Managing depression, work and Japanese


To cut to the chase, I’m currently working full-time, Monday-Friday and frequently working Saturdays to pick up extra cash but it’s really started kicking my ass. I tend to spend Sundays catching up with sleep/rest but I’m so exhausted all the time I can’t keep up with my own study schedule.

I tend to be too dazed/tired in the morning to listen to a podcast on my commute and tend to nap during lunch hour because I’m so tired, and when I get home it’s very much a eat/shower/sleep routine right now. I suffer from pretty severe depression and struggling with a relapse so things aren’t too good for me at the moment :pensive:

Japanese is taking the backseat right now which suuuuucks because I love it and I love learning it but I just can’t seem to manage work, illness and Japanese all at once. I’m currently job hunting for a part-time job so I have more time to study (I’m planning on starting a degree in October) and that’s stressing me out/taking the rest of the energy I’ve got.

Does anyone have any advice for the meantime? The only studying I’m doing right now are WK reviews, but it doesn’t seem like much help if I don’t know any phrases/vocab etc which I was learning through podcasts

oh man. send help

I have anxiety and depression too so i totally know where you are coming from. Personally, take care of your health first and foremost. It is the most important thing. It sounds like you need rest like you said and looking for a part time job sounds like a great idea, but is, of course, a massive emotional drain, especially when you are already ill.

If it was me, i would break my life down into chunks and set achievable targets. At the moment, finding a part time job so you have the emotional space to take care of yourself should take priority. However, program in job hunting slots so it doesn’t feel like all day, every day. E.g. on Sunday at 10am I apply for a job. Small target, achievable and will then feel good once you have completed it. I actually found when I was at my most ill, these small targets meant I got far more done.

If you want to still do Japanese at the moment, again go for small achievable targets as you will achieve more in the long run. Wanikani is great for that. Maybe memrise/japanese game learning of some sort. Tackle formal grammar study when you have your part time job. You have your whole life to learn, it isn’t a race. Take care of yourself. You matter.


I’d suggest some form of media. Breaking things up with different formats of resource could help, especially if you need the listening/conversation practice.

Much respect to you for talking about this subject. It’s a very important step - letting it all build up inside is not right. You’re doing the right thing by talking, and it takes a strong person. So, be proud of yourself! :wink::+1:

As someone who has had his own share of, well, life basically :­) The best advice I can give you is to keep reminding yourself that the dark clouds will pass. It’s just a matter of waiting it out until the storm subsides… depression is not necessarily something you have to manage. Sometimes just acknowledging (which you did) and giving it the space it needs can be enough.

When I get depressed I radically postpone two things: 1 making important decisions, and 2 drawing conclusions about basically anything and everything. Because, in my case, I just came to the realization that, when my thought process becomes cloudy, it will cause my judgement to become really poor. It’s what people mean when they talk about clouded judgement, right? So I just tell people something like: “I’m not able to decide on things right now, but I know that I will be in the future. Please just bear with me.”

And when they ask for how long, I tell them that I don’t know. Because I don’t. So it’ll just have to suffice.

I just want you to know that it is totally okay to ask for space, time, and to let others know that you need some time to let a few things settle down. Even if it’s hard to put to words what those things are. We’re emotional creatures. And sometimes life can become so crammed up that it will make you feel like you’re running a marathon. But, for whom are we running if not for ourselves? So, take the time and the space you deserve. Those who matter won’t mind, and those who do mind don’t actually matter.

Take a few steps back, give yourself a break, let go of goals just for a while and you’ll automatically pick up again when you feel like it. The less you force yourself, the smoother things will go. And from my own experience - the things you will eventually pick up from where you left off will be like smooth sailing compared to before.

My inner voice keeps reminding me of one thing. It keeps telling me to “follow my highest joy.” It’s not always easy to figure out what that highest joy is. And it’s not always easy to accept the answer once I have figured it out. For example. Sometimes that highest joy can be to take a break. It can be difficult to actually accept this as a personal fact. I don’t always want to take a break! I want to master Japanese! Or just tidy up the house. There’s so much I want… it’s never-ending. But I also know now that I had some really useful and restful breaks. We all need 'em. And we all deserve 'em, too. So actually it’s no problemo.

And then I go *sigh*… okay fine. I’ll take that break!

Of course this is all just how I deal with stuff, but I hope that some of what I say can be useful to you as well. Good luck on your journey. And thank you for creating an opportunity for us to share. Hope it doesn’t sound like mumbo jumbo or anything. I’ve learned most of this the hard way. And don’t we all, at some point.


