Mental Health

Mental Health is a topic that needs to be heard especially in universities, schools, and colleges.

At university we have the idea that we have to ‘fit in’ in to enjoy it. I can say this now because i’m at university (still just about) that it’s okay not to ‘fit in’ and enjoy it. I wonder where do we get this idea that university is ‘the time of our lives’? because this is not the case for everyone. Not everyone makes friends for life there and is always out partying, in fact it can be the complete opposite, just look at me!

Before starting back at university this year, I started counselling as I felt so down and unconfident in myself due to many issues not least of all about the break up with my ex. I understand now that I did not help these issues by ignoring them as best I could because it has had massive impact on me now. I lost myself completely, I didn’t know who I was or what I even liked or wanted from life. My mental health initially improved for a couple of weeks but that didn’t stay that way, it was like a cycle I was repeating all the time, then one day I finally realised that counselling alone would not make my problems ease or go away (being the type of person that I am I think I will probably always struggle) so I sought different support aids to help me with my mental health.

I became very lonely at university as I felt that I couldn’t talk to any of my flatmates as I feel that there was a pressure to appear ‘cool’ and have everything under control. I tried to open up to someone by writing on a whiteboard in the kitchen anonymously. This did not work, someone took the attention instead. I ended up keeping in all my loneliness, anger and sadness to myself as long as I could, until it got to the point where I broke down and admitted that I needed help and needed other support. I felt like I was not whole, like I was pretending and faking in order to fit in, this drained everything out of me daily and I became detached from the social world as I didn’t want to ‘fit in’ anymore. My mind became dark, cold and lost- this is something I don’t want to have but I saw no light at the end of the tunnel for me. Not only did my mind shut down my body did too and early on in the first semester I had gastric flu which completely wiped me out.  I didn’t want to put makeup on or nice clothes I just wanted to sleep my life away.

Before I sought additional support, I had massive anxiety attacks about going places and doing things as I felt like I was watching my back all the time and I felt something bad was always going to happen to me. Once I found that extra support things started to get better, my mind wasn’t in a dark blindfold over my eyes that fog was beginning to life and I was able to go out on my own I was able to drive my car on my own and go to new places without feeling like someone was watching me and waiting for me to fail, for once I finally felt free!

This is still an ongoing battle for me and this is a battle that I know I may face throughout my life. At times I still feel that I am not good enough for people or not good enough to go into a career that I want to do but I believe now there is finally a light it might be a small one but I am slowly starting to build up my confidence again and I am now starting to consider things that I had shut the door on before without looking into them.More than anything I have realised that  I couldn’t do all this without my family, they’ve keep my spirit alive because without them I don’t know where I would be today.

I have still managed to go to my lectures each week, to complete my work and sit an exam without any support from the university welfare team or my tutors but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need help. I feel that my university sees me being ‘ok’ because I still manage to keep up with the ‘normal’ things so in their eyes i’m fine but in reality I feel that by trying to cope it is the only thing keeping a soul inside me. Many times I felt that I had nothing left  inside of me to push myself through my work and through my darkest days and I know that if I end up with a bad mark on my projects or exam, it will finish me off completely as I know I can’t do it all again as I know that my mental health is more important than my work right now.

Yes, I do have support from my family, my councillor, my GP surgery  mental health nurse and other sources but I do still get my down days especially when I am still alone at university, in my room on my own I have far too much time to sit and overthink but I do know now that it is okay to not ‘fit in’ and that this struggle is something others face daily. If you don’t believe me look at The Student Room for proof or other social media. I read an interesting article too https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/02/dropping-out-of-uni-university

But through all of this I have now realised that it is up to me to change my toxic mindset if I am to survive, others will only start to understand me if I understand myself.  If I stand out compared to everyone else then that’s ok as it’s ok to be different. I finally know that I am good enough in my own eyes and that pleasing myself and being the best version of myself is all that matters. I don’t need to compare myself to others because in the words of Keala Settle

‘I am not afraid of the dark …i’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars …but I won’t let them break me down to dust.. I am brave I am bruised I am who i’m meant to be this is me’

It is okay to be different and not ‘fit in’ to the ‘normal’ social world. You are YOU and no one can take that away.

~ My walls went up, as my confidence went down~

Em xo

Some useful website information

https://www.mind.org.uk

https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/young-people

https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/our-work/young-peoples-mental-health

https://youngminds.org.uk/

https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/treatment/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/student-mental-health/

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