The author of this post is going to be a junior in high school in Ventura County in the fall.
Are you stressed or depressed? Stress and depression are very similar but they have different affects on the body.
Stress is good for you when it motivates you, but not when it wears you down. You can get stress from your job, school, and even at home when you are relaxing. Stress can affect your emotional, physical and mental health.
Depression is linked to stress but there are different side effects and it can be long-lasting. Depression requires a different kind of help that you wouldn’t get if you were only stressed.
How can you tell the difference between stress and depression? Both stress and depression are ongoing feelings from work or school. The difference is when you are stressed, it does not affect your everyday schedule so much. Depression on the other hand will affect your everyday schedule by giving you mood swings, lack of interest in the things you once had interest in, and also the feeling of being worn out and exhausted even when you aren’t physically doing anything.
Common signs of stress are the following:
- trouble sleeping
- feeling overwhelmed
- trouble with concentration and/or memory
- change in eating habits
- feeling nervous and anxious as well with feeling anything and/or easily frustrated
- trouble functioning with school and work
Common signs of depression:
- withdrawing from other people
- feeling sad and hopeless
- difficulty making decisions
- lack of energy and motivation
- eating more or less than usual
- becoming restless and agitated
- anger and rage
- feeling of not being able to overcome life difficulties
- harming yourself
- thoughts of committing suicide
- thoughts of harming yourself
To reduce and overcome stress, you can make a list of everything that makes you feel stressed and think about how you can manage these issues to cause you less stress. When you feel anxious, stuck, or nervous, take a break and try to relax your mind by listening to music or taking a walk. Taking good care of your body is also a great way to keep stress levels low. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and drinking water will give you less stress; if you eat unhealthy foods and spend all night doing work, you’ll be very tired, irritated, and stressed and most likely will not be able to handle the obstacles awaiting you the next day.
Don’t keep it all in!
Look for help and talk to somebody like a therapist or a psychologist to let go of things instead of bottling them up inside. To overcome depression, you should get a screening to see if you have depression and how severe the depression is. Seek support from a counselor on campus if you are a student and dealing with depression in high school.
Don’t be ashamed if you are diagnosed with depression. This is not a sign of weakness; it shows that you can take on more than the average person and that you have woken up to see a new beautiful day. Before you start taking antidepressants, first speak with your therapist or a psychologist to have someone else’s opinion because they might know what the best decision is. Talking about your problems or taking medication for depression can make a huge, positive change in your life!
If you ever feel like you are struggling, please do not hesitate to call one of the following:
- The Trevor Project
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
- U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Suicide Hotline
- National Runaway Safeline