Coping with depression at university
People often talk about their time at university as a ‘blast’ – remembering all the great memories, the social occasions and all the new friends that they made.
But being at university can also be pretty stressful. Yes, all that hard work you put in can be rewarding but it’s also tiring, you’re away from home and you’re usually short of money most of the time.
It’s not uncommon for students to suffer from periods of stress whilst at university whilst managing a whole load of new responsibilities but what if the feeling doesn’t go away?
Anxiety or depression can be a real struggle for many students but in many cases it can go unrecognised. It’s not uncommon to dismiss negative feelings as being slightly homesick or just worrying about upcoming exams, but it’s when these feelings start to impact on your life that signals that something more serious could be at play.
If you are suffering from depression at university you may:
- Feel constantly under pressure with your workload
- Feel exhausted
- Find it hard to sleep
- Start withdrawing from social occasions
- Feel isolated
The NHS website has some good resources on depression, and lists the signs in-depth. Even if you don’t recognise the signs in yourself, it may be good to know what to look out for in order to keep an eye on your friends and fellow course mates. Some people can be the epitome of the graceful swan analogy – calm and collected on the outside, but paddling like crazy underneath, but sometimes even just small changes can be signs that someone is really struggling.
What to do if you or someone you know is struggling with depression?
The main thing to remember is that no one has to suffer in silence. It’s not unusual for you to think that the way you are feeling does not warrant any support, but even just recognising some signs is the first step to recovery. Whilst it may be a daunting prospect seeking professional help, an initial solution could be to reach out to a trusted friend. Having this initial support in place may then encourage further assistance such as speaking to your GP or university counsellor for advice.
If you are worried about a friend, simply asking if they are okay can be a great starting point. This can make them feel less alone, and knowing that someone cares and is there to listen can really make a huge difference to someone’s wellbeing.
If you’d prefer to speak to someone you don’t know, then organisations such as the Samaritans can provide a much needed lifeline, day or night. If you are struggling, for whatever reason, they can listen to you and support you through the most difficult of times. There are also trained counsellors at Wrexham Glyndwr, who will be happy to speak to you in complete confidence.
With the right kind of support in place, University can still be a fun experience, and you can be one of those people who remembers the great time they had whilst studying for your degree. Remember, that sometimes great positives can come out of the worst experiences.
This blog was written in support of Mental Health Awareness Week – for more information on this campaign please visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk