Posted on Fri 17 May 2019 at 09:55 by Hannah King
Mental health awareness week Blog
When I first started university, I was full of excitement and determination. I hadn’t had a flare up of my mental illness in years and thought that demon was way behind me. University is a time to reinvent yourself and embrace the new. If only I had known that the stresses from my new environment could be detrimental to my mental health. Because it had been a long time since my last melt down, I failed to notice the symptoms that my mental illness was coming back with a vengeance. I started to become erratic, impulsive and self-destructive. It wasn’t until I took an overdose and became hospitalised, that I realised that my mental health had slipped and crashed into a massive cavern.
This was an eye opener for me, I quickly contacted student services and got the support I needed, I even opened up to my close friends about what had happened. I have no shame about my relapse, it happens and is a reminder that we are all human. From that day on, I started taking better care of myself, I practiced mindfulness, relearnt and reinforced my coping techniques, ate a healthier diet and took part in social sports.
My biggest advice for students with mental illness is to keep track of your mood changes, once we learn to recognise these changes, we can be proactive in helping ourselves. Visit student services and make the most of what they have to offer in terms of support. Don’t belittle your problems, what may be a mole hill for some is a mountain for others.
Be kind to yourself, when your mental health is bad, everything starts to spiral out of control, it’s ok to take a day out away from work or university for your mental health (just don’t make it a habit!). Do something you enjoy, take a walk or talk to someone, the worst thing you can do is be alone with your thoughts. If you’re feeling isolated or lonely, join the Students’ Union active wellbeing programme, where you can meet new people, exercise and make new friends, or consider a society.
Finally, remember you are braver, stronger and more resilient than you realise. Those with mental illness face constant battles in their everyday lives, we put on a mask and get on with our day, only to face it again the next day and that makes us a badass. But keep in mind, this is but one chapter in your life.
Has this affected you? You can find different forms of support on our website here. https://www.uosunion.org/advice/wellbeing/
By Veronique Hay