Depression and missing class

I’ve been suffering from clinical depression and anxiety for a few years now. I’ve dropped to 3 subjects this sem but I’m still finding it hard to gather the energy to go to tutes. Even when I’m there, I struggle to keep up with the content because I don’t have the energy to do any readings or attend any lectures. Tutes have attendance requirements which is the only reason why I’m attending them but it’s really taking a toll on me mentally. I don’t want to use my depression as an excuse to skip class but I’m barely coping.

The way you describe your symptoms of depression and anxiety, it seems like they are seriously hampering you in every aspect of life, including your capacity to study. First and foremost I am wondering if you are in treatment for what sound like serious mental health issues. If not, my first suggestion would be to get professional help in order to begin the process of working on your wellbeing and getting back on track. You have several options. One option is to contact the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services. You can also consult a General Practitioner. If you don’t already have a GP, the University has a Health Service available for students.

Regarding your struggle to keep up with studying, from what you have described, it appears that you are avoiding contact at University. Withdrawing from activity such as study or socialising is common for people suffering depression and anxiety. My suggestion would be to consult with your health professional, to establish how much you are realistically able to take on for this current semester, given your symptoms. You can consider applying for further subject reductions, or even leave of absence, in order to avoid unsatisfactory academic performance and to take some time out for treatment and recovery, so that you can get back to studying afresh.

I also strongly recommend that you enquire with Stop 1 to discuss your individual circumstances. If you decide to continue studying, you may be eligible to register for Special Consideration (ongoing assistance), which will enable you to receive some reasonable adjustments and support from the University based on your special needs throughout the semester. This requires a support letter from a health professional who knows you and your circumstances. Even with special consideration registration though, you are still required to meet the academic requirements of your course, and attendance is likely to be a core pre-requisite (which, in the case of tutes, would actually be beneficial for your well-being, even if it feels overwhelming right now).

It’s important to listen to your body and mind and if you are not coping, to take proactive steps towards treatment. You don’t have to deal with this alone, and seeking out assistance now will give you the best chance of achieving study success in the long run.

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