Dealing with mental health issues

When I began at University, I was hoping that my depression would become a distant memory. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. My personal situation would get worse and my mental health would suffer even more within the first year of study. Obviously, I hadn’t expected my situation to get worse, but since it did, I had to improvise in ways that I would never have expected. I wrote this article to help people who have also experienced mental health issues during or prior to their time of studying. Here are the things that helped me.

Four people sat at a table. They have notebooks and laptops in front of them. There are also drinks and glasses on the table.

Talking to people

Through telling people a little more about my moods and my present situation, it provided me with an outlet for my emotions. This was one of my coping mechanisms that limited me from feeling that nobody cared about or liked me. It also kept others aware of my situation and allowed me to be less closed off whilst around them.

Writing

I began to write about how I was feeling. Even when I felt at my lowest, a tiny piece of paper could become my best friend. This helped mostly when I felt like I had nobody to talk to. A piece of paper couldn’t judge me or reply with negative remarks to make me feel worse.

A hand writing in a notebook with a mug that says 'Be Happy' on it.

Ignoring negativity

It was impossible to control what people said around me, and sometimes I could take a comment out of the context in which it was intended. This may have been because I over-analysed everything around me or because of my depression, but nevertheless, by avoiding negativity completely, I was able to bring more positive thinking into my present moments.

Pushing myself

On the days that I forced myself to do things that I wasn’t motivated for, I found that I would feel happier in myself by the end of the day. This gave me a sense of accomplishment for that day, and even though it didn’t last, it helped me with getting daily tasks done that I had lost all motivation for.

The inside of a planner. There is a drawing of a post-it note with the words 'Make It Happen!' on it.

Setting targets

This one is slightly harder to understand. I used to set targets for things and fail daily. It was the failure itself that pushed me even harder to achieve the next ones that I set for myself. This helped me immensely when it came to my assignments – by using targets I was able to hand in all assignments without asking for an extension.

Separating life and work

Even though this was the most challenging, I tried as best I could to keep my personal life away from campus. By doing this, it provided me with an escape and allowed me to temporarily forget about everything whilst I was at University.

If you are suffering from mental health issues, then I truly hope that this article helps with your current or past situation in one way or another. For those who have suffered issues related to this article, “Never feel guilty about what you want in life and always follow your dreams.”

This article was written by BGU Contributor, Jamie Johnson. For more help or advice about mental health support at the University Lincoln, visit Student Services.