mental health · university

The Last Twelve Months

 

You cannot heal in the same environment you got sick 

As I headed into my second year of university, head full of optimism and excitement I knew it was too good to be true. I wasn’t heading back to a small room with an even smaller bathroom that constantly smelt a bit damp and never got any light. I was heading towards a room with a double bed, a large window and my own little study. I was expecting my second year of university to be all my expectations of university come true, the best years of my life. 

The room I was so excited about had a big window, a high window with no window sill and grey paint splattered curtains. If I was to create a metaphor for my mental health these past twelve months it would involve those curtains. I’m only small and every time I’d try and open those curtains the loops would catch and get stuck, no matter how much I tugged or clambered onto the drawers next to them to open them, they’d stay stuck. The large window wasn’t letting any light in because of those curtains and that’s how my brain has felt these past twelve months. It wasn’t letting any light in, any good in because it was fogged over with anxiety.

My brain these last twelve months have been fogged over with questions of who I am, as a person, a daughter, a girlfriend, but mainly as a friend. I never noticed myself isolating myself, or filling my brain with negativity because I’m recovered and anxiety doesn’t affect me anymore, right? However, it does, it has just manifested it self in a way I had never experienced before. At times it was like it was before, loud sobs and unable to breathe, scratching up my arms to try and feel anything but the sheer panic, led on the kitchen floor wanting all this pain to stop. It was different though as well, it was a deep sadness where I wasn’t feeling anything. It was completely zoning out of who and where I was. Nights spent walking up and down Liverpool high street, staring at aisles in Tesco and buying share bag of crisps because if I made myself feel sick, I wouldn’t feel the emptiness for a while. It was random silent tears in lectures, on the walk home, sat in the library, where I wasn’t even sure why I was crying.

Before my second year, I loved makeup and picking an outfit. I brushed my hair and brushed my teeth and washed my hair more than once a week. I stopped doing the things I loved, I went to uni in the same outfit two days in a row, and makeup was a once a week rarity when I could find the motivation to put eyeliner on. If I didn’t put it on, I wouldn’t have to take it off again. I used to be obsessed with my skincare, makeup wipes were the devil, I didn’t even finish one bottle of cleanser in these last twelve months.

Writing this now, I realise how low I was, but whilst living it, it was just my normality and I was getting through each day. I was going to university every single day, I ate at least one meal a day most of the time two, I never handed any assignments in late, I had the occasional night out and I finished the second year with a first class.

I’m home now and have been for almost three months and the fog is starting to clear, my life has light in it now. I’ve spent these last three months looking for an answer, why did I have this relapse, why couldn’t I open the curtains? I’ve just accepted it now, it happened and that’s okay, it hasn’t defined me. It may have defined my second year of university but I have learnt from it.

In two weeks time, I’m going to head into my third year of university with optimism and excitement and hopefully this time, I’ll open the curtains.

Lots of Love, Rose x

If you’re struggling with your mental health at university please go here: 

http://www.studentminds.org.uk/find-support.html

https://www.samaritans.org

https://www.mind.org.uk

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Last Twelve Months

  1. Love this post and the imagery of the curtains 🙂

    It is so easy to get into a cycle where anxiety and depression just feel normal. I’m glad you’re feeling more positive about your 3rd year at uni 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rob! I actually wrote the part of the curtains a few months ago when I finally opened them properly as my plant needed some light and I just thought oh…why haven’t I given myself this same care I’m currently giving to a plant.
      I’m feeling a lot more positive about third year which is great 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Rose!
    Firstly let me say I’m so pleased you’re feeling better and more optimistic for your final year – it’s so positive that you haven’t let these experiences tarnish your whole perception of university.
    Reading this beautiful and heartbreaking post reminded me hugely of how I felt at the end of my first year at university. Back then, I wrote this post which I feel echoes many of the feelings and struggles you describe here. Your opening line about being unable to heal in the same environment in which you get ill really struck me, and I found that to be entirely true in my case; after my tough first year, moving to a different house and surrounding myself with new people made a world of difference, though of course university still brings its difficulties.
    Having read this post, and then scrolling my way through your other uni- and anxiety-related posts, I felt compelled to reach out to you and let you know that you are definitely not alone in these feelings. It makes it so much harder when we feel like we’re the only ones feeling this way, but so many more people struggle like this than they let on. I hope that writing and publishing this post was cathartic and helpful for you, and that your third year is a happy and successful one!
    Lx | Lightly We Go

    Like

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