I have been putting off writing about this.
You see I’m not proud of it or especially wish to share it. It feels like I’m whinging and I don’t want to do that and so I should probably stop this nonesense before it begins. But if someone else is feeling the same way, I want them to know they’re not alone so maybe I should make the post? Anyway, I’m making it (obviously) but you’ve been warned this may sound like self-indulgent crap and I would go and read another of my posts if you are likely to want to comment ‘stop whining you baby’ (may I recommend my Watchmaker of Filigree Street review? Bedlam Stacks which is Pulley’s second novel is being premiered across the UK and I AM SO EXCITED. Anyway, back to this post).
So I made a post ages ago, back in September, right at the start of third year about my mental cupboard breaking. I can’t quite remember but I think the tone was something like ‘oh wow, this is such a new thing, what can I do about it?’ But the truth is the crying and the lack of motivation and the stressed out image had become a pretty normal occurrence.
Flashback time! Going back to first year, there was a point in the first semester that my mind just seemed to go ‘Fuck It.’ I had six classes running at the same time, I was in a new environment with people who could be friends but who I still didn’t know well enough, I hadn’t seen my family in weeks because I stupidly didn’t realise I could go home or that I had time to go home, everything seemed like too much effort and I was basically going through the motions and hoping at some point university would be everything I hoped it would be. Apart from what actually happened is that things then escalated to the point that I didn’t even try in class and even became irrationally angry at one lecturer in particular, especially when he made us debate in class.
Side Note: I hate debating with a passion. I’m no good at it and have no real interest in improving. In a debate it’s not about your facts or who’s actually right, it’s about whoever speaks eloquently and makes things difficult to confuse their opponents, and as someone who has struggled first with being a chronic mumbler, then being painfully shy, arguing with someone is never going to be my style, especially if I think they’re arguing the right case to begin with.
But I digress, back to my not trying. You see I am nothing if not a teachers pet. I found most of my school peers (and their assumed judgements) terrifying but I could always impress a teacher by trying and doing well and as long as I kept that up, it was all fine. So obviously, when my need to care about what a lecturer thought of me disappeared, I started to realise I was in trouble. I also felt super tired a lot and spent a lot of my time lying down in a darkened room trying to nap. This calling out any warning signs to anyone else? However, it also wasn’t that serious. I could still get out of bed, I still ate, I still talked to friends, I still went to lectures and enjoyed some of them, I was still me.
Now I don’t know how I got out of this funk which is not particularly helpful. It might have been a visit from my parents, it might have been handing in essays, it might just have…gone. Until of course it came back. It’s always in the autumn semester which is the longest semester and also when it starts getting dark and cold, which I think has something to do with it. There’s also a renewed pressure to have Fun and Do Things because all the freshers stream in. All I know is that I don’t have any answers. I should probably have gone and talked to someone but there’s also this part of me that wonders if I’m just being lazy. Lord knows I do have trouble with self-motivation and napping is always 300% better than doing anything at all. I also feel a lot better now that its the spring semester, even though I have waaaaaay more going on (more modules, more deadlines, more work placement hours), and it seems silly to go and talk to someone about a problem from a while ago that doesn’t even feel like a problem and more like an adult right of passage, especially if I feel fine now.
But, if you are currently in this state or have felt this way in the past, know you are not alone. Also know that you are under no obligation to be having an amazing, fun, extra awesome, wow would you look at me time at university. Obviously it’s amazing if you do feel that way and you ride that wave my friend but also know that sometimes it’s fine to feel awful. In fact, a lot of people do at uni and as more people raise more awareness of mental health issues, the more we are discovering that for some people, university is just not all it’s cracked up to be. If you are feeling this way, I would encourage you to speak to someone, even if it’s just a friend, and even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal. That way at least you’ll feel like you have someone on side and talking does generally help dissipate the worst of the feelings.
But if you do have any answers or other suggestions, share them in the comments. I need them. Seriously.