So this is the second post where I’m opening up about my experiences with anxiety and depression. I previously discussed how my school years were really tough, and I’ve now decided to open up about the more recent years of my life!
Going to university in 2014 was really challenging. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. While so many people were so excited to go, I was nervous at the thought of living with people I could potentially not get along with, starting a course with over 110 new faces and new tutors who knew nothing about my experiences with panic attacks.
I decided to stay in my home city, but move out to be closer to my campus and to grasp a bit of the social side of uni (which scared me a lot too!).
Luckily, my university were really understanding of my mental health and organised for me to have some support. I also sat down with my course leader at the beginning of the year and we had a chat about my worries. He made me feel incredibly at ease and like it wasn’t going to be as scary as I made it out to be. I felt like if I needed to leave the room due to anxiety, I could, and it wouldn’t be a big deal at all.
Things seemed to be pretty calm from September up, I was able to grasp my course and settle in quite quickly. It wasn’t until around late November when I had a really, really bad dip. I remember going out to my work christmas party and the entire time something didn’t feel quite right. I wondered if it was because I didn’t know many people there (as I was a new staff member) or if it was just a slight glitch in my mood. I remember feeling this cloud that I used to feel when I’d come home from school after a day of being on edge, anxious and down.
I made my way home pretty early at about 10 and I remember laying on my bed just thinking to myself for ages. I decided to call my mum and I completely broke down into tears as I realised that I had everything I had ever wanted; I had a job, was on my dream degree at my first choice uni, had my own space away from home and was really healthy, but it hit me that I just wasn’t happy. I would come home from uni and tear myself apart frequently, I wasn’t good enough for the course and I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls on my course. I was sure I’d never make close friends, that I wouldn’t achieve anything at uni and it would put me in pointless debt. I felt like I was in this downward spiral and I honestly couldn’t see it improving. I’d realised that my depression had come back and had been lurking for quite some time, but I hadn’t properly noticed it until that night.
The Christmas holidays were a really hard time, I had a couple really horrible panic attacks which worried my parents. I then felt guilty for ruining everyones festive holiday which made me feel worse. I suffered with really bad anxious thoughts which wouldn’t leave my brain – I remember feeling like I wanted to rip my mind off and just disappear. Luckily I was around my mum, dad and brother at the time, and they know how to perk me up (mostly with food and control of the telly remote)!
I remember going back to uni in January and things started to improve for a while, I was able to establish good friendships with 3 people in particular at uni. I finished my first year with a 1st which I remember being really happy about, but it didn’t last long as I was so focused on constantly pushing myself down – to me, it wasn’t good enough – it wasn’t an ‘exceptional first’ – there was still room for improvement and I still thought that the work I was producing was pretty rubbish. I can look back now, finally, and be proud of myself for making that achievement due to the rough patch I was going through with my depression and anxiety. I think that my studies were a good distraction as I put everything into my work.
I’m going to leave it there for this section before I babble on! Again, I hope you find these posts interesting and maybe make some of you feel like you aren’t alone ❤
If any of you are suffering with depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders..anything, please talk to someone. That night I spoke to my mum on the phone really helped me and lifted a weight off my shoulders. If you don’t want to talk to anyone imediate, there are charities such as Samaritans and Mind who have people who you can talk to. A lot of universities also have call lines and specialist support for those of you who are students like myself.
In my next post I’ll be talking about one of the scariest panic attacks in my life and how I got some life-changing help (as corny as it sounds) – I’m really excited to share with you the more cheerful parts!
Love you all and thank you,