5 years ago I started to feel not myself. I was lethargic, had no motivation and had a general feeling of sadness the majority of the time. After this feeling hung around for longer than I thought it would I started to think that maybe something was wrong. Fast forward 3 months and I knew I was suffering with depression, but those first few months were some of the most confusing I have ever gone through.
I’d like to say that after the first months things got better, but unfortunately mental health doesn’t play like that. I got progressively worse once I went back to university, my sadness turned into numbness and everything else was heightened. There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed and more than one occasion where my flatmate had to physically sit me in the lounge and sit with me so I would actually make my deadlines. I would say that this was the hardest period of time I have ever been through, and I still cannot find the words to describe how I felt.
It was around a year later that I started to feel more myself. There wasn’t a monumental thing that happened that changed anything (just like with developing my problems) and it didn’t happen overnight. I had to make some big changes in my life to help aid my recovery which included moving out of my house and removing toxic people from my life. It was hard, but worth it in the long run. Towards the end of my final year at university I was the best I had been for years, I remember telling one of my friends who I have known since I started uni that I was ‘good’ instead of ‘okay’ and the feeling of being able to say that was amazing.
Now obviously MH isn’t plain sailing. Once I went into my first full time job after university I had quite a significant relapse. I found myself back at a very low point, however thanks to the people I had around me and changes that took place I managed to pull myself out after a few months.
Since my last ‘relapse’ I am extremely fortunate to have no more than a week where I feel like my mental health has taken over me. I now my mind and body better than I ever have, and I know when I need to take a step back to look after myself. I know when I need to spend some time to myself, and when I need someone there with me (even if its just to scroll through instagram and not talk for a few hours). Don’t underestimate the power of exercising and eating well either, no it’s not going to ‘cure’ you but it will significantly help in making you feel a bit more yourself even if it is only for a few hours.*
I think one of the main things I have taken from my MH experiences is to surround yourself with the right people and to listen to yourself. If you have toxic people in your life, they will continue to make you feel bad about situations and have a negative look on things. After university I opened up to my family and more friends about my struggles and I now have the best support network around me with people I know love and care for my wellbeing. I cannot thank these people enough for their daily support, messages, facetimes and hugs, even when I don’t know I need them.
I personally don’t believe I will ever be ‘cured’, but I know I can manage myself better. When I have what I call a ‘down day’ I know the steps I need to take to make myself feel better and more comfortable in that time, and I always keep a positive mindset that it will go in time. Of course it doesn’t always go to plan, but for the most part I am able to look after myself and I know my friends & family are there when I need them.
If you are suffering from any of these problems, please get help. There are so many ways you can do this, from visiting your GP or reaching out to an organisation. The Samaritans are one of the most well-known, click here to speak to someone xxx
*I would like to stress that exercise and eating well do not cure mental health, it just allows you to focus your energy on helping your body from the inside and it is something that worked personally for me. If you are having a day where you cannot get out of bed do not try and force yourself up to do a workout, or to make an elaborate meal when all you want is chips. Listen to your body, you know what its trying to tell you more than anyone else.