First of all, it is my intention to bring more awareness to this particular topic, as depression and anxiety is heavily routed in the young men and women at university.
I’m going to share my experiences with my own mental health at university, through my FIRST, SECOND & FINAL years. Then I will share some very valuable tools that are going to be resourceful for you whenever our depression and anxiety gets the better of us.
Firstly, when we move from our safe, comfortable social circles back home into a completely new environment it naturally presents its challenges. It is almost like a rebirth, you sever the umbilical core tethering yourself from the people you know and also the person you think you are.
You learn a lot about yourself in those 3 – 4 years, namely what kind of people you attract into your social circles. So, look at the people you have made relations with and know that they are a reflection of who you are at this time in your life.
I say this because during the first year at university, one of two things will happen to you consciously or unconsciously.
Number 1. Either you will change and evolve your character. By that I mean, understand that the new environment you have integrated yourself into, is moulding you into a different person. Your experiences will contrast greatly from that of home, for you are in the company of new people, new places and new circumstances.
Opportunities will be plentiful, and you will come to know that even after 6 months or so, you have matured or immature depending on the path the conditions have chosen for you.
Number 2. On the other hand, we fight the change. We reject the people, the environment and the notion we are to become someone different than who we are back home. This is where depression, presents itself and manifests as we are too preoccupied with the glamorous and comfortable known memories of the past, that we deny the prospect of the unknown future; some of us will even be forced to drop out at this point.
So, we will either accept our evolution or cling on to the safety net of who we think we are.
Second year approaches, I call this the year of anxiety. If we pass the first hurdle of the hero’s journey; and fully immerse ourselves in the unknown, we are participating in the challenges we are meant to face.
However, as we progress in the evolution of who are becoming, and we start to integrate parts of our character that we did not know we had, this can create huge conflict with our very decision to begin university in the first place.
Many of us come to realise how heavy and fraught with uncertainty a decision it is, to commit to study one thing for 3-4 years, not to mention investing north of £40,000 in a time where we were very immature – I’m talking late teens and early 20s. Now we have to decide what we are going to do for the rest of our living lives!?
ALL of my personal growth and maturity developed AFTER I made this huge commitment!
So you’re living in a house with strangers; you now think about how your future career would of had a far stronger degree of certainty if you picked something more sensible, with a logical corporate path, like recruitment or management.
However now, you now need to contemplate and create this grand sentiment in your final dissertation, which is really the crux and the pinnacle of all the values you hold in this degree, which is now in heavy dispute. You don’t believe in it anymore. You are not fully committed to this path.
Now final year is a climaxing catastrophe of emotions, with anxiety and depression seemly violating us at every corner.
I’ll continue by illustrating anxieties role as we embark on our mission to complete our dissertation in the same skewed confidence we used to pick our degree. However, now creeps in the reality that next year we will be spat back out into the world to compete through interviews for jobs we have little interest in pursuing.
The prospect that one moment we are inebriated at a house party talking absolute nonsense and the next we are sat in a corporate office waiting to interview for a job, which we have little certainty in is terrifying!
These thoughts begin to appear: “I’m not ready for this”, “I’m not mature enough”, “maybe I want to go travelling”, and “I’m going to take a year off”.
Depression rears its head as we desperately try to cling onto the memories of the past and the university experiences. The nights out, house parties, friends, homes and our independent lives that are going to be imminently crushed when we return back home. Some of us might be feeling how we did in the first weeks here, swimming in depression as we are determined to hold onto our identities of the past.
The reality, is during your time at university you will have to die twice. The first time is in so called freshers period, whereby you reinvent yourself and prepare for 3 – 4 years of self-discovery.
The second time is when you must rejoin the working world and depress that newly discovered side of you. Sadly, that character is no longer resourceful for us when we need to start thinking about contracts, salary and a pension.
The second death is always the hardest.
For you have had a taste of the tea world without being influenced by your family and friends. In this way, the person you have become at university it the most accurate representation of how you will continue to conduct yourself through life.
Sickness of the Head
Ladies and gentlemen these emotions and feelings have a root in the head, they all stem from using this internal device of thinking. Thinking into the future in anxiety and referring back to the past in depression.
The most valuable resource for you will be to get back into your body. Mediate the tension we have developed in the head and transmute it body-wards.
Exercise was and still in an INVALUABLE resource when addressing this imbalance.
I would also perpetuate mediation, I have had just under a years experience with this practice and have benefitted extraordinarily amounts from daily use.
Check out my other resources for further clarification.
However in short – BE IN YOUR BODY.
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Grateful for your presence,
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