First post of the year – sorry it is a little late!

For those of you who didn’t follow my blog last year, a little introduction:

My name is Joelle; I am a student now in my final year, finally! I started suffering from panic disorder when I was 16 during the time in which I took my GCSEs and this led to depression. At my worst I could not do normal day to day activities, which most people take for granted – I couldn’t take a bus, socialise with friends or even sit in a doctor’s office. I didn’t leave the house for a year, which resulted in me gaining an extreme amount of weight, which further fuelled my depression. Basically I was in a vicious cycle!!!

Where I am at now:

Now, nearly 10 years later, I am in my final year of a degree at university and I work supporting others with both mental and physical difficulties. In addition to this, I have lost a considerable amount of the weight I put on during my darker days, I take part in a number of extra-curricular activities, I volunteer, I socialise with friends on a regular basis and I enjoy meeting new people. A complete turn around from how I was some 10 years ago.
I don’t want people to think that I am ‘cured’, because I am not. In fact, I don’t believe that you ever fully get over panic disorder or depression, but I want those who read my blog to see that even though they may feel like a dark cloud looms over their heads continuously and that it may never dissipate, it can and it will!

Why Students Against Depression…again:

So, I took part in Students Against Depression last year because when I heard about the blog I thought that sharing my story and journey could help someone in the same or a similar situation to what I was, and in some ways still am, in. I wanted to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even when it seems as though all that surrounds you is darkness and uncertainty. I felt that I was open and honest and showed that despite having gotten through the worst, I still had up and down days, which could sometimes stretch into weeks. Now going into my final year, I know the pressure will be double what it was last year, and I want to share this new journey that I will be going through with readers. I want to share some of my tips on how to cope and how to make down days become less frequent and more manageable. How to turn hard times into something positive and how to be proud of the more difficult times that people may face.

What I have been up to over the summer:

During the summer holidays I did not really have a break – not something I would suggest. I was very aware that going into my final year would be busy, pressured and stressful and I wanted to be as prepared as possible when September came. This has had both a positive and negative outcome; the plus side is that I prepared a lot for my final year project and am now ahead of the game, the down side is that my brain doesn’t feel like it has had a break and I am therefore finding it quite hard to get into the swing of things. I do not feel like I have had a break and therefore I do not feel like the academic year has started. Also, it is very hard to come to terms with the fact that no matter how organised I am, when you have to work with other people’s schedules, who may not be as organised as you, it can throw plans off. I am sure that things will fall into place soon, I am trying to be as organised as possible, write everything down so I don’t forget and be patient. The moral of the story here, is to work hard, but give yourself breaks when needed – the holidays have been put in place for a reason.

My hopes for this year:

I hope that in times of stress and pressure I can keep my panic disorder to a minimum, I can keep on top of work and I don’t let my perfectionist  ways get in the way of anything. I can only do what I can do, I do not always need to be the best and that is what I have to keep telling myself this every day as a reminder.  This is one tip that I would suggest anyone who is a perfectionist like me to follow!!  Being a perfectionist is good in some ways but can truly be a hindrance and result in an unnecessary amount of anxiety!

So I have babbled on quite a bit now, I am going to leave it at this for now.
I will be posting at least once a month and hope that you enjoy reading my blogs and that in some way they help.

Lots of Love

Joelle xxx