The trouble with giving general advice like this is that what is a good idea for one girl could be really bad advice for another. I once told four girls, all suffering from depression before their periods, that one way of coping would be to write a message on a card and stick the card inside their school desks. The message read: ‘Everything will be much better on . . .’ and then the day they expected their particular period to start. One girl said it was a great help; she didn’t feel any less depressed but at least she could ‘see a light at the end of the tunnel’. The second, though, said her card made her feel so much worse that in the end she tore it up and threw it in the

waste-paper basket. The third drew doodles all over hers and forgot to read it. And the fourth was put in detention for opening her desk too often during the lesson.

Depression is a very difficult state to deal with and it’s particularly acute at schools. Our educational system ensures there will always be plenty of pupils around who either fail to come up to expectations or, worse, to pass exams. If you have failed, you have to learn to come to terms with failure, which is a pretty depressing thing in itself without having the additional burden of a monthly dose of the blues.

There are lots of remedies for depression. But if you think exams and the fear of failure are part of the cause of your blues, take heart. They may seem terribly important when you are at school, but they get considerably less important the farther away from school you get and the more competent you become in the real business of earning a living.


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