Dramatis Personae and Chessboard

So, it’s not been great recently. It hasn’t been my day, my week, my month, or even my year. I bet you all read that to the Friends theme tune – if you didn’t then you have no soul. Anyway, it’s weird, I thought this year would be amazing; I had moved into my new house with my friends, I had signed up to loads of societies/schemes in order to beef up my CV as much as possible, and my course this year involved modules, I thought, I would really enjoy. To be fair, I got to visit a plague pit the other day and pick up skulls and sh*t.

On the face of it, not to brag, I’m kinda killing it. As far as my friends and family think, the cum stain that was my first year seems like a million miles away. They see the side of me that is working loads of hours, being really productive and being on top of everything.

The reality couldn’t really be further from the truth.

You may remember my article regarding our contrasting perceptions of physical and mental health, I mean I incessantly link it – I guess once more won’t hurt – http://cubmagazine.co.uk/2017/09/the-queens-croquet-garden/. At the end, I touched on my initial fears about telling my parents and friends that I was struggling, my realisation that this was the best decision I made, and how it’s important we all start talking about mental health so that more people have the confidence to speak up.

Well, to say I epitomise the saying ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ would be an understatement.

So, behind this persona that I’ve been putting on, how am I really feeling? And am I actually doing as well as they all think? Between us, I feel like hell.

I’m working loads of hours because when I stop working the negative thoughts in my head topple out, which makes me have panic attacks, which in turn stresses me out that I’m wasting time getting upset when I should be doing work, and then I get even more stressed. I work at least 7/8 hours every day in the week so I try and give myself the weekends off, but then I feel like I’m a failure for relaxing and not constantly being active.

I’m being constructive and signing up to all these things as they keep me busy and because I won’t lie, I’m really hating my course right now and I’m clutching at straws to justify being here. Last year I wanted to drop out of uni, the main reason was due to the fact I essentially had a nervous break, but also because I was just, in general, not loving the path of university education. I’d only really gone because that’s what I’d been told all my life that I was supposed to do when I left college.

However, at the end of first year, I concluded that maybe the reason that I hated uni so much was the toxic environment of my accommodation, seriously it was like Jeremy Kyle but with more teeth, and my general mental state. Thus, I assumed that by being out of that environment and doing modules I liked, meant I would actually embrace being there this year. However, that’s not what happened, I still hate it. I feel as though my degree: History, just isn’t relevant to me, I want to be a journalist, so surely doing a Journalism degree makes far more practical sense than analysing the sumptuary laws of 1393 regarding prostitute’s hoods.

Yes, yes, I understand it’s a means to an end; but it’s pretty demotivating when a course you don’t like seems pointless. Therefore, I’ve signed up to loads of things, in the hope I might take solace in the fact that although my course is pointless, I am at least getting relevant experience while I’m here.

‘Well just change course then.’ The only way that’s possible is if I drop out of QM and start totally fresh next September. This is because Queen Mary doesn’t offer a Journalism degree and it’s too late to transfer to another uni. And this solution means another four years until I graduate! I struggle to justify it as an actual option. Guess I’m stuck with my course.

And being on top of everything? If you hadn’t already worked out, I’m spiralling further and further down the rabbit hole. Problem is, the more I spiral, the more convinced I become that if I just keep working, and therefore achieving stuff, maybe it’ll miraculously get better. This is making me exhausted and burnt out and in turn means that I crash, and when I crash, I can’t do f*ck all. I’m very much an all or nothing kind of person (probably should work on that – another thing added to the list).

I think a big cause of this reaction: the obsessive working, is because last year my studies were severely affected by my mental state and I cannot comprehend letting that happen again. Moreover, I was in quite a dark place over summer, so I really wanted a fresh start at the beginning of term. And as I mentioned, keeping busy distracts me from my problems about my past and my course.

It’s like because I’m trying so hard to prove to everyone, including myself, that I’m ok, I’m actually making myself worse by putting so much pressure on myself and overcompensating for my sh*tty feelings with working like a mad c*nt.

And the most annoying part? I know exactly the routes I need to take in order to move forward. I need to register with my new GP, after which I need to arrange an appointment and discuss my options regarding potential new treatments/schemes, whilst that is being arranged I need to go to the Advice and Counselling services at QM and restart my sessions there as:

  • The NHS is slow as f*ck so could be awhile before I get onto any programs.
  • The counsellor I had last time was really helpful and he already knows all my baggage.

And in regards to my course, I’ve either got to accept it’s the way it is and just do the best I can – it’s only 18 months. Or, if I conclude that by continuing my course I’ll become totally miserable, and therefore have zero motivation and probably start getting lower grades, then I have to make some big changes.

And yet, I’ve done none of those things, and how long will it be before I do? It’s like my f*cked up mentality of ‘shouldering on’ from last year is back with a vengeance and slowly the weight on my chest is becoming so heavy that I feel like I can’t even scream for help now.

If you’ve managed to get through that depressing monologue of woe, I congratulate you. I’m sure you’re now expecting, particularly if you’ve read my column before, for me to turn it all around with some big, insightful conclusion about empowerment or positivity or whatever b*llocks I normally spout.

I’m afraid I can’t offer that this week, as much as I’d like to, I can’t. To be fair, I did want this column to be as much about giving a personal insight into living with mental health problems as well as the ‘big topics’ I usually cover.

However, I will try and give some point to this shambles of a rant.

Although I’m not in a great place right now, I’ve got through it before and I’ll get through it again. It’s frustrating that it’s up and down and left and right, but that’s just how it is and I need to also take my own advice and ask for help, once again, I’ve done it before.

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