You are worth all that you hope to achieve. Believe in yourself first.
At university, there are weeks that I never want to end and weeks where I have found myself struggling to get out of bed. I try not to view these weeks as bad weeks because getting through them is a success in itself. Little steps towards finding a routine really help me start to feel better. This is because I feel at my best in a routine and although it’s hard to stick to at times, finding one that works for you is really important.
University is your personal growth journey, so try not to compare it to other people’s. Do not beat yourself up about mistakes, be open-minded, and try new things. Some of my best friends and memories have come from this, instead of letting my anxious thoughts take control of what I do. Finally, try and have something to look forward to each week, whether a hobby, experience, or your favourite meal!
University is your personal growth journey, so try not to compare it to other people’s.
When I started university, the one thing I was most excited about was independence. For years I relied on my parents, teachers, and mental health services. University was an opportunity to try and make it on my own. Unfortunately, this meant I rushed into the decision to move to a new city without fully considering the possible consequences to my mental health. Quickly, I began to decline. I kept how badly I was doing to myself out of shame, but after just one term, I had to take a leave of absence.
My advice for anyone starting university with a pre-existing mental health condition is to make sure you have a support system arranged before leaving. Don't be afraid to ask for help as soon as possible if things start going awry. Often the earlier support is provided, the easier the situation is to manage.
Don't be afraid to ask for help as soon as possible if things start going awry. Often the earlier support is provided, the easier the situation is to manage.
I found university really difficult. At times, it felt like it altered my brain chemistry because I am not the same person I was when I started. It felt like it changed my identity. I felt like I wasn't taken seriously, like I was the stupid one and, worst of all, like I became the worst version of me. If I could give advice to that young women that started the first year of her chosen degree I would tell her "you deserve to be here".
To anyone reading this who has been told "you can't be that version of you". Don't listen to them. I know it can be easy to cave into other people’s opinions of you, but you are not their opinions. You are worth all that you hope to achieve. Believe in yourself first. Keep reminders around you of why you want to achieve the things that you first set out to do. Because you can achieve those things.
Keep reminders around you of why you want to achieve the things that you first set out to do. Because you can achieve those things.
I’ve had a difficult time at university over the past few years, but one thing that has really made a difference for me recently is learning to accept, and not be ashamed to accept, all of the support that is available to me, both personally and academically.
I chose not to disclose my mental illness when I first applied to university as doing so required me to declare it as a disability and, until that point, I had never really considered myself to be disabled. After starting university and then suspending for six months due to my mental health, student services encouraged me to apply for Disabled Students Allowance, a non-repayable grant which enables me to access additional support including a specialist mentor and assistive technology. Coming to terms with the fact that my illness is technically a disability, and learning not to be embarrassed about this, has enabled me to access a wealth of extra support which has greatly enriched my time at university.
One thing that has really made a difference for me recently is learning to accept, and not be ashamed to accept, all of the support that is available to me, both personally and academically.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Supports students to look after their mental health by providing information and advice.
They also provide details about local services offered by universities and information on how you can access support group programmes.
You can call or email for more information (this is not a helpline).