Is University really all that?


I’ve often asked myself the same question over and over. There’s an expectation that university is going to be the best years of your life and perhaps that’s true for some. BUT that hasn’t applied for myself. It’s alright, the social life is good but I wouldn’t choose to stay here any longer.

I’ve always been a relatively anxious person but my mental health was pretty damn good before uni, yes, I suffered from OCD but it wasn’t debilitating and I could speak with ease and often with confidence in front of people. Now, two and a half years into my Uni course I’m petrified of attending seminars, I can’t participate in activities that involve speaking and I often feel down in the dumps. It’s quite possible that the anxiety would have revealed itself later on in life but uni seems to be a breeding ground for mental illness.

It’s strange really. Why should this be the case? I think a lot of it comes down to pressure—surprisingly enough not necessarily pressure associated with the degree. I’m talking about the pressure to behave in a certain way, to prove your popularity, your masculinity or your femininity. We all get absorbed into this belief that if we act in a certain way we are respected and for that we choose to neglect people in favour for those who don’t necessarily have the best intentions for us. Of course, the workload and degree related stress compounds the issue but as uni students its nothing we haven’t dealt with before.

I’ve used the pronoun ‘we’ on several occasions but now it’s time to talk about my personal experience. I’ve changed the way I look drastically—I wear Nike jumpers, ripped jeans and airforces to adhere to a certain image. I want to be recognised and respected for what I wear—and in all honesty nobody really bats an eyelid and why should they? I’m an outgoing, quirky reasonably funny type of guy and yet I often hide that side of myself to avoid judgement. I never used to care what people thought about me but when I went to uni and after finishing with my ex-girlfriend all of that changed. There was no way out, I couldn’t just leave and so I cracked.

Don’t get me wrong I love going out and being with friends but it’s become a habit. Without the nightlife and the football there’s nothing much to do. I use clubbing as an excuse to do something—yes, I enjoy it, but that doesn’t really justify going out two or even three times a week especially in my final year.


If you’ve read this and you are thinking about going to university I don’t want to discourage you from doing so. Truth is, uni is a different experience for all of us—for some it’s the platform for a great career but for others, like myself it’s been a learning curb. It hasn’t been awful but I wouldn’t want to do it again.

Thank you for reading and please do feel free to share in the comments.

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Therapy and Me

For those of you that don’t know I’m currently receiving my second session of therapy after a short spell last summer. In all honesty, I don’t know how effective it’s really been I mean it’s good to talk to people but it hasn’t reduced my anxiety and certainly hasn’t ‘cured’ it (I use the term loosely as I understand that the anxiety will most likely always be with me).

After our last session, my therapist told me that I have five sessions left until the course is up. It hit me that over the seven weeks I haven’t really dealt with the problem—partly because I’m reluctant to do so but also because I feel my therapist is content with discussing the issue rather than dealing with it directly. She often asks me how I’m going to tackle the problem, but I simply don’t know how. I’m too polite to turn around and tell her that I want her to answer that question so I make up a response knowing full well I won’t go through with it.

The term therapist is in itself interesting. According to Google the actual definition is as follows: a person who treats psychological problems; a psychotherapist. Therefore, I would challenge the role of my therapist as I perceive her to suit the role of a counsellor rather than a therapist— there is no real desire to cure but the obligation to listen is evident.


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I’d be very interested in hearing your own experience with therapy. How successful was it? Did you have more than one therapist? How many times have you had therapy and was it for the same issues?

Mental Health and Exam Season



I’m currently busy preparing for January exams which, in my opinion should be a crime considering they’re so soon after Christmas. I mean we barely get any time for ourselves during the break but such is life. In light of this, I’ve decided to create a post on exam stress and how it can affect our mental health.

design desk display eyewear

Diet

The most drastic change I’ve noticed would be my diet. Meal-prepping simply takes too much time so I often skip a meal during exams to cram in more time for revision— not the healthiest of ideas I know. Your diet can have an impact on your state of mind, not only can being hungry make you feel miserable but a poor diet can increase the risk of mental health issues by a staggering 80%. My advice? Try and maintain a healthy diet and if you slip into bad habits, be sure to put this right after the exam window.

Exercise

 According to the NHS, exercise impacts our mental health by altering chemicals in the brain which lead to positive thoughts. Although I definitely try to maintain a strict gym routine during exams I skip sessions in order to prioritise work. Instead, perhaps take a daily walk or jog to stimulate your body. After all, exercise is a great opportunity to take your mind off work for a while.