I deal with anxiety and depression, but I’m dealing with unemployment/unenschoolment and so Japanese has helped to ground me. However, when facing a mental crisis due to exhaustion, everything, including studies, should pause until health issues (both mental and physical) are dealt with. The only person who’s going to judge you for not studying because you need to eat and sleep is yourself. At times when I’ve felt like how you’ve described, watching an episode of anime or listening to a Japanese song before bed was cause for celebration. The most important thing for me was that I needed to remember that Japanese was something I do. In depression/survival mode, it was easy for me to forget what things were important to me, and by the time I got out, I would lose my desire to continue. Koichi says to tell yourself you’ll do something for 15 minutes and then you’ll most likely keep going. I say tell yourself to study for five minutes and then stop if you have to and feel proud.
Okay, end unnecessary advice.
I hope that your circumstances improve soon! You are a worthy person. You deserve to not feel exhausted all the time. You deserve fair treatment and a job that doesn’t ruin you.
Good luck!


My best advice is to cut back on the Japanese study and, most of all, stop feeling guilty about it. You’re depressed, working six days a week, and clearly not enjoying this so much.

Can you afford a part-time job? You say you work full time to have extra cash,so is it really a good idea to cut back on work just to study? Won’t you be more stressed because you have less money?

The best things you can do is focus on self-care and rest and stop putting the burden of studying for a hobby on top of your other stresses. Can you talk to a therapist or your doctor about your issues and your struggles?

I burned out, by working full time in a very demanding job while also doing my master’s part time. Plus hobbies and a social life. And I learned the hard way that sometimes you have to cut back on everything that isn’t absolutely necessary for immediate survival (e.g. your main source of income, eating, sleeping).


You’ll remember a lot more than you might think you will when you come back to it if you have to cut down on Japanese for awhile while you focus on other things. You’ll also progress faster when you come out of the depression/exhaustion, if your experience is anything like mine.

Try to be patient and forgiving with yourself while you figure it out. Focusing on health is important, and only you can really determine what ultimately will work best for you, but it can take time to figure that out. I’ve also found what works for me can change with different rounds/aging/life circumstances.

Did you like the responses, @ughitssophie?

@Hamigakiko @UntitledName @voidzero @srpartlow @SpicyDragon @Kas

First of all, I’m so sorry about my late reply. I saw all your replies as they came in and was lost for words because of you all being so lovely to me even though you don’t know me. Thank you so much, they helped me out big time!

As an update, I did what you suggested and cut back on the Japanese. I haven’t studied at all in 3 weeks (today is my first day back… eek!) and it definitely helped giving my brain a rest. I went back to my doctor and started on new medication, I’ll be starting counselling soon-ish and I quit my full-time job. I still don’t feel my best and things have still be rough but things don’t seem to weigh too heavy on my shoulders now :relaxed:

I’m giving myself some time off so I can get better mentally, but really wanted to get back to Japanese so I wasn’t laying about doing nothing, but when I do get back to work I’ll just be doing part-time. I’m starting a TEFL course next month and I’m so excited! As I said before, things aren’t perfect right now but I seem to be on the right track to get to that point! I couldn’t have done that without your replies, so thank you much, they were incredibly appreciated but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to get back to you right away.

For the millionth time, thank you thank you thank you :heart:


Heyy Sophie, thanks for the update. I was like ‘yayitssophie’ not ugh at all. :wink:

Happy with your response. It might feel like setbacks now… but what I read between the lines is that you possess some strong character. I’ve fought a similar battle myself - for me therapy made all the difference. Took me a couple of therapists, but once I found one with whom I felt comfortable - someone who wasn’t big on diagnosing, but rather was genuinely interested in me as a person - it really helped a lot. He helped me to reinforce the idea that I was already a good person. Nothing was wrong with me. I just needed to figure some things out. So I’d just like to pass that on to you because from what I can tell from what you wrote, the same thing applies to you. Nothing wrong. Just how things go.

Gee it’s almost like we’re only human, right? :smile:

Respect! :v:


I’m so glad you’ve managed to do so much in such a short amount of time! It sounds like things are really turning around. Of course, your brain probably won’t let you feel like that until a couple months from now. :upside_down_face: I hope the new meds and therapist work out, it’s the luck of the draw for that kind of stuff.
As for not laying around, Japanese is a great tool for exercising your brain, but don’t forget to do physical exercise, too! The body is part of the brain is part of the body :wink: and taking care of your physical health can help you feel better more quickly.
All that is to say I’m so relieved you’re doing better! Because, honestly, doing real life with mental illness is about 11 times harder than normal and it’s always so nice to see others making progress.
I hope you have a good time in your TEFL course! That’s so awesome!

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