeling more anxious in the run up to exams. Knowing the reason behind your increased anxiety is part of the battle. If you are able to identify the cause it can make be easier to address it.
Dealing with exams
It might help you to read through some of our previous articles on stress and anxiety during exams. There’s some great advice in them on how to plan your time so that you can study, eat, sleep and practice self-care efficiently and effectively. Planning enough time for each of these things will help you feel more in control and should reduce some of the anxiety. Make sure you schedule 8-10 hours sleep every night – scientific research proves that teens need this amount of sleep! I would recommend starting with this article that touches on all of the issues you mentioned.
Learning from others
There are some really helpful articles published by Which? They carry out research into all sorts of things – from where to buy the best mince pie, to what is the most reliable car, to the best advice for students! In this article, they asked students to provide information about what they found most helpful when studying. Which? weighed everything up and wrote it all down so that students can learn from others’ experiences. The article I have chosen for you includes tips to put together a plan for revision (and relaxation!)
Dealing with anxiety and depression in the long term
This period of stressing about exams will end – the finish line is in sight and the feelings should lift once you cross it. It’s completely natural to feel stressed because you want to do well. Maybe you could let your parents, friends and school know that you still need their support and let them help ease the pressure. They probably just want the best for you and will be happy to help.
Reading yourself better?
While exams are making your anxiety worse, you might want to start thinking about dealing with your on-going anxiety and depression by talking to your GP. They can give book prescriptions that allow you to take out really useful self-help books about managing anxiety and depression. They might know about local groups that you could attend, or they could prescribe medication too if they thought it was needed. It’s worth having a chat to see what’s available to you and you could mention some of the things noted above.
Childline can offer emotional support on 0800 1111, or in a crisis you can text ‘YM’ to the Young Minds Crisis Line on 85258. Both of these services are available 24 hours a day. Exams might seem important, but your mental and physical wellbeing is more important! You can always resit exams, or try out a different course if you need, but you are irreplaceable.
We hope that this advice helps a little. Please get in touch if you want to talk some more.
The Aunty Sprout Helpline Team
If you need to talk to someone about anything that’s bothering you, then call Meic to talk to a friendly advisor.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. They’re open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact them free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.