Despite the fact that I had started to feel less anxious in and around university, something still wasn’t right. In the summer between third and fourth year, I didn’t feel like myself anymore.
I became withdrawn, I lost all motivation, I felt so numb every day. It was like that zombie feeling from my medicine, except this time it was something in me that was making me feel that way. As usual, I kept it all to myself, but all of my relationships started to become affected as I became too tired to do things and hard to be around. I was very snappy, emotional or blunt – and you would never know which version of me would be there.
It felt like I was drifting away from my life.
I became so oblivious to the outside world, I would eat too much but food never tasted like anything and for once in my life, I had trouble sleeping at night. I felt like I was a burden to those I cared about and honestly, I questioned why I was here since it just seemed to be one thing after another and I felt awful for putting my loved ones through so much. That summer, I was in almost constant contact with Samaritans and I felt like they were the only people who I could safely talk to. I became so dependent on their text-line and I’m pretty sure I spoke to them every day for a good 3-4 weeks.
As much as uni has always been one of my most difficult places to be, the start of a new year would always excite me. I loved to buy new notebooks, clothes and bags all ready for the new year but this time was different. Every single day felt like a huge effort but I didn’t have the energy to continue.
I started fourth year and quickly fell behind.
I’m not sure if this is the case everywhere, but in Scotland/UK at least, 4th year is your most important year. It’s the year that basically decides whether you get your degree or not and the year where you have to a huge dissertation or it was all for nothing. It’s not the best time to fall behind, but there I was. As I’ve never enjoyed uni, it got to the point that I literally did not care a single bit that I was falling behind or that I had work to do that would decide my future. I was miserable when I was there and would cry at nights realising I had to back the next day. I had nothing left inside that could push anymore and it felt like I was constantly trailing behind whilst everyone else was running ahead, living their lives.
One day, it was all too much and I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. I was scared of being inside my own head, I was having horrific thoughts about myself and my worth, and Samaritans had been encouraging me to confide in a loved one. I fell apart in front of my boyfriend, all tears and snot and screaming, telling him how I couldn’t keep myself together anymore. With his help and support, I began counselling at uni with the kindest woman who helped me get it all off my chest. She was concerned with my progress, though, and suggested I visit my GP to discuss my feelings – words like ‘depression’ were thrown around and I got put on antidepressants.
None of this really solved the main issue, though. I was taking all these steps to look after my mental health whilst never actually looking after mental health. University was not a good place for me to be at all, no matter how many counselling sessions or medications I tried it was always there dragging me down. It’s like I was crawling towards positivity but never taking that one big step to get there.
I remember feeling so lost – surely I’d have to grin and bear it.
Six months and it’s over.
But what if I messed it up? Those last six months were more important than the first three years. If there was any time where I needed to be mentally okay, it was now, but I could never manage to get there.
*This post is part of a series*
http://www.samaritans.org // 116 123
http://www.mind.org.uk // 0300 123 3393
http://www.sane.org.uk // 0300 304 7000
http://www.supportline.org.uk // 01708 765200