How depression has affected me

Difficulties adjusting to uni life

Slowly I began to realise how difficult it was to adjust to my new lifestyle, both objectively and personally. The situation reached its climax after having ended a mentally abusive relationship and leaving the home of my grandparents.

Hard to describe the feelings and impact

I would think it fair to say that I cannot accurately judge the impact of this on my life as I have simply spent so long neglecting my mentality, preferring to ridicule myself and my feelings.

Alcohol abuse and addictive behaviour

My independence was incredibly difficult to digest, and manifested itself through insomnia and alcohol abuse. I relied on alcohol or neglecting the ‘real world’ by spending a majority of my time online or using video games.

Confusing, intense emotions

I would not label myself as suicidal but more nihilistic- confusion with my own emotions (and accepting them), intense mood swings and issues with abandonment.

Tutor recommended counselling

Through the encouragement of my tutor, I sought counselling which then began to explain my difficulties and my ill feelings.

Why me?

Unsupportive, insecure childhood

It suddenly became incredibly clear that my childhood was not supportive, secure, and definitely not the haven I had assumed.

Abuse and conflicting role models

The lack of structure, the changing and conflicting role models, the verbal and physical abuse, which had at one point all seemed very minor, began to emerge as significant and recurring points in my life.

What’s helped

Counselling a turning point

Counselling was a turning point for me. Not to say that it ‘fixed’ the issues but rather gave me an alternate perspective on the self and how to treat how I was feeling.

Recognising my avoidance patterns

After short term counselling I came to realise that outlets through alcohol and video games were counter-productive and would normally bypass the issue.

Dealing with negative feelings at the time

Since then I have been committing to improving my lifestyle and living as I would want to live – which means dealing with negative feelings when they occur. As of now, I am able to contemplate how, what, and why I am feeling, and roughly diagnose ways to alleviate the pain without resorting to a destructive mode.

Allowing myself to recognise and feel emotions

If I am feeling abandoned then the recognition of this feeling lends me to feel more comfortable and actually feel the emotion, rather than bypass it for a worse mood that is the result of blocking out the unease.

Becoming better informed

I now feel more informed (having done some brief research on psychology and having an experience with it) so whilst my ill feelings may persist I have strategies that provoke a better feeling.

Putting more structure into my life

The objective is to implement structure in my life, rather than to resort to the unstructured way of living which is typically my default, and which has managed to jeopardise my support network, my employment, and my education.

What I’ve learnt

Pay attention to structure within the uni lifestyle

In the context of university student lifestyle, the constantly shifting states of being need to be addressed and contemplated in order for one to both enjoy their time both in and outside of studying, as well as to allow it to become productive time.

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