The pessimistic emotional response of a person when he/she suffers from low self-esteem while facing a competition: be it at work, class or in sports is the outcome of an imbalanced situation when the performance requirements of a competition do not match the person’s (contestant) perception of his/her own abilities. This reaction and its repercussions lead to the development of a psychiatric condition called competitive stress. The level of stress depends on how a person perceives his failure and copes with the situation.
Competitive stress leads to an emotional turmoil and the sufferer, at times, may find it hard to control his emotional responses and falls prey to depression. Dr. Pulkit Sharma, Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Psychoanalytical Therapist says, “Prolonged competitive stress can surely lead to depression, especially when the person starts evaluating himself just on the basis of achievement. People who feel that if they achieve and succeed they are worthy and if they do not they are worthless are the ones who can slip into depression due to prolonged competitive stress. On the other hand, if the person generally feels good about himself and takes competition in a healthy spirit then even a prolonged one does not lead to depression.”
Onset of depression is an alarming concern as it might trigger a person’s suicidal tendency. Dr. Sharma further adds, “If the person fails to achieve, starts feeling worthless, hopeless and helpless then the depression sets in. This depression can make the person suicidal as the person feels angry and is let down by his own self and wants self-punishment. The person also has a very strong belief that nothing will change in the future and hopelessness would continue. Hopelessness and rage due to failure to achieve is one major factor behind attempted and completed suicides. “
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Dealing with competitive stress is a complex process and an individual may require employing any one of the aforementioned techniques or a combination of all.
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