Extreme competitiveness and depression


Extreme competitiveness and depression


your avatar   Evana, 13 years old

I am 13 and I go to school. I am at the top of my class too. I am thought to be smart by everyone but now its vacation and I feel really depressed and I also know the reason why: it's because of my studies. Recently I have started to concentrate less on my studies even though I take studying really seriously. I have given in my exam but I think I did very badly and I don't think I will be first this time. This bugs me all the time and I feel so very depressed. I feel like dying.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Evana my dear,

You are on holidays. Use the time to read a wonderful book, "I am Malala." She faced the same problem of having been the best in her class, then she wasn't. Sometimes she didn't get the best results, and yet she became world famous and even got the Nobel Peace Prize.

Also, there is another way to look at school, at learning. You are not there to win at anything, but to learn lots of interesting and useful things that can make you grow as a person. The competition is only one way of encouraging children to do the best they can.

So, don't study in order to be the best, study because what you are learning is interesting and useful. Even if it seems boring, tell yourself you are learning to use a tool, and when you can use it, you can do interesting things with it.

If you happen to be the smartest child in a class, and work hard, you will come first. But there is always someone in the world who is smarter than you. If someone like that comes into your class and also works hard, she will probably come first. Then, you can still do your best to do even better than her, and that will be useful to you when you are an adult. The competition pushes you along, whether you end up first or second. When you are 33 years old instead of 13, no one will remember if you were first on a test this year or not. But the skills you learn now will still be useful. So, do your best but don't worry about how you compare to other people.

Next, let's look at being depressed. This is not something you are, but something you do. You can choose to do something else. Go for a run, read a good book, look at something beautiful, or even better, make something beautiful. When I was your age, I was depressed much of the time. I found that running was a great antidepressant, and reading books was just as good. If these worked for me, they will work for you.

You like winning. All right, have a contest with depression. Who is in charge? Will you let the depression beat you? Or will you fight back? There is a rule: whatever depression tells you, do the opposite. Try it out, and let me know how it worked for you.

Your new grandfather,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

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