University is something you usually experience once in your lifetime, it’s an unusual time in your life; you’re not quite an adult but no longer a child. Everything is constantly new: new experiences, new sights, new relationships, new modules, new life experiences and new friends. Everything is constantly changing and challenging your character, you’re becoming someone new in the space of three or four years. No one enters university and leaves the same person. It’s a place to thrive and to grow.
When I started university I had just completed therapy in my home town and could not wait to start building my own path to a future I thought I wanted. But as university progressed, I did too. Depression and Anxiety has never really stopped being a massive issue in my life; it’s always been there – I have good days and bad, just like everyone else. But my bad days can be pretty dark and they tend to linger for weeks.
Being at university and suffering with a mental illness can be extremely challenging and difficult for the person suffering, but it doesn’t have to be.
The key to managing it is one thing and one thing only, compassion.
Be as kind to yourself as you would a friend or loved one.
- Take breaks
- Don’t be hard on yourself
- Praise yourself for your achievements and learn from your failures
- Make plans each week of something fun to do
- Give yourself days off and don’t punish yourself for it
- Talk to people who are good for you
- Put yourself first
- Ignore ignorance
Some times will be harder than others, but they’re not forever. Have compassion and love for yourself. Look after yourself and be selfish.
Happiness is your birthright.