Written by Desree Parker – Student Pages Lifestyle Journalist
Depression is very common affecting one in 10 people at some stage during their life. It affects women both young and old and studies have shown that about 4% of children aged five to sixteen in the UK are anxious or depressed.
Even though, this whole article was about my experience with depression and how I dealt with it at University, I want to enlighten others who may be going through not just my experience, but their own form of depression.
“There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how cliché that sounds.”
If I can overcome my situation and still keep pushing through, I want anyone reading this that may suffer from depression also or a worse situation than mine, to know that all you have to do is channel all that hurt and sadness into something that makes you happy.
Depression is very real and it can affect not only your studies but your social life as well and it would be a shame to give up on your degree, which you have worked so hard just to get into university for, because of whatever obstacles you may be facing right now. There is a lot of help out there, and Universities are really good with this sort of thing as they are dealing with adults and these issues we face are more common than we think.
My advice to you is to speak up, don’t bottle things up as this may harm your health and your mental state in more ways than one. Thankfully; my University was very understanding and allowed me to take a break from University and resume when all my issues had been taken care of. I want to help others realize that depression is nothing to be ashamed of or something that should be hidden and pushed aside because it won’t go away until you confront the cause of why you are depressed and start to create solutions, not to cure your depression, but to make it easier to live with so you can focus on your goals and your ambitions.
During the early stages of what turned out to be an abusive relationship, I was unaware of the fact that I even had depression. I wasn’t speaking to anybody apart from the abuser. He had cut off all contact from both my family and friends, so all the emotions and thoughts I carried were bottled up and pushed to the back of my head.
Towards the latter part of the relationship when I finally opened up to my mother about it, after almost a year of suffering in silence, I was clinically diagnosed with depression.
I was going through all this whilst trying to get a degree. In September last year (2016), I started my first year at Goldsmiths College studying English and Comparative Literature. This was a very trying time in my life as English is my favourite subject without a doubt and I wasn’t at all focused on my studies or even enjoying any of my lectures as the stress of being in this relationship was very overwhelming and eventually took a toll on my studies.
I went from being a normal 19 year old girl with so much drive and ambition, to a timid and insecure girl who would walk around aimlessly and felt like I had no purpose. I would literally sit in lectures crying and look at the assignments I had been assigned and my mind would be completely blank. I would have thoughts running through my head such as: ‘Where do I start from’ and ‘How will I even succeed in this course’ and mind you, this was my favourite subject which I have always excelled in so this was a real road block for me.
I wasn’t doing things normal 19 year olds in my class were doing, I wasn’t attending any of the events/parties, I wasn’t socialising with my peers after lectures, it was just a cycle of darkness. It got to a stage where I wasn’t attending most of my lectures and one of my lecturers reached out to me via my university email and I opened up to him about what was deterring me from attending.
He then advised I ‘interrupt’ – which basically means that I come back the following year to continue with my studies due to my circumstances, and at this point I had already been diagnosed with depression which the University were aware about so it deemed fit to interrupt and further my studies the following year in hope that by then, I would be in a much better position to excel in my course.
I decided to interrupt as this was the best decision for me at the time and for me, this was the best step I could have taken.
I am currently living with my family and channeling all my energy into writing, reading books and doing things that make me happy more or less. I am also taking my time off university to travel abroad and do some work experience and I plan to be back in the country to continue with my course this September (2017).
There are good and bad days however I try to think positive and keep In mind all the plans I have made for my future and also keep in mind the second chance I’ve been given to continue with my course this year.