Archive for August, 2010

Exam Anxiety

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Anxiety

Hi, taking a little ‘detour’ here from our current topic of discussion. Given that it’s the period of Prelims and I’ve had increasing number of students telling me that they feel extremely anxious right before their test, do take a look at the post I wrote last year on Exam Anxiety.

https://youthcounselling.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/i-just-blank-out-exam-anxiety/

I’m not sure why it’s helpful to know celebrities who had to battle clinical depression. Perhaps it makes us feel that “okay…if this person who is so successful, rich and famous had depression then it’s okay that I too am battling depression”. Perhaps there are miscontrued mindsets about people who get depression, that they must be weak, crazy or “flawed” in some fundamental ways to “fall prey” to depression in the first place. So it surprises (perhaps even shock) us when we come to know of celebrities who had depression and then perhaps it helps to redefine what we think of people with depression.

I’m not the biggest fan of harry potter but I was rather inspired by JK Rowling’s rags-to-riches story. She was number 2 on Forbes list of 20 riches women in entertainment in 2007 (2nd only to Oprah Winfrey). Not bad at all for a single mother who was taking care of 3 children and living on welfare. Another known fact about JK Rowling was her struggle with depression. She has been very open about it in the hope that it would help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. At one of her darkest moments, she contemplated suicide but stopped herself and went to see a counsellor. Click this link to read more about her story on BBC news website.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7310534.stm

Another oft-quoted celebrity who also openly struggled with his depression is Jim Carrey. I for one was surprised when I did some research on the internet and his name popped up. I’ve always known Jim Carrey as the comedian with the incredible rubber face and his 1994 hit movie “The Mask” (some of you were still babies at that time!!).  Reading about his life story and how he overcame depression gave me new meaning for resilience in adversity.

I feel sad when friends or students who are experiencing clinical depression put themselves down or think they are inferior and abnormal or think that people will look down on them. Some refuse to seek treatment as a result of this inaccurate perception of self and what depression is. And I feel indignant when the community shuns them (whether in fear or ignorance) and fails to offer the support that they would normally give another friend in need. Let’s educate ourselves on these issues and perhaps right here at YJ we can build a community of care, understanding and inclusivity.