Mental health + university

All ye who indulge in schadenfreude, gather round.
It’s not mental health awareness week/month/whatever, but alas, not everything is restricted to a particular time of year. I talk about this now because, as a third year student, the pressure when you have looming deadlines and a dissertation that will basically determine whether or not you just wasted £27,000, is crippling. In addition to everything that crippled you before university.
So understandably, a lot of us are faltering in the mental health department. I’m not saying that a lot of us suffer from mental illness, because a lot of us don’t. I have already spoken about how too many people claim ‘depression’ or ‘bipolar’ when they don’t actually suffer from these illnesses, but that doesn’t mean our mental health doesn’t suffer. Much like physical issues, our brain sometimes suffers
It often comes in many contradicting forms. Maybe you stay up until dawn, downing red bull and coffee for hours until you’re seeing shapes dancing around in front of you, telling you it’s time to go to bed or you’ll collapse. Maybe it’s rejecting all invitations to go out, go shopping, relax, because you have too much to do and you couldn’t possibly deal with the guilt you’ll feel when you get a horrible grade, because it’s obviously due to that one day you took off. Maybe you consistently study because it’s the only thing to distract your mind but at the same time it’s burning you out. Maybe it’s the tendency to sleep all day and all night because you have so much work to do that your brain and body just can’t deal. Maybe it’s going out all day everyday just to avoid the 5 deadlines you have next week. Maybe it’s people telling you you look sallow and tired and that you’re working too hard. Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t remember a time where you had the energy to be genuinely happy about life because life itself is begging to leave you.
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Thoughts I've had mid-dissertation dissertation is due in exactly 2 months and I’m only now attempting to pick up pace; I only really work well under pressure. And when you’re really under pressure you start seeing things and hearing things. Those little kids laughing at 3am last night? Not real! Those shadows creeping behind the door? I hope they weren’t real! Hearing a song on repeat and sounding like it’s playing from inside your head and ears? Amazing! The dissertation engulfs your life. In sixth form your teachers will drum it into your head that a levels are harder than a degree. Ha.
This is false. You go from sixth form to first year of uni and WOAH. I’m doing 6 months worth of A-level work in 2 weeks here. And I’m expected to have PRIOR knowledge! But then you get to year three and hahahahhahaaahahahahahahaha
Honestly. It’s so hard. An English degree has to be one of the hardest and most time consuming, most brain-frying, most rewarding degrees ever, I’ll fight anyone on this. It’s not multiple choice and it’s not the application of facts and equations. You actually have to DO STUFF. LEARN STUFF. RESEARCH STUFF PLUSSS HAVE YOUR OWN RELEVANT OPINIONS! Like you need to create new arguments and approaches in a world where there are already 1000 opinions on any given topic.
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It’s like asking a fish to teach you how to fly.
1. Mentally prepare for your day the night before.
Get into bed at least 15 minutes before you think you need to just so you can relax and plan what you need to do tomorrow until you doze off. Sure, you can write it down, but sometimes we don’t have time for that. Sometimes, we are tired.
2. Drink a lot of water.
I mean a LOT. Get a glass Voss bottle because a) it’s slim, b) it feels like a vase so technically you’re a beautiful flower and c) it’s not made of that shady plastic that is secreting carcinogenic substances into your liquid. Anyway, it’s not the water that is stress-relieving. It’s going to pee and seeing that IT LOOKS LIKE WATER ALSO.
3. Listen to music.
And it CAN’T be even remotely about love. That is stressful. It has to be about real life shit. Listen to System of a Down. Underground rap. OR listen to Hybrid Theory-era Linkin Park. Nothing de-stresses you like listening to somebody who is MORE stressed out than you. Read more