Boredom

 Yes, I said it. Revising is to put it bluntly, boring. If you disagree, then well lucky you. Personally, I don’t find it entertaining in any shape or form although some topics I find more interesting than others. Once exams are over hopefully that boredom will just disappear but there is a risk that it can develop into a variation of depression. I wouldn’t worry too much though, after-all its pretty normal to feel bored during exams.

Social interaction

 Funnily enough, as someone who suffers with social anxiety I often view the exam season as an excuse to become a recluse. After a while though, it can lead to extreme boredom and even loneliness so it’s important to take a step back from work to spend time with your friends or family. The human brain needs social interaction it’s a big factor in our happiness and our relationship with others often determines how we perceive ourselves. Yes, avoid distraction but allow time for socialising too.



Want to tackle exam stress? Check out this guide steered at helping teenagers manage stress during exam period!

If your reading this and preparing for your own exams let me know in the comment section below or maybe you’ve got a work project coming up which is consuming all your time— I’d love to hear about it.

Top Tips for a better nights sleep

As promised here is my follow up article to 4 reasons you can’t sleep at night. Since I was young I’ve always struggled to sleep at a normal time but overtime I have invented some strategies that help me.

Overthinking

 This is the most difficult to manage. When I found myself absorbed by a dozen racing thoughts, I pick one stream of thought and let it flow. The important thing is not to resist your thoughts because this will develop into a battle between you and your brain which will keep you awake. After a while your brain eventually gets bored and switches off allowing you to finally sleep.

Anxiety

 Strangely enough using the above technique can also combat anxiety. By deliberately choosing to focus your mind on a particular topic you automatically distract yourself from anxious thoughts. In the event where you find yourself overwhelmed by anxiety get out of bed and sit upright to allow you to breathe. I would recommend getting up and walking around for five or so minutes after an anxiety attack before returning to bed.

OCD

 This is a strange one but for me it works. I’ve suffered from OCD for a long time and instead of getting up to check I would take photos before going to bed. This way, if I became fixed on the idea that the fridge door was open I could just check my phone to see that it is firmly closed. There is no need to get out of bed and waste any more time. The only problem is, this method doesn’t help to overcome your OCD rather it tends to feed it as the process of taking a picture can become an obsession.

Sleep Better Roller Ball

 I would recommend the Sleep Better Roller Ball by Tisserand. All you have to do is apply the roller on to your skin. The product is composed of 100% natural pure essential oil blend which works by soothing your body. The reviews support my recommendation as it appears a successful remedy with a rating of 4.5 stars.

Note: This is an affiliate advertisement so you will not be charged extra for your purchase but a small fee will be donated to help me with my blog. 

4 reasons you can’t sleep at night

Did you sleep well last night? Good nights kip? Better now? Many of us suffer from sleep deprivation for a number reasons and the answer to the questions above is almost always an abrupt NO.  As someone who understands how frustrating it can be, I have outlined four reasons as to why you may be unable to switch off at the right time.

Overthinking

 The most common would probably be overthinking. When you go to bed you’re left alone with your thoughts and for some of us this can get a little bit out of hand. Instead of drifting off within seconds we over-analyse every tiny detail of our day. Questions like: I wonder if I did enough work today? Did I come across as rude earlier? What if they don’t speak to me again? And yes, you guessed it, of course there are a thousand answers for your mind to scramble around in.

Anxiety

 Overthinking and anxiety go hand in hand. They complement each other like fish and chips. Unfortunately, anxiety has a wee habit of making us feel alert instead of allowing us to relax and fall into our dreams. Depending on the severity of the anxiety we may struggle to lie down at all! Anxiety covers such a broad spectrum and therefore it can be difficult to identify which triggers provoke an attack.

OCD

 If you suffer from OCD then I’m sure you understand how frustrating attempting to sleep can be. As soon as you close your eyes you suddenly ask yourself whether or not you closed the fridge. You re-assure yourself, yes of course I did. Then all of a sudden you fall asleep and wake up feeling bright-eyed and raring to go… if only it was that easy. You see, there is this pesky little thing called doubt. Now, doubt will creep in and tell you to check the fridge. Why? Because it’s open… according to this so-called expert!

Clock-watching

 Clock-watching is somewhat similar to OCD in the way it can become an obsession. Perhaps you even count the hours of sleep you will have before the alarm pulls you from your state of unconsciousness. The problem arises when you find yourself unable to sleep so you constantly check the time. In the end you become more concerned with the number of hours sleep you’re going to get rather than sleep itself… convenient.


photo of person holding alarm clock
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I will be writing a follow-up article to this post soon identifying methods to help tackle these problems. Stay tuned!

 

Dodow-Sleep-Aid Device- for a better nights sleep

 

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