Monday, 21 January 2019

It's Ok Not To Be Ok

There is so much stigma surrounding mental health and because of it people put up a fake front. We are scared to admit we are not ok, simply because we do not want to be a burden on those whom we love and I myself have been in that situation. It is often isolating and lonely being caught up in your own mind. But it is ok to be struggling and it is ok to ask for help. 

Asking for help can often sometimes feel like you are admitting defeat, that you have lost, but it is not, it is simply you realising you cannot do this alone and that is ok. You should not have to suffer in silence no matter what your demons are. Each and everyone of us have struggled, some more than others but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to overcome those feelings. Whether that light is in a person or in an activity, like the gym there is always something. The stigma surrounding peoples mental health, for people always needing to be happy and putting on a brave face needs to end. It is causing people to push back their emotions and that does not help. Burying things deeply can often result in one day everything becoming too much and imploding. 

Realising that no you are not alone in the way your mind works and that there are always people around to support you and talk to. That is what is important, not some stereotype of a person who always has a smile on their face, because it is ok to not always be happy and smiling 24/7.

Friday, 11 January 2019

1st Semester of University

I made it through my first semester of university, I survived. I did not die of lack of food, or over-dosing on alcohol.

I learnt many things in my first semester of university. I think the most important one being me learning to survive on my own. I think I have become quite good at it, the adulting life is not all that bad so far. I have learnt the concept of budgeting (kind of), mostly entailing me making sure I can still afford alcohol at the end of the week. I equipped myself with the skills of washing up my dishes and doing my own laundry all of which were done for me at home. It makes you appreciate everything that little bit more when you do eventually go home for the holidays, like a double bed or a nice shower that does not just dribble or not having a shower curtain that likes to have a fight with you mid shower.

Starting lectures was a challenge. Yes, I was excited to delve into the science that is Marine Biology, but I was not quite prepared for the amount of new information that would be thrown my way and that I would be expected to absorb and regurgitate for exams. I wrote from first essay and report, learning the masters of completing work the day before it is due (yes you will always do it). Essays are hard, trying to blab 1000-2000 words on a subject you have no clue about proves a challenge but I did it and actually got a decent grade for it.

The people have been the best part about university for me. You are thrown into a pool of new and interesting faces. It is easy to meet people because you are literally all put in the same situation and everyone is looking for someone to hold onto to become friends with. I have met amazing people in my short time here and know I will continue to meet even more.

The downsides of university are still there amidst the good. It can put a strain on your mental health at times. Being away from home without that comfort blanket of people, it can be a lonely time sometimes. The stresses of deadlines can sometimes get overwhelming. But as a student you learn to deal with it and it will be okay in the end. University really is not all bad.

I am thankful for my time at university, enriching myself with new information within my degree and surrounding myself with the beautiful people I have met in my short time here.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Exams and Mental Health

So it's exam season in university.

It is no secret that with exams comes stress, and that stress then puts a strain on your mental health. No matter what exam you are sitting, whether it be a GCSE, an A-level or a university exam, the pressure to do well is always there.

I am not one to do well under pressure, which is why exams are pretty much my arch enemy. The amount of stress my A-levels caused me really did have a toll on my mental health and I found it hard over the two years, year 13 especially. I struggled with the motivation to actually get up out of bed and revise because of the looming fear that I was going to fail. I cannot count the amount of times I broke down due to the stress becoming too much, and I was not alone. Me and my friends were all going through the same. Also, me being a perfectionist never helps the situation. You never feel that you are good enough for anything and there is always that one person who is doing better than you, no matter how many hours you put into your work. It leads you to question your own ability. Just because you struggle with something, it does not mean that you are worthless.

One thing that needs to be realised is that when it comes to exams one specific grade doesn't define you. Your mental health and well-being is more important than a single grade. Mental breakdowns should not become a part of the daily life of a student. However the mental health of students is still worsening as we struggle to cope with the constant pressure on our shoulders, to become 'the best of the best' so that we achieve the 'dream career'.

But at what cost?

More needs to be done to help students struggling with their mental health. No one should have to suffer in silence during stressful times and with more recognition on the scale of this issue hopefully less people with have to go through a similar experience as me.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Friendships and Loneliness

I don't think I have encountered much worse than losing people you love. Over the years I have made some true friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, but a few months ago I had to say goodbye to all of those people.

The first few days of being without someone makes you realise just how much you relied on that person. My friends have always been there for me. They know when I am in a bad mood and how to cheer me up, they laugh at my awful jokes and appreciate my slight stupidity. Not having them physically close to me breaks my heart a little and though that may sound dramatic it kind of is the truth. Being lonely is not something I thought I had experienced before, but losing friends you have had for the past 2, 7 and 13 years of your life, hurts. You have to tell them how things are going over the phone and whilst yes, you can still talk, it is not the same as being face to face. Do not get me wrong I have met some amazing new friends upon my time in university but there is still that hole of my friends miles away. It is an alienating thing.

It is not all doom and gloom as I know we will see each other as much as we can and when we do it will be special. We will make the most of the time we have together and I hope these people never leave my life completely but I wish them all the best for their futures.

Just because someone has walked out of your life it does not mean that you will never fill that hole, you have the memories that will remind you of the moments you spent together, you shall meet new people and make even more memories.