Getting real with myself.
Post University Depression
I am growing every day. I will succeed and I will get to where I want to be. The first step to achieving your goals and progressing onwards to positive things is to recognize the toxic parts of your environment and yourself.
This process is something I’m only barely beginning to understand after four/five years of living by myself away from home.
It’s not easy, having to address those pieces of yourself which you hate. Nobody wants to focus time and energy into the parts of yourself which make you unhappy. But one of the biggest lessons I’m beginning to come to terms with is at the end of the day only I can affect me and my future. I can choose who I let into my life, what I do with my life and how far I can go.
I often find that I have all these great plans of where I would love to be tomorrow, in a month or even a year’s time.
Part of my depression which I’m feeling at the moment comes from expecting too much too soon. Nobody talks enough about post-university depression- it is real, and according to a recent study in the UK, 49% of graduates suffer with it. Why isn’t there more help in place for people in my position? Because it is totally normal to not do something straight away with your degree- you finish working your ass off and for what? £50k of debt, three years of alcohol abuse, and a degree which you can’t use because you don’t have enough life experience!
It is learning to slow down which has been a challenge for me. Now without the distractions of university, etc I’ve been left with a clean slate to make something of myself. But how do you know who you want to be if you don’t know who you even are?
I am starting to admit to myself that I have used nights out and drinking as a way of escaping my situation as I think most students tend to. I am trying my hardest to cut back on this! But when you’re feeling lonely and someone wants to go out it’s either be alone at home feeling sorry for yourself or go out and socialise.
When university finishes you lose your second family. It’s a very isolating time and I have really struggled with not having my support network of friends there with me, I really feel grateful however to have met such an amazing group of people and be lucky to call them my lifelong friends.
The big question I’m asking myself is~
What do other people actually do with the time they’re not drinking, making a fool of themselves and suffering in bed with a hangover the next day?
For me the main reason apart from obviously avoiding hangovers for slowing down on nights out is to help me cope. Alcohol is a known depressant and now I have no uni work to do and a job where I don’t get the chance to really progress or use my brain leaves me feeling disappointed in how my life is going. For the last ten years of my life I have been in education and studying, working my brain and learning. Now I just feel like I’m drinking to forget and I’m not stimulated.
Naturally your thoughts start to wander to places you would rather they didn’t go to- you invest in other activities or peoples drama.
Alcohol has affected my grades, my friendships, relationships and financially too.
I am the problem.
I’m starting to realise you can’t run from your problems, especially when you are your own problem.
I haven’t been the best version of myself, I’ve hurt some people and pushed away others and it can be hard not to hate yourself when you know you’ve messed up.
So I’m drinking less, cutting toxic ties to people who I once thought were good for me, I’m clearing my life of all negativity and starting afresh. Of course this comes with its own drama and trauma but it’ll be worth it in the end is what I keep telling myself.
And I’ve been learning new things about myself- I am changing. Whilst dealing with a messy breakup, my poor Granddad passing away, family issues, having been sick with mumps and losing half of my friends to graduating, I’m beginning to come out the other side. I’ve learned what a strong fucking individual I am- I’ve dealt with all of this and yet I am still here fighting.
I am trying to be kinder to myself. At the end of the day you and only you have your own back first and foremost. It’s not easy though- there are times where I do slip up, where I will go out drinking or I’ll say something I later regret. I’m only young, and it is okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. For example, a breakup teaches you what you do and don’t want in a relationship and doing a job you sometimes don’t enjoy tells you what you do and don’t need out of a job.
I am fed up of feeling extremely low when I drink, not just when I drink too much but feeling like there is no point for days after. I have to remind myself that my depression and anxiety do not make me who I am.
I will be okay- it’s just going to take time.
What I want whoever is reading this to take away is that it’s okay not to be okay. (Classic mental health phrase there lol) but give yourself a break! You’ve made it this far, and if you’re feeling down you are allowed to express it. As long as you don’t to the extent it takes over your life. Make yourself happy first before anyone else- and even the mistakes you make will serve as life lessons which will shape you into the person you are meant to be. Don’t hold onto anything that doesn’t make you happy. Look after yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Sorry if this was dull to read, but I felt like I needed to get honest with myself by writing this. It’s a big step for me to post this and I’d appreciate any advice or feedback. Hope it’s not too cringey. If anyone has any advice on how to get into mental health work or even an app that’s helped their mental health previously I would love to know.