Hi everyone!!

Welcome to my students against depression blog.

I hope throughout the year my blogs are of some interest to you guys – I will be making at least one blog entry per month and would of course love your input.  I urge readers to post questions, thoughts and feelings as much as possible, I will try my up-most hardest to respond to posts AND please don’t be shy, I’m certainly not! 🙂

So…

My name is Joelle and I am a full-time psychology student going into my 2nd year.  As you will see from my introductory text I have had my fair share of issues over the years.  At 16, during my GCSE’s, I suffered from panic attacks and anxiety, which led to depression.  At my worst I couldn’t even do normal activities but now, some years on, I am much better; I go to university full-time, work part-time, have a great group of friends and don’t let my anxiety, which I still suffer from mildly, take over.

When I heard about the students against depression blog, I wanted to take part because I wanted to share my story and journey in the hope that my words may help people in the same or similar situations to what I was and still am in.  My blogs will be very open and honest because I want them to show that despite having defeated panic, anxiety and depression, I still have up and down days, which is completely normal – everyone has up and down days and I want to show that as time goes on, down days become less frequent and more manageable and that they can be turned into a positive.

I’d like to be a form of support to those suffering in silence, proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel to someone who feels there is only darkness.

Additionally I’d love to give tips about what helped me through darker times and would be grateful if others shared their tips also – you never know, no matter how trivial you think what you did was, it may help someone else.

So, that’s it!  That’s why I am doing this blog.  I hope you enjoy and get something from my posts 🙂

I have a few questions –

First question:  How has everyone’s summer been?

I am not sure about anyone else but summer is a mixture of emotions for me.  I welcome the break from the hard work and stress of university to begin with but after a short while I get bored and boredom leads to more time to over-think things, which for me can lead to downers.  Once the holidays were out the way, and work was done for the summer (because I get summer holidays off of work as well), what to do???  Unfortunately I am not made of money, I am a full-time student after all, so days and nights out with friends couldn’t happen often.  It was a case of keeping myself busy around the house!  I went to the gym a lot, cleared out the wardrobes, sorted out paperwork etc…  But time definitely dragged!  I’d almost prefer to have a shorter summer, just so I could go back to university and keep busy.  Am I alone there??

Second question:  Are people looking forward to going (back) to university/work?

I certainly am!! Can’t wait for the constant interaction with friends and the workload.  How sad am I??  No in all honesty, for me, I found that keeping busy really does help with my depression and anxiety.  Sitting around doing nothing really isn’t a good thing!  I must remind myself to read this post halfway through the year when I am up to my eyeballs in revision, coursework and lectures and all I want is a break 😀

Third (and last) question (for now):  If you are leaving home (to go to university) for the first time, how do you feel?

I know leaving home for the first time is scary and if you suffer from depression, panic, anxiety or any mental disorder, leaving home for the first time can feel even worse.  I did it when I attended university for the first time out of my hometown.  I hadn’t long got my panic and anxiety disorder under control and I was uprooting myself 140 miles away from my family, well by family I mean my mum :p  Let me just say that living away from home were some of the best times of my life.  I met great people and had an absolute blast.  My tips for you:  everyone will be nervous so don’t feel like you’re on your own, don’t be shy – say hello, join societies – a great way of meeting like-minded people, use your issues as a positive – most universities have mental health societies, join them and see who you meet, use the university support system – get a mentor/counsellor who will be there to talk to and tell at least one of your tutors (if you feel comfortable to) about your problems – having that extra support is really helpful, especially if you find that things start to get on top of you.

Anyway, I have rambled, I do tend to do that :s

Next blog: coming soon!!! xxx