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?

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. 

ATTACK

photo of guy fawkes mask with red flower on top on hand
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Attack

I see the body of a shark

Its eyes fixed on its prey

Alone now stuck in the dark

Will it live to see another day?

Attack

I hear the buzzing of the bee

I’m pretty sure it’s coming for me

Please, don’t land in my tea

Racing around it hops on my knee

Attack

I taste the poison in the potion

It trickles down my throat

A slow type of notion

Do pass me that note

Attack

I feel the beating of my heart

Nobody told me about this part

Speaking out loud

Oh, wouldn’t I be proud

The impossible mission

My ultimate vision

There it is again

I go to grab my pen

Sorry Mrs I have to leave

But why?

You’re not going to die

You see I’m about to heave

Please anxiety leave me alone

I’ll call you, we’ll talk on the phone

HIT THE TARGET

note notebook notes page
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January the third and I’ve already reverted back to old habits. I set my alarm for 10.00 am today but yes you guessed it I over slept. This anxiety malarky has a habit of making us feel completely drained, that and a messed up sleeping pattern leads to the finger hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s funny really, I got myself so worked up about my New Year’s Resolutions and barely a day in it’s already going Pete Tong!


I suppose the purpose of this post is to understand that not everything will go the way we want it to. There’s no point in setting goals if we don’t consider the drawbacks. As Charles de Gaulle said ‘We may have lost the battle but we have not lost the war.’ The year is 365 days long so that means we have 365 opportunities to succeed… but also to fail. Don’t get me wrong of course we all want to do well but its important to remind yourself that some days just aren’t meant to be. And that is completely fine.


I’ve written a list this year so my resolutions are in black and white. But then it hit me, why not set short-term goals throughout the year that are more realistic? You see New Year resolutions are all-well and good but lets face it by the second week of January you’re already giving up! And that is exactly why I’ve chosen to set myself targets for the month in order to deal with my current situation.


To start with my targets for January are as follows:

  1. Ace exams
  2. Attend lectures/seminars
  3. Drink less

So there you have it! My attendance at uni hasn’t been great over the last year and thats largely to do with how I’ve been feeling. As you may be aware, I become extremely anxious in certain situations that involve public speaking and the seminar environment is a prime example of that. I know its important to attend (well according to my tutor’s) so I have to at least try… but even as I type this I know it won’t be easy.


On a final note, I hope everyone is able to achieve their own targets whatever they may be! For myself, 2019 is an opportunity to really find my feet again. Just remember it’s OK to not be OK there are people that can help.

Feel free to comment below your own targets for 2019!


SIMPLYMILESH

Check out this book by Catherine Pittmann which deals with tackling anxiety for good!

